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As Debate Rages, Gay Rights Measure Comes Up at City Hall This Week

 
As Debate Rages, Gay Rights Measure Comes Up at City Hall This Week
Posted August 26th, 2013 @ 5:05am by Jim Forsyth, photo credit Shutterstock Images

After the most emotional debate seen in San Antonio since the battle over the Applewhite Reservoir in the mid 1990s, that gay and lesbian anti discrimination law finally surfaces at City Hall this week, 1200 WOAI news reports.

 

  The measure has been amended by chief sponsor Councilman Diego Bernal, who says that most of the complaints raised about the law by opponents just aren't true. 

 

  He points out that similar laws are in place in major cities across the country.

 

  "They did not experience a deluge of frivolous lawsuits and complaints that everybody is worried will happen here," Bernal said.  "That simply did not happen."

 

  The language that fired up Christian and Muslim groups, the co called 'word and deed' clause, which appeared to disqualify for any city position any person who had ever expressed opposition to the gay lifestyle, has been removed from the measure. 

 

  There have also been concerns that employers will be hit by lawsuits by fired employees who suddenly determine after they have been broomed that they are 'gay' and their firing represents illegal discrimination.

 

  "I can't show up for work and say, today, I am an Orthodox Jewish person and I suddenly deserve all these accommodations and all these days off," he said.

 

  He was also baffled by claims that men are suddenly going to demand to use women's public restrooms, pointing out that nothing in the law says anything about rest rooms.

 

 Bernal says he is listening to the concerns raised by religious leaders, and is willing to consider further revisions before the measure emerges at a City Hall work session on Wednesday.

 

  "I do have an interest in things being more clear, and I do have an interest in creating consensus," he said. "So that is absolutely what I am thinking about right now, because I don't want to detract from the purpose of this update."

 

  But one provision which is expected to remain in the bill is one that bars private businesses, so called 'public accommodations' like restaurants, bars, hotels, and other companies which are open to the public, from refusing to provide goods and services to gay individuals.

 

  Those provisions have been upheld in court, most recently, a ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court last week that upheld a law prohibiting a photographer from refusing to take photographs of a gay civil commitment ceremony.

 

  The measure took a giant step on Friday when the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce endorsed it, but not unanimously.  Many of the concerns expressed by opponents have involved the ordinance's impact on business.

 

  It is certain that the proposal has the votes on City Council to be approved.

 

 

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