The Pride Issue
San Antonio's Glacial Progress on LGBT Rights
Published: June 26, 2013
Likewise, Graney and colleagues are working diligently to arrange face-to-face meetings with city officials to educate them on the issues, “It’s a communication problem. We feel like [the city is] not reaching out to us, and they say we’re not reaching out to them. It’s a two-way street,” he says.
Activists are also critical of the ordinance’s timeline, which they see as unnecessary elongated. Bernal sympathizes, noting that when it comes to civil rights you “shouldn’t have to ask anyone to wait,” but with the same breath, stresses the reality of the bureaucratic process, in which something as asinine as summer vacation can push back important issues until August or beyond. “A lot of people have read quite a bit into why we’re going to take it up in August, but it’s really a very simple and procedural thing,” said Bernal. “Even if it takes a little bit longer, we’re eventually going to get there and that’s what matters.”
But Bernal’s real critics are the city’s religious-right, who view the ordinance as either granting “special rights” to the LGBT community (false, the ordinance gives them the same rights as everyone else) and/or a blasphemous attack on so-called “traditional” values. Bernal is well aware of the potential political costs the ordinance’s passage may result in for him.
Eyeing the thunderstorm raging outside his council office, Bernal reflects on the controversial storm erupting because of his – apparently – wild-eyed idea that all San Antonians should be protected against discrimination. Mulling the personal and professional risks involved as the chorus against him mounts, the civil rights attorney concludes, “I don’t value my political career so much that it would keep me from doing what’s right.”
> Email Mary Tuma