Who would have imagined that our oh-so-wise San Antonio City Council might not have thought things through?
1200 WOAI news reports that the controversial gay and lesbian non discrimination ordinance, which was approved by council three weeks ago, may end up costing the city a bundle in lost convention revenue.
James Guenther with the Southern Baptist Convention, says his organization may prompt his organization, which regularly stages one of the largest conventions hosted by the city, to dump San Antonio, because the language in the NDO may force the Baptists to accept homosexuality, something that goes against their religious philosophy.
"We are trying to understand what the SBC would be agreeing to, exactly, if it signed such a contract," Guenther told 1200 WOAI's Michael Board.
The problem, Guenther says, is that the NDO requires anybody who signed a city contract to accept homosexuality. The Baptists routinely meet in the Alamodome or in the Convention Center, both of which are city owned facilities. Guenther says that may put the Baptists in a bind, barring them from asking, for example, a representative of a rogue Baptist congregation which accepts gay and lesbian pastors, from leaving the meeting.
"We don't know as a matter of fact how a court would interpret it, or how the city would interpret it," he said.
Supporters of the gay and lesbian NDO stress that there are religious exemptions included in the measure which would prevent things like this from happening.
Guenther says he is not certain that is the case.
"Its conceivable that we may meet in churches instead of public facilities, or there may be private facilities where we can meet," he said.
If the Southern Baptist Convention decides to bypass the Alamodome, or possibly bypass San Antonio completely, it would be a massive financial blow to the city. When the Southern Baptist Convention met in San Antonio in 2007, the financial windfall to the city, and to downtown businesses, was measured in the tens of millions of dollars.
Guenther says he will wait to see how the San Antonio NDO is interpreted or whether expected legal challenges agaisnt it are successful before recommending a course of action.