SAN ANTONIO, TX – San Antonio City officials will discuss a proposed ordinance on Wednesday that state leaders say would severely threaten religious freedom. It could also a dangerous precedent for other cities throughout the country.
Mayor Julian Castro and gay activists call it a â€œnon-discriminationâ€ ordinance. But really, it is quite the opposite. If passed, those who hold a biblical view of marriage and relationships could be banned from being involved in city government.
Councilmembers are expected to vote on the issue next week.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a statement Monday that it violates the state Constitution.
â€œI oppose the proposed ordinance because it would not prevent discrimination, but impose it: stifling speech, repressing religious liberty, and imposing burdens on those who hold a traditional view on human relations,â€ he said. â€œThe proposed ordinance runs contrary to the Texas Constitution, which prohibits religious tests, and also defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.â€
Not only that, but the U.S. Constitution protects religious expression via the First Amendment, he explained.
â€œAlthough the proposal has been couched in terms of liberty and equality, it would have the effect of inhibiting the liberty of expression and equality of opportunity for San Antonians.â€
The ordinance would also incur these damaging consequences:
* Churches could be forced to allow same-sex civil unions to take place in their facilities
* Business owners could face legal action and fines for not provided benefits to unmarried same-sex couples
* Children could be forced to share bathrooms at school with members of the opposite sex
â€œAn attack this blatant is hard to imagine, but there is no other way to say it â€” this is an unprecedented attack on religious liberty, particularly for Christians,â€ he said. â€œAttacks on religious freedom in Texas are on the rise.â€
Jonathan Saenz and his pro-family group Texas Values created a petition for the city council three weeks ago. More than 20,000 people have already signed it.
Texas Values will hold a press conference Wednesday on the front steps of the San Antonio Capitol building. City leaders from the faith, legal and business communities will discuss their concerns over the issue.
Saenz told CitizenLink he hopes other cities, even those outside the state, do not create similar ordinances.
â€œThere really is concern â€” with the size of San Antonio being the seventh largest citiesâ€”that other cities will follow this,â€ Saenz explained. â€œ(Such ordinances) would create an environment where Christians really have no role in their government.â€