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New Anti-Discrimination Proposal Likely To Get Separate Votes

Ryan Loyd
TPR News

District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal’s proposed anti-discrimination ordinance will likely pass, he said, but councilman, who is also a civil rights attorney, wants to separate how it will be voted on.

His proposal is to include protections for gender identity, sexual orientation and veterans within the city’s hiring practices and to those with whom the city chooses to do business.

He said his intentions all along were to separate the vote into two proposals: one for gender identity and sexual orientation, and another for veterans.

In May during a Governance Committee meeting, Bernal spoke on the issue.

"At this point, we all have either friends or people in our family who are part of these communities and the question is do we believe that people should reserve the legal right to discriminate again them for being who they are?” he asked at that time. “I think that for the most part, we would all agree the answer is 'no.'"

Supporters of the ordinance gathered outside City Hall to chant and yell, holding signs that read, “Love Proudly.”

One activist who represents Community Action San Antonio – CAUSA – said she did not realize Bernal had planned on separating the vote. Jennifer Falcon called the move “disappointing” because, in her opinion, it sends mixed signals to the large number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender veterans in San Antonio.

"I think the city needs to take a stand and show that the LGBTQI community is tired of being treated like second class citizens,” she said.

Bernal likened the situation to the Spurs’ fifth championship title chances. “Do I think it’s a slam dunk?” he asked. “No.”

“Do I think it’s possible?” he asked again. “Yes.”

He expects that the proposal will be supported by enough of his colleagues to pass the ordinance. But he said he does not want to put colleagues who may be uncomfortable with one issue to have to feel stuck because of the other issue.

The item has not been officially placed on the council’s agenda, but it will likely be in August when it is taken up.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.