Retired Marine Sergeant Eric Alva (center)
speaks before the San Antonio City Council on August 14 to endorse a proposed
non-discrimination ordinance. When he finished speaking he was booed by
anti-gay Christian extremists who oppose the measure. (Photo: Facebook
post by City Councilman Rey Saldana)
Despite anti-gay hecklers,
community activists speak out at Citizens to Be Heard
QSanAntonio.com, August 16, 2013
Supporters of the city's proposed nondiscrimination ordinance have been
speaking out consistently during the City Council's Citizens to be Heard
sessions, often having to sit through caustic presentations by anti-LGBT
Christians who are leading the opposition.
At the August 14 session, retired Marine Sergeant Eric Alava was booed
after he spoke. "Well I just left city council chambers and I feel
like crying. I have never seen a city so divided and hateful toward each
other," Alva posted on his Facebook page.
Despite this, advocates of the ordinance have continued to present their
case week after week. Following is a selection of speeches given during
the August 7 and August 14 Citizens to be Heard sessions.
August 14, 2013
Good evening ladies and gentlemen and thank you for allowing me to speak
tonight my name is Retired Marine Sergeant Eric Alva.
To those of you who don't know me, I am the first American that was injured
in Operation Iraqi Freedom when I stepped on a land mine and losing my
With that said, to all you people holding signs, it is because of my sacrifice,
that you have that right to hold those signs. I am a Veteran, I am Hispanic,
I am disabled and I am a gay man, one who has a Purple Heart and one who
has fought for the rights, freedoms and equal opportunities for the citizens
of this country NOT just you selected few !!!
I am here tonight to express my support in asking the members of this
council and vote for an all inclusive city wide ordinance that includes
non discrimination for gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation
and veteran's status.
There is NOT one person in this room that can not look me in the eye and
say I have not earned my freedom because I have. But the sad truth is
that if this ordinance does not pass, I can be denied from applying for
a job, be fired from a job or even be thrown out out of a restaurant just
for being gay. It doesn't matter that I am a wounded warrior or a Purple
And to all you people who spread the word of God, shame on you. Because
God was with me that day I laid bleeding in Iraq. He saved me.
August 14, 2013
Today, I want to address some of the issues of opposition, sometimes in
blunt and direct terms. As the nation moves to provide full equality for
all citizens, your historic vote will be remembered in years to come.
I hope you will be on the right side of history.
Some of you have expressed concerns about protections regarding contracts,
stating you don’t like the imposition it might put on businesses.
If you don’t like those impositions, then shouldn’t you consider
removing ALL the minority opportunities provided by SBEDA in city contracts?
Opposing restrictions for one class would seem
Regarding religious objections, I have to ask of which church? My own
church, Madison Square Presbyterian, doesn’t have these objections.
In fact, if you look at the church in general, it deals daily with many
conflicting issues such as open vs. closed communion, the role of women
in church leadership, and others.
Allowing church positions to directly intervene in public policy is a
slippery slope, due to the lack of an earthly arbitrator.
With that in mind, when Texas seceded from the Union, it stated in the
Declaration of Causes that slavery was “abundantly authorized and
justified by the experience of mankind, and the
revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian
The imposition of a flawed religious viewpoint
cost our nation a tremendous loss of life.
Finally, some have stated several times that these protections seem unjustified.
Looking around the nation and here in Texas, I constantly see cases of
discrimination, violence and sometimes murder of my LGBT brothers and
Do we really need an incident in our own city to justify that protection?
Does it have to come to a Rainbow Lounge incident to change your mind?
Mayor Castro has said many times, when talking about these changes there
are no second class citizens in our city. I hope all of you take a bold
stand with him supporting that statement.
The nation awaits your boldness.
August 14, 2013
Thank you members of the Council for allowing me to speak here today.
My name is Tiffani Bishop. I am a veteran of the United States Navy. I
honorably served as Primary Flight Control Tower Supervisor and Aviation
Fuels Crew Leader during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring
Freedom on board the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. I am also an out and proud
When I joined the Navy, I raised my right hand and swore to protect and
defend the United States Constitution against all enemies foreign and
domestic and bear true faith and allegiance to the same. Although I no
longer wear a uniform, it is that very oath that brought me here today.
I'd like to remind all of you that the United States Constitution guarantees
equal access and equal protection under the law. I'd also like to remind
all of you that the United States Constitution guarantees a distinct separation
of Church and State. Which means no law may be passed nor denied on the
basis of religious beliefs.
In the Navy, we had three core values that we believed in very deeply.
