About 300 Christian-right equality opponents staged a prayer vigil in downtown San Antonio to protest a proposal that would expand the city’s anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status.
Fundamentalist Christian pastors led the throng in Spanish and English prayers in front of City Hall and then walked to City Council chambers, where citizens were invited to speak for or against the proposal. Among those who spoke was Eric Alva, a gay Marine veteran who lost a leg in Iraq War. The hostile response me met after testifying for the ordinance left him nearly in tears.
“Well I just left city council chambers and I feel like crying," he wrote on his Facebook page. "I have never seen a city so divided and hateful towards each other. All of mankind should be ashamed. I already spoke and even some of the religious groups even booed me as I spoke. Such disrespect as they preach the word of God."
While Mayor Julian Castro supports the changes to the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance, some council members vehemently oppose it. Councilwoman Elisa Chan went on an anti-gay tirade while discussing the ordinance privately in her office on May 21. James Stevens, a 28-year-old aide to Chan, secretly recorded her hateful remarks and released the audio to the San Antonio Express-News.
“My decision to record in the first place was that, during the staff meetings, we weren't really discussing the ordinance itself,” Stevens told Express journalist Brian Chasnoff. “We were really just talking about ways to appeal to the (voting) base and to get them fired up as opposed to analyzing the ordinance. . . . (Chan's) not focused on the policy itself and how it's going to really affect the city. We spent 80 percent of that meeting talking about how disgusting homosexuality is.”
In the recording, the group discusses things like how the legalization of same-sex marriage could lead to the legalization of incest or bestiality, Chasnoff reported. Chan can purportedly be heard calling homosexuality “disgusting to even thing about.”
"I don't think homosexual people should do adoption," she says on the audio. "They should be banned by adoption. You're gonna confuse those kids. They should be banned. If you wanted to choose that lifestyle, we don't want to discriminate you, but it shouldn't affect the young people. How terrible that we actually allow them to adopt?"
Stevens gave Chan notice that he’s resigning earlier this week.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro called Chan’s remarks “hurtful and ignorant.”
“No one (should) believe for one second that they represent the views of San Antonians,” he told The Huffington Post during a phone interview yesterday. “Ours is a city that welcomes everyone and appreciates diversity."