Activists seek community's help with
DP benefits push
QSanAntonio.com, August 27, 2011
GLBT activists are fanning out across the city in a campaign to rouse
the community into helping support the push for domestic partnership benefits
for city employees, including same-sex couples.
The initiative, which is included in the city budget, will have to be
approved by the City Council which means that Council members have to
be lobbied and contacted to show there is solid support.
Reports from district budget meetings being held across the city show
that an organized effort to derail the initiative is being mounted by
local conservatives, mostly for religious reasons.
At the District 7 budget meeting on August 24, former City Councilwoman
Elena Guajardo reports that there were five people who spoke against the
benefits including one man identified as Rev. Flowers who said that a
vote for domestic partnership benefits was a vote against marriage.
In District 9, which held its meeting on August 25, the five people spoke
against the initiative received applause, the five who spoke for it did
At the meeting, District 9 Councilwoman Elisa Chan received a loud round
of applause when she stated, "We need to make sure this does not
promote abuse. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman but that
is my opinion and others have their opinions. I believe in equality and
nondiscrimination, but I do have questions about the benefits that are
In conservative District 10, staffers for Councilman Carlton Soules are
replying to emails he's received on the issue by writing back, "At
this time, he has not made a decision on supporting this proposal and
will not be able to until he has seen the details and the financials of
In District 1, the budget meeting saw only two people speak against domestic
partnership benefits and several who spoke in favor. In a reversal from
District 9, those who spoke in favor of the initiative were applauded.
In a report sent to QSanAntonio by activist and blogger Randy Bear, he
writes that perennial gadfly and self-professed homophobe Jack Finger
said at the District 1 meeting that a vote for domestic partnerships was
a vote for people "shacking up."
"Attorney Bill Goodman and activist Gilbert Casillas both gave great
responses," writes Bear. "Bill told Finger 'Sorry Mr. Finger,
but it’s not a shack, it’s a home' followed by applause. Bill
then gave a personal testimony about his late partner and how they worked
to build a home. Gilbert reminded Finger that Texas supports common law
marriages which are what Finger calls 'shacking up.' So if Finger disapproves
he should take that up with Governor Perry.' More applause. "
Activists say that the only way to insure that the passage of domestic
partnership benefits is by members of the GLBT community contacting their
individual City Council members.
One way they hope to do this is with postcards that ask the Mayor and
City Council members to vote yes on domestic partnerships. Activists hope
to have the community fill out as many cards as possible so that they
can be presented at the City Council meeting prior to the budget vote
on September 15.
Distribution of the cards will begin this weekend with activists hitting
the Main Avenue strip where they hope to get people at the bars and clubs
to take a moment to fill them out. (Sample card shown above.)
Sparky's Pub will become a distribution point for picking up the cards
or dropping them off.
Besides the bars and clubs, activists are asking anyone who's attending
an event or meeting, gay or straight, to take cards with them so that
friends and family can fill them out.
Anyone needing 50 or more cards can contact Elena Guajardo at 210-681-6798
to arrange for a pickup.
Guajardo is also seeking donations to help defray the cost of printing
the cards. She said anyone who'd like to contribute can send a check to:
DP Benefits, Stonewall Democrats, P.O. Box 12814, San Antonio, Texas,
78212. Checks should be made out to the Stonewall Democrats with "DP
benefits" in the memo line.
Guajardo says that if individuals cannot get hold of a card they should
contact their City Council representative by phone or email and ask them
to support domestic partnership benefits for city employees. Or you can
send an email to Guajardo at firstname.lastname@example.org with
your name and address and a card can be filled out for you.
"This is an opportunity our community is being given by City Manager
Sculley," says Guajardo. "It would be a shame if we did not
do everything possible to make this initiative a reality."
here for contact information for the Mayor and City Council.
proposes to extend benefits for domestic partners
WOAI-TV, August 25, 2011
City manager Sheryl Sculley proposed benefits for city workers should
include domestic partners, regardless of their sexual orientation. It
comes with a price tag of about $300,000 to $400,000. J. Lynn Armstrong,
who has been in a domestic partnership for more than 20 years, says the
move is long overdue.
at budget hearing
TV4SA, August 26, 2011
City Council gadfly and self-professed homophobe Jack Finger speaks at
the 2011 City of San Antonio budget hearings on same-sex domestic partner
benefits and the play "Corpus Christi" at the San Pedro Playhouse.