Those values are Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
I would like to ask every member of the Council today - Where is your
honor while you remain silent as members of your city suffer? Where is
your courage to do what is right regardless of whether or not you'll keep
your parking space at City Hall after elections? Where is your commitment
to serve ALL of the people of San Antonio?
Show us you have honor. Show us you have courage. Show us you have commitment.
Vote yes on the Nondiscrimination Ordinance. Thank you.
August 7, 2013
Mayor Castro and Members of the Council,
Thank you for letting me speak tonight. My name is Alanna Truitt and I
am a lifelong resident of District 7. I am proud to be standing here today
as a straight ally of the LGBT community, a sister of one of its members,
and a mother.
Without a non-discrimination ordinance, the city of San Antonio cannot
expect its citizens to ever relinquish its discriminatory reigns. With
this potential ordinance in place, ensuring protection of San Antonio’s
beautifully diverse population, the city can finally begin its attempt
to put a stop to discrimination—from the top (our local government)
As a mother of a young son who is entering a crucial stage of cognitive
development, I want my child to embrace every person as equal. I cannot,
however, expect him to adopt these ideals in an environment where not
even the legal system recognizes over-arching equality.
The current system in place not only teaches members of the LGBT community
that persecution for who they are is permissible, but also teaches all
citizens that the aforementioned discrimination is okay. With this ordinance,
there will be no uncertainty left—discrimination and hate is wrong—and
I, for one, look forward to the day where the question of discrimination
and prejudice is no longer.
As antiquated a notion it may be, history repeats itself. Horrific acts
of verbal and physical prejudice have been enacted in the past against
minority groups: acts that destroyed and forever-altered a staggering
number of lives.
When a gay couple is forced to move to the back of a bus for holding hands
as recent news has reported, parallels can’t help but be made. Such
acts cannot stand or be ignored. We may not be walking into segregated
buildings or witnessing those suffering in internment camps, but there
is still the ever-present fear that our society will fall back into these
extreme acts of hate because we have fostered an ill-conceived notion
of what it means to be normal and natural for far too long.
My brother means the world to me and the thought of him being taunted,
abused, or mistreated for his sexual orientation horrifies me. Hate doesn’t
just affect those in this LGBT community. It affects the families, friends,
and society as a whole. Council, I urge you to amend the existing city
code to include protection for the LGBT community. Thank you.
August 7, 2013
My name is David Plylar. I am a resident of District 10.
A month ago when I read a draft of the proposed nondiscrimination ordinance
I was strongly opposed to paragraph (b) of Section 2-552 dealing with
appointed officials, boards and commissions. This paragraph, titled “Prior
Discriminatory Acts,” had the attributes of an ex post facto law
and it also would have violated the rights of the people under the First
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Councilman Diego Bernal has indicated that this provision of the ordinance
will not be in the final version of the ordinance and I thank the councilman
I can now support the ordinance without reservation.
I’d like to make one further point.
Councilman Carlton Soules, my representative on the council, has indicated
there is no empirical evidence demonstrating that we have a problem of
discrimination in San Antonio.
Here is some empirical evidence: Two years ago, 27.272 percent of the
members of this council voted against the entire city budget after failing
to have a line item removed that would provide funding for domestic partner
benefits to city employees.
The three council members casting the negative votes were willing to shut
down the entire city government—to provide zero funds for city services,
including fire and police protection—because they were adamant about
discriminating against the groups this new ordinance seeks to protect.
There’s your empirical evidence, Councilman Soules, and you are
part of the data.
of NDO will not solve transgender bathroom issues
QSanAntonio.com, August 16, 2013
A 1999 ruling made by former Mayor Phil Hardberger when he was Chief Justice
of the 4th Court of Appeals will have an impact on determining whether
transgender citizens can legally use a public restroom based on their
gender identity even if the proposed nondiscrimination ordinance is passed
by the City Council.
ignores Hardberger opinion
By Brian Chasnoff, San Antonio Express-News, August 15, 2013
Six years before Phil Hardberger became mayor, he wrote an opinion as
chief justice of the Fourth Court of Appeals that should serve to cool
at least one heated objection to the city's proposal to update its nondiscrimination
ordinance. The proposal would add protections for sexual orientation and
non-discrimination ordinance debated at Citizens Heard meeting
San Antonio Current, August 8, 2013
Allegations of government mind control and a step toward pedophilia marked
the oftentimes, nonsensical testimony from anti-LGBT residents who came
out to oppose a non-discrimination ordinance during a City Hall public