Planning Meeting – Demand San Antonio Pass a Human Rights Ordinance!

March 31, 2013 · Posted in  
Tuesday April 2nd, 2013 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM

GetEQUAL TX invites you to join the Community Alliance for a United San Antonio (CAUSA) at a strategy meeting next Tuesday, April 2, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Esperanza Center, 922 San Pedro (upstairs space). There will be sandwiches, snacks, sodas and water available at the meeting.

As you probably know, San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the country and, yet, it is the only major city in Texas and in the nation that does not provide