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Stonewall Dems vote 'no' on mayoral endorsement
QSanAntonio, April 10, 2013

The board of directors of the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio confirmed on April 8 that they will make no endorsement in this year's mayoral race.

Last week, the Stonewall endorsement committee recommended that the board invite the four mayoral candidates, including Mayor Julian Castro, who did not participate at their March 17 candidate forum, to their April 15 meeting where they could address the group and the "no endorsement" would be reconsidered.

The accommodation was being made because Mayor Castro, in addition to not attending the Stonewall endorsement forum, had not submitted his completed candidate questionnaire.

According to one board member, in considering the endorsement committee's recommendation, the Stonewall board determined that the vote taken by the group's membership on March 17 to "make no endorsement" would stand.

"Central to the board's decision was protecting the fairness and integrity of the endorsement process by not giving special treatment to one candidate," said Stonewall co-chair Elena Guajardo.

This is the first time in his three campaigns for Mayor that Castro will not be endorsed by the Stonewall Democrats. In the past he has always attended the meetings and gave all "yes" answers on the questionnaire.

Endorsement committee co-chair Dan Graney told QSanAntonio that he had been in contact with Christian Archer, the political director of Castro's re-election campaign, who promised the Mayor would send in his questionnaire in time for the April 15 Stonewall meeting.

In an April 1 conversation with QSanAntonio, Archer said the Mayor was going to complete the questionnaire. He said the that Castro had become extremely busy -- so much so that Archer was having trouble scheduling campaign events.

For his part, Mayor Castro has expressed frustration over the questionnaire. “First, I don't like those surveys, the ones that say, 'Yes or no,'” he told Brian Chasnoff in an April 4 column in the San Antonio Express-News. “They don't need to read a survey. They just need to read my record.”

Stonewall officials say that candidates don't have to check a "yes" or "no" box. They can leave a box blank and instead add written comments. They say several candidates used that technique.

Many in the community think the Mayor's reluctance to submit the questionnaire stems from his not wanting to commit, at this time, to the creation of a city-wide Human Rights Ordinance that would protect LGBT citizens against discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

A group of LGBT activists who formed the Community Alliance for a United San Antonio has been working to change the city's non-discrimination ordinances since 2011. In the past year, the group met with the Mayor and City Councilman Diego Bernal, both of whom expressed their support.

However, the Mayor wants to take an incremental approach -- changing city ordinances to include LGBT protections but holding off on establishing a full-fledged HRO for the time being.

In an interview with QSanAntonio, Adam Greenup, the Mayor's senior policy advisor and LGBT liaison, said, "Because this (HRO) is an idea that was just proposed recently, we are still in the process of understanding exactly what it would mean. The city attorney's office, our office, Councilman Bernal's office and other groups, like HRC, are providing their idea of what it (the HRO) would look like."

Some in the LGBT community say the Mayor should be given a pass on the questionnaire and that Stonewall should make the endorsement nonetheless.

Others feel slighted by the Mayor's actions.

“It's creating a lot of frustration and resentment because here's a Mayor who has publicly expressed his support for marriage equality, yet locally we don't hear from him,” Graney told the Express-News. “He's not accessible to his own LGBT community, and that's the frustration.”

Commentary: Castro has earned the patience of Stonewall Democrats
By Brian Chasnoff, San Antonio Express-News, April 4, 2013
As unusual political calculations go, this one stood out like a rainbow flag: The Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio, in releasing its City Council endorsements last month, declined to support anyone for mayor.