Last week, in an 8-3 vote, the San Antonio City Council passed a Castro-backed ordinance prohibiting discrimination against gay and trans-identified people. In doing so, San Antonio became the sixth city in Texas to put such protections on the books. It’s another signal that the Republicans are losing their iron grip on Texas, which still does not provide any protections for LGBT people on the state level.
The San Antonio ordinance has been in the news lately, thanks to James Stevens, a former aide of Republican Councilwoman Elisa Chan (above). Last month, Stevens released a recording he made of Chan criticizing the nondiscrimination ordinance. Among other things, Chan described gay people as “so disgusting” and suggested they could take hormone shots to cure their homosexuality. Unsurprisingly, she was one of the three nay votes on the council.
When asked this afternoon if Chan planned to fight the ordinance further, Roger Legrand, her Chief of Communications, responded, “No, I don’t think so.”
Other Texas Republicans are not so resigned to let it stand. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz continues to sound his First Amendment battle cry, arguing that if gay and trans people are given equal rights, then people of faith will not be able to practice their bigotry in peace. Likewise, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples—both of whom are running for statewide office next year—have taken strong stances against the ordinance.
Texas State Sen. Dan Patrick went so far as to say that it is against “the Holy Bible and the United States Constitution.” Patrick did not, however, indicate any irony in deeming something unconstitutional while flouting the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment, which function to separate church and state.
Mayor Castro is taking the blowback in stride. He told USA Today, “These days, unfortunately, it’s campaign season. What else would you expect?”