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Delay in City Gay Rights Bill Praised

Delay in City Gay Rights Bill Praised

  Supporters of that gay rights bill which was unexpectedly stalled in a city council committee on Tuesday, say they are 'somewhat surprised' by the setback, but say they are confident the proposal will eventually become law, 1200 WOAI news reports.

 

  "We were expecting that this would go forward for a vote," said Daniel Graney, who is a co-chair of the Community Alliance for United San Antonio.  "We were surprised that they decided to see a draft first."

 

  He said the delay will not be fatal to the proposal.

 

  "We have waited this long, we can wait some more," he said.

 

  Three members of the City Council Governance Committee, David Medina, Ivy Taylor, and Cris Medina, expressed the same concerns which had been raised by 1200 WOAI news when it first reported the proposal on Monday, that the measure was being pushed through too rapidly.

 

  David Medina, who alone among council members will face a runoff elected next month, pointed out that the measure hasn't even been written, and he repeatedly pushed for a thirty day delay, which would put the vote safely he has to face voters in the socially conservative and overwhelmingly Catholic fifth district on the shallow west side.

 

  The three also expressed reservations about the creation of a city Human Rights Commission, something else which was also first reported by 1200 WOAI news on Monday.

 

  Gerald Ripley, a local pastor and a spokesman for several social conservative and evangelical groups, stopped short of declaring victory, but did say the delay demonstrated that the measure was being pushed through to quickly.

 

  "There were concerns that should have been asked, that this is being pushed like a train down the track," he said.

 

  City Attorney Michael Bernard did settle one question about the bill.  He says there will be what he called 'carve outs' which will exempt religious organizations from the bill.  He also said the measure is not 'affirmative action' and does not 'require' businesses to seek out gay and lesbian employees, it simply prevents employers from firing people purely on the basis of the sexual orientation, something chief sponsor Diego Bernal pointed out can now be done in San Antonio without recourse.

 

  The measure will be written in the next week to ten days, and then will be presented to a full council work session for debate.  It is expected to come before the full council for a final vote this summer.

 

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