The Biggest Little Gay Rights Battle in Texas: An NDO timeline
Published: September 4, 2013
August 24, 2013: A campaign to recall Bernal, the ordinance change request author, is initiated. In response, NDO supporters, including entire neighborhood associations, hold rallies and make announcements in support of Bernal.
August 26, 2013: State Attorney General Greg Abbott, not incidentally running for Governor, issues a statement opposing the ordinance, claiming "it would not prevent discrimination, but impose it" via burdening people's right to exercise religion. He also said that the ordinance would run afoul of the Texas Constitution, which prohibits religious tests and defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. (Ed. Note: Marriage, we'd like to point out, doesn't come up in the ordinance at all.)
August 27, 2013: District 9 residnt D'mitri Kosub files a complaint alleging Chan and her staff violated City Ethics by discussing partisan politics using city staff, time or property.
August 28, 2013: Pro-LGBT groups are surprised to learn a "bathroom provision" has been added to the NDO language, which clarifies a state law that only recognizes the gender identity a person is born with in regards to the use of public restroom and shower facilities. While many in the transgender community dislike the inclusion, most vow to continue to support the measure.
More than 500 people sign up to speak for or against the NDO in San Antonio. Chan and District 10 council member Carlton Soules propose that the NDO be put on a citywide ballot to deafening cheers from NDO opposition.
August 29, 2013: Conservative State Sen. Dan Patrick releases a statement in opposition to the NDO, writing the ordinance "runs counter to the Holy Bible" and U.S. Constitution. Fellow State Sen. Donna Campbell sends a letter to Mayor Castro making similar points.
August 30, 2013: San Antonio-area Democrat state lawmakers Mike Villarreal, Ruth Jones McClendon, Justin Rodriguez, Joe Farias, Roland Gutierrez, Trey Martinez-Fischer, Phillip Cortez and Jose Menendez send a joint letter of support of the NDO to Bernal.
September 3, 2013: U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett sends a letter to Bernal in support of the NDO. The San Antonio Spurs send a similar letter to Mayor Castro, citing the team and the NBA’s own non-discrimination policies.
Between 50-70 religious leaders convene a press conference in support of the NDO, including the interim rabbi of San Antonio’s largest Jewish congregation, as well as clergy from Episcopal, Methodist and Presbyterian Christian congregations.
September 4, 2013: Ken Mercer, who represents part of San Antonio on the Texas Board of Education, sends an email to his mailing list titled “The Culture War—San Antonio at Ground Zero” which is primarily concerned with the possibility of allowing males into female dressing rooms and showers, claiming “If the NDO passes, child molesters and sexual deviants will love this ordinance.”
The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center convenes a press conference on local civil rights leaders who support the ordinance, including members of LULAC, Texas Indigenous Council, Council on Islamic Relations, Southwest Workers Union and the ALF-CIO. Previously, minority religious leaders had taken offense at the LGBT Rights movement being compared to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
729 people sign up to speak at the final Citizens to be Heard, which stretches until after 1 a.m.
September 5, 2013: City Council passes the update to the non-discrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
> Email Callie Enlow and Mary Tuma