Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Op-Ed: Non-discrimination ordinance should pass

Posted By on Tue, Sep 3, 2013 at 11:16 AM

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Ed. note: Until the September 5 vote to change the City's non-discrimination ordinance to include LGBT citizens and veterans, we'll be running op-eds that various members of the community have sent in. You may notice these op-eds seem a little one-sided. While the Current reached out to the very few local, vocal leaders of the opposition to the NDO and invited them to write an op-ed, we didn't hear back. To this editor, straining to include one side's opinion, when those on the other side present multiple op-eds, is in itself a kind of misinformation, especially when the side lacking in op-eds has no qualms publicly demonstrating or speaking to members of media affiliates perceived to share their same values. That being said, if you have an op-ed representing opposition to the NDO, you can send it to cenlow (at) sacurrent.com by September 5. Op-eds are 500 words or less, and including a photo is helpful.

The following op-ed is written by Amanda Reyes, a college student at Trinity University. She previously interned for former District 3 city councilwoman Leticia Ozuna, whose spouse underwent sex-reassignment surgery


In my senior year of high school, I had the opportunity to intern with former Councilwoman Ozuna’s staff. Perhaps the most memorable day of my internship, aside from the day I ate literally all the candy at the office, was visiting City Hall during an important hearing, concerning  the proposal to extend the city’s anti-bias code in order to protect LGBT groups and veterans against discrimination in matters with the city and its contractors.

Of course, the inclusion of LGBT groups raised a considerable amount of hoopla, as I saw in City Hall that day. The support was outstanding, but the highlight of my experience was seeing a fretting traditional marriage group protesting the new update. It’s not because I dislike them, but because what the City is proposing is a measure that is so simple that it only takes common sense and simple human decency to understand and support, that opposing it is almost reminiscent of Gargamel annoying the Smurfs, downright goofy and unnecessary. Just let the Smurfs be, yo.

Opponents of the new updates believe that extending the code will create a slew of problems, such as infringing on the rights of other citizens or causing a slippery slope. It’s important to remember, though, that the code affects the practices of the City and its contractors, not private citizens or organizations, which means, yes, you can still be a homophobic bigot in your own affairs. Congrats! And, in addition to this, religious exemptions also exist for those working with the city.

As for the always-amusing slippery slope argument, it should also be noted that San Antonio is the last major Texas city to adopt a code such as this. Some may ask, if we can’t discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity, what’s next? Pedophiles landing city jobs? Turtles running for mayor? The hypothetical terrors are endless. But, from what I understand, El Paso, Dallas and Texas’s other major cities that have already implemented this measure haven’t jumped to embracing pedophilia or electing turtles for mayor (unfortunately).

If anything, this code won’t change much about San Antonio. I mean that in the best possible way. I imagine, and expect, this code to be updated. There will be hoopla and arguing, sign holding and flag waving, but ultimately, San Antonio is going to carry on as a more efficient and welcoming city for all.

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