This clip was for San Antonio Public Access TV, TV4SA PATV.
with (and without) benefits in SA
PlazaDeArmasTX.com, August 25, 2011
As budget hearings go, the first hour of Monday’s gathering on the
East Side was pretty upbeat, even jovial at times. Then Gerald Ripley
walked up to the microphone. Ripley, the longtime pastor of the evangelical
Abundant Life Church, brought a touch of gloom to the room by denouncing
Sculley’s proposed initiative to offer benefits to domestic partners
of municipal employees. Ripley said he was speaking on behalf of a group
of 85 local pastors who all adamantly oppose the plan.
DP benefits proposed in city budget
not a sure thing
QSanAntonio.com, August 18, 2011
Last week City Manager Sheryl Sculley unveiled a new budget that included
extending domestic partnership benefits to City of San Antonio, CPS and
San Antonio Water System employees, including same-sex couples.
While this is a historic first for the city's GLBT community, activists
warn that the question of domestic partner benefits is far from a done
deal. Even though the initiative is supported by Mayor Julian Castro,
it could get derailed in district budget meetings being held across the
city. At these meetings citizens can speak out against specific budget
Last Friday, District 10 City Councilman Carlton Soules, a conservative
Northside politician, told the San Antonio Express News, "I need
to know what it means from a financial perspective, what guidelines they're
following. What's the definition of a domestic partner?” he said.
“At this point, with me personally, I don't see that it's going
to be a major issue in our district. But obviously, this is why we have
public hearings and our meetings."
On the following Monday at the District 10 budget meeting, six people
spoke out against domestic partner benefits even though City Manager Sheryl
Sculley, who was at the meeting, gave several good reasons why the city
should offer them. How those six dissenting voices will affect Councilman
Soules' vote on the initiative is hard to gauge.
At the District 5 meeting on Thursday, August 18, a local
pastor spoke out and said he was organizing other religious leaders to
oppose the domestic partner initiative. He urged Councilman David Medina
to vote no. "We were not counting on Medina's support, " says
Elena Guajardo, co-chair of the Stonewall Democrats. "However, this
only confirms that we must act and not be silent."
One source at City Hall says the Mayor and City Council members have all
received negative phone calls regarding domestic partnership benefits.
That is why GLBT activists are asking the community to attend the budget
meetings in their respective districts. Some of these meetings have already
taken place, others continue through August 29.
At one gathering of activists attended by QSanAntonio participants were
told that monitoring any opposition voiced at the district meetings was
crucial in order to determine what parts of the city were most resistant
to the initiative and which council members need to be lobbied prior to
the budget vote.
There are two primary talking points that the Mayor and activists are
giving in support of offering the benefits:
1) By providing benefits for domestic partners, regardless of sexual orientation,
the City of San Antonio remains competitive in hiring and retaining valuable
human resource talent and establishes it as a world-class employer.
2) Providing benefits, regardless of sexual orientation, demonstrates
that the City of San Antonio does not regard any individual as a second-class
citizen and provides the same benefits for all employees.
Speaking at the meeting of the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio on August
15, District 1 City Councilman Diego Bernal urged the community to contact
their city council members to express support for the initiative and to
attend the district meetings.
Below is a listing of upcoming district budget meetings.
Thursday, August 18, District 5, Senior Center, 2701 S. Presa St.
Monday, August 22, District 2, S.J. Davis Middle School, 4702 E. Houston
Monday, August 22, District 6, Alice Trevino Lopez Senior Center, 8353
Tuesday, August 23, District 8, University Methodist Church, 5084 DeZavala
Wed., August 24, District 7, St. Mary's University -University Center,
1 Camino Santa Maria
Thursday, August 25, District 1, TriPoint YMCA, 3233 N. St. Mary's St.
Thursday, August 25, District 9, Parman Library, 20735 Wilderness Oak
Monday, August 29, District 4, Miller's Pond Gyn, 6175 Old Pearsall Rd.
here for contact information for the Mayor and City Council.