In anticipation of the upcoming City Council vote on the proposed Non-Discrimination Ordinance, September 5, Councilman Diego M. Bernal wants to bring clarity to the intention of the proposed ordinance.
“The debate over the updated Non-Discrimination Ordinance has generated a lot of recent headlines. I want you to know the facts,” said Councilman Bernal. “We are not breaking new ground or doing anything revolutionary. We are merely doing what more than 180 municipalities have already enacted. The cities of Houston, Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Waco, and Brownsville already have a non-discrimination ordinance in place. Every member of our community deserves to live free from discrimination.”
Here is what the proposed ordinance would do:
- Prohibits discrimination against our LGBT and veteran neighbors.
- Leaves in place protections for race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age and handicap (and updates “handicap” to “disability”).
- Applies to City employees, City contracts and subcontracts, housing, and public accommodations (entry and access to businesses generally open to the public).
- Provides protections that are not covered by state or federal law.
Here is what the proposed ordinance does NOT do:
- Does NOT affect bathroom, locker room or dressing room policies. Everything as it is right now will remain the same.
- Does NOT require City contractors to hire anyone; they simply cannot discriminate against a qualified person because of who they are.
- Does NOT affect hiring/firing practices for private businesses.
- Does NOT require businesses to provide domestic partner benefits.
- Does NOT prevent anyone, regardless of their beliefs, speech or activities, from running for City Council or participating in City Boards and Commissions.
- Does NOT require religious organizations to offer their facilities to groups or activities they disagree with.
- Does NOT require religious organizations to perform or host ceremonies they disagree with.
- Does NOT interfere with religious organizations’ practice of only hiring members of their faith.
- Does NOT require any business to produce or promote messages it does not agree with on religious grounds. They cannot discriminate against customers, but they do have the right to decide what messages they produce.
“I believe San Antonio is a place that should embrace and celebrate all of its citizens,” said Bernal. “This is something we can all agree on.”