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Anti-LGBT Group in ‘Ethics’ Clothing Targets Stonewall Dems

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As the old adage goes, if you can’t beat ‘em … annoy them mercilessly.  

Retribution waged by the right wing against anyone and everyone in support of the City’s recently passed LGBT non-discrimination ordinance continues in full force. The measure, meant to codify equal protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents in areas like hiring, firing and public accommodations, spurred threats, boos and hate-filled screeds from opponents during public debate. Unfortunately for them, the misinformation and vitriol didn’t achieve the ordinance’s demise.

Despite the NDO’s approval by a majority vote, religious and conservative organizations—which stand sorely defeated in their pursuit to strip basic rights away from the LGBT community—have resurrected the fight with the remaining weapons left in their arsenal, with low-to-undetermined degrees of success.

While their ongoing effort to unseat council members who voted in favor of the ordinance lives on, another, direct attempt to repeal the NDO by petition completely by placing it on a citywide ballot for voters died last week when a group of more than 50 local churches, led by adamant NDO critic Pastor Gerald Ripley, failed to gather enough signatures by the deadline.

The latest move to bring down LGBT rights supporters is less overt, yet equally vengeful.

Just 11 days after the NDO’s passage, a complaint alleging San Antonio Stonewall Democrats (SDSA) violated campaign finance law surfaced with the Texas Ethics Commission, the state agency in charge of enforcing election code. The localized chapter of Stonewall’s LGBT advocacy group promoted and actively testified for the ordinance. At first blush it would seem hasty to automatically assume the act is politically motivated. After all, the timing could be an unrelated coincidence.

However, Elena Guajardo, SDSA co-chair and former SA city council member, believes otherwise. The timeline of the allegations speak for itself, she says.

So who’s behind the complaint? The benignly titled Texas Ethics Advisory Board, a political action committee not to be confused with a state-funded regulatory body. The loosely knit PAC is comprised of anywhere between five to 10 Texans who vigilantly monitor campaign finance reports for instances of malfeasance.

On its face, TEAB’s mission sounds egalitarian, impartial and even honorable. Jim Doyle, who lodged the grievance, first makes the case there’s no real rhyme or reason to who the PAC targets, “we just find things that attract our attention,” he told the Current last week in a phone interview. The goal is to simply uncover corruption. “People need to scrutinize the politicians they elect and see who’s trying to influence them,” Doyle says.

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