This past week it became clear just how hateful and cynical the campaign to defeat a proposed San Antonio nondiscrimination ordinance has become. The ordinance would add LGBT people and veterans to existing city nondiscrimination protections in employment, housing and public accommodations. The City Council is planning to vote on the proposed nondiscrimination ordinance on September 5.

How extreme has the opposition to that common sense ordinance become?

Consider the protesters who this past week booed a gay Marine who lost his leg fighting in Iraq. The Marine, Eric Alva, was simply testifying at a public hearing in favor of the ordinance. That’s right: protesters booed a man who had put his life on the line and lost a leg fighting for them overseas. And they did so because he dared ask his hometown not to tolerate bigotry and discrimination.

Consider also the words of San Antonio City Council member Elisa Chan and her staff members as they discussed how to defeat the proposed ordinance. San Antonio Express-News columnist Brian Chasnoff obtained a recording of that stunning discussion.

As Chasnoff reports, Chan and her staffers discussed how they could build opposition to the ordinance while hiding… Read More

Religious-right groups are demanding that San Antonio’s nondiscrimination policies include a religious exemption for individuals — an exemption that would effectively gut not just proposed protections for LGBT people (protections those anti-gay groups oppose), but also existing protections against discrimination based on gender, race, age, disability and even religion.

The offices of San Antonio City Council members have been flooded with phone calls and emails from religious-right activists who oppose an effort to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s nondiscrimination policies. They have been pointing to an existing part of the city code that says “no person shall be appointed to a position if the City Council finds that such person” has engaged in discriminatory behavior. That provision, they dishonestly claim, would effectively ban Christians (or at least Christians who don’t like gay people) from city offices even though it has never been interpreted in such a way.

Council member Diego Bernal has stricken that “prior discrimination” provision in his proposal to add sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran’s status to the city’s nondiscrimination policies. Moreover, his proposed measure would continue to exempt churches and other religious nonprofits from the city’s ban on discrimination in employment, housing and… Read More

Liberty Institute/Texas Values, the religious-right litigation group based in Plano, is addicted to outrage (OUTRAGE!). The group seems to thrive on manufacturing and feeding it with strained distortions, whether the issue is gay adoption (vanishing moms and dads!), sex education (anal sex!), anti-bullying bills (special rights for homosexuals!) or the mythical “war on Christmas.”

Now the group is outraged (OUTRAGED!) over a classroom exercise in an Intercultural Communications course at Florida Atlantic University. Details are sketchy (aren’t they always?), but Liberty Institute and other right-wing groups are upset because the exercise allegedly asked students to stomp on a sheet of paper with the name “Jesus” written on it.

A Florida television station reports that a devoutly Mormon student told the instructor he was offended and then was suspended from the class when he went to the instructor’s supervisor to discuss it two days later.

Some groups and right-wing media sites have highlighted that the course instructor is an officer of his county’s Democratic Party. “Dem Party official makes students ‘stomp on Jesus,'” screams a World Net Daily article. The article goes on to include the… Read More

The head of a Houston-area Tea Party group appears to have been dabbling in extremist right-wing politics for some time and has shared the political stage with various far-right activist and elected leaders in Texas.

According to a report in the Texas Tribune, James Ives, president of the Greater Fort Bend County Tea Party, served as recently as 2003 as director of propaganda for the American Fascist Party. From the Tribune:

Ives and his wife have been active Tea Partiers since the political movement began in 2009. Ives spoke about “American exceptionalism” at a 2010 “Back to Basics” rally at the state Capitol, shared billing on a live 2011 radio broadcast with prominent conservative activists Michael Quinn Sullivan and Jonathan Saenz, and in 2012 hosted a U.S. Senate forum for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and the man who would later defeat him, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. As recently as July, he was listed on the website of Houston radio station KSEV — [Houston state Sen. Dan] Patrick’s station — as a regular contributor.

Sullivan, head of Empower Texans/Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, is so far to the political right that he thinks current Republican leaders in the Texas House are too liberal.… Read More

Sadly, history often repeats itself, especially when it comes to discrimination. The debate over the Boy Scouts of America’s now-postponed decision about whether to end a blanket ban on gay scouts is just another example — and a number of Texas politicians have chosen to put their names clearly on the wrong side of history.

More than six decades ago, in 1956, scores of white southern politicians (nearly all of them Democrats) signed on to the so-called “Southern Manifesto” attacking the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling against racially segregated schools two years earlier. Ultimately, 101 elected officials — 19 Senators and 82 House members — signed the Manifesto. All were from states that had been part of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Among the signers was Senator Price Daniel of Texas.

The Manifesto’s words have become only more odious over time. Beyond its claims that the Brown v Board of Education decision was an “abuse of judicial power” and a threat to states’ rights, the document defended the discredited principle of “separate but equal” and the right of states to enforce that principle in education — both concepts that had been upheld… Read More