City Councilwoman Ivy Taylor (Photo: WN.com)
Commentary: The next mayor of San
Antonio must support equality for all
By Dan Graney, QSanAntonio, June 17, 2014
I was recently quoted in the San Antonio Express-News as opposing the
appointment of District 2 City Councilwoman Ivy Taylor as interim mayor
after Mayor Castro is confirmed and sworn in as Secretary of Housing and
Urban Development. I just wanted to issue a statement that elaborates
on why I think she does not deserve to be the mayor of this great city,
not even for one minute.
As co-chairs of the Community Alliance for a United San Antonio (CAUSA),
DeeDee Belmares and I spent months working in the trenches to organize
community and Council support for the historic fully inclusive Non Discrimination
Ordinance (NDO) that was finally adopted by Council on September 5, 2013.
We spent countless hours at meetings, press conferences, rallies and in
Council Chambers and endured the verbal abuse of vile, hate-filled attacks
from opponents of the NDO. So, while we and the other leaders and supporters
of CAUSA rejoiced when the NDO passed, we also bear the scars of those
stressful months leading up to its passage.
One of our strategies as the CAUSA coalition was to schedule meetings
with individual Council members and their staffs to advocate for their
support of the NDO. We often did this with a number of NDO-supportive
constituents from each of these Council member's districts.
It was difficult to schedule such a meeting with Councilwoman Ivy Taylor,
but she finally did agree to meet with David Ewell, the Executive Director
of the San Antonio AIDS Foundation (SAAF), and me privately in her office
at City Hall about three weeks before the vote on the NDO.
At that meeting, she told us that on the one hand she does not support
discrimination of any kind, but on the other hand her religious beliefs
raised more questions than answers about LGBT people in general. She was
very gracious during the meeting and it ended amicably.
Taylor's religious beliefs won out as evidenced by her vote. I was in
Chambers at that time and I felt heartbroken and hurt by her vote and
the angry, arrogant tone she used when voicing her reasons for voting
the way she did.
Since that day, Councilwoman Taylor has not reached out to the LGBT community
or otherwise communicated any interest in getting to know us better or
to express remorse for her misguided vote. This is somewhat surprising
since she has been a very ardent supporter of SAAF, which is located in
her district, and BEAT-AIDS.
I am not opposing Taylor's appointment because I am a “single issue”
advocate. Like other tax-paying residents of San Antonio, I care about
public safety, public transportation and other “quality of life”
issues that affect our everyday lives.
However, I am an openly gay man and as such, the NDO is important to me
and our LGBT community, because it speaks to the very core of who we are.
How can we expect to be treated fairly and equally as others in this city
if our existence is not even acknowledged and protected?
What made Taylor's “No” vote on the NDO particularly hard
to swallow was just moments before she voted “Yes” on a separate
vote to add “veteran's status” as a protected category in
We did not know how Taylor was going to vote until the last minute and
she clearly voted to discriminate against an entire class of San Antonio
residents and visitors – LGBT people – while voting to support
protections for veterans (many of whom are LGBT as well).
We need a mayor who will wear the mantle of outgoing Mayor Julian Castro
and continue to passionately believe that “there are no second-class
citizens in San Antonio”.
It is no solace to me and to my community that Taylor has pledged she
would do nothing to dismantle the NDO if she is appointed mayor. If anything,
the NDO is incomplete. It may be fully inclusive, but it is far from being
comprehensive. We still need a process of some kind, whether a commission
or a city staff member, for handling discrimination complaints that arise
from public accommodations and city contractor settings.
We also need to add protections for ALL classes in citywide employment
– which would include private employers of 15 or more employees
doing business in the city. Such protections already exist for most classes
under federal and state law and the cities of Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth,
and most recently, Houston, have citywide employment covered in their
LGBT-inclusive Non Discrimination Ordinances.
In San Antonio, we don't even include race, color, religion, gender, disability
or any of the other heretofore recognized categories in citywide employment.
We need a mayor who will be open to expanding our NDO, not just upholding
the half loaf of an NDO we presently have.
Finally, Taylor's vote against including LGBT protections in the NDO is
out of step with most African-American political leaders, from President
Obama to her own State Representative, Ruth Jones McClendon, who signed
a letter strongly supporting the NDO. She is also out of step with prominent
African-American civil rights organizations, like the NAACP, which are
strong supporters of LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws and policies.
While it would be historic for the first African-American woman to become
mayor of San Antonio, Ivy Taylor is not that person because she does not
meet the test of being a leader who will fairly represent the interest
of all San Antonians.
Therefore, I firmly believe that the person who is appointed interim mayor
be someone who voted for and/or is supportive of the NDO and is open to
expanding its reach and effectiveness. We need a mayor who will openly
embrace and ensure that San Antonio is a city that treats all its residents
and visitors with fairness, respect and equality.
balk at idea of Ivy Taylor as interim mayor
QSanAntonio, June 16, 2014
Political activists in the LGBT community say they are concerned by the
news that City Councilwoman Ivy Taylor may be the frontrunner for the
post of interim mayor after Mayor Julian Castro leaves San Antonio to
take a position in President Obama's cabinet.
Look To The Future, Not the Past
By Randy Bear, Bexar Left and Right, June 17, 2014
It seems that some within our city’s LGBT community don’t
seem to be able to move past a vote taken almost a year ago with regards
to the non-discrimination ordinance. One of the potential candidates for
interim mayor, Councilwoman Ivy Taylor, is being rejected, not because
of her work on council, but because of her vote on the ordinance, as if
that one vote completely defined her council career.