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Cover 09/04/2013

The Biggest Little Gay Rights Battle in Texas: An NDO timeline

Photo: Photos by Mary Tuma, License: N/A

Photos by Mary Tuma

Throughout the summer, red-shirted NDO supporters have demonstrated outside and inside City Hall, as have blue-shirted NDO opposition groups

Photo: , License: N/A

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Mid-June 2013: Activists both supporting and opposing the proposed changes to the NDO begin flooding weekly Citizens to be Heard meetings.

"I don't want to die unequal. You have the chance to make our San Antonio equal, for me, for my children, for my grandchildren."
Julie Pousson, NDO supporter

Late-June 2013: Alliance Defending Freedom, a "legal ministry" that advocates for conservative Christian values, holds a conference call for opponents of the NDO, presenting a script for the opposition to follow and encouraging call participants to make San Antonio City Council's phones "ring off the hook."

July 23, 2013: Extreme conservative website WND runs an article on the non-discrimination ordinance with the headline "U.S. City Looks to Penalize Bible Believers."

July 25, 2013: Bernal removes language that would have allowed council to evaluate candidates for city boards and commissions based on whether there was evidence they had discriminated against gay and transgender people in "word or deed." The council member also uncouples the LGBT requirement from a similar requirement to provide non-discrimination protection to veterans.

July 30, 2013: Radio FOX News pundit Todd Starnes, self-proclaimed "gun-toting, chicken-eating, Bible-clinging son-of-a-Baptist" reports on the opposition to the NDO. A day later FOX News' Shannon Bream said on the cable channel's program America Live that "[the] rule could block the hiring of anyone who speaks out against homosexuality because of their moral or religious beliefs, and that includes Christian business owners."

The Washington Times, after reporting on the ordinance on July 24, issues a scathing editorial stating that the ordinance would ban "anyone who believes homosexual conduct is wrong from serving, ever, on a municipal board." The editorial called supporters of the ordinance "bigots."

"George Orwell is alive and hiding in Texas."
The Washington Times, confusing not only the NDO's intent, but also Orwell's beliefs from those he criticized in (we suppose) 1984.

Early August 2013: State Senator Ken Paxton (R-McKinney), State Representative Dan Branch (R-Dallas) and Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman, the three announced candidates for next year's state Attorney General race (all Republicans), separately voice their opposition to the ordinance. On Aug. 19, Branch sends a letter to Mayor Castro stating as much.

August 2, 2013: In response to the misinformation circulating among national conservative media outlets, Media Matters for America posts "Debunking the Lies about San Antonio's Proposed LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance."

August 4-5, 2013: Cornerstone Church pastor John Hagee speaks out against the ordinance in his church sermon and on Glenn Beck's talk show.

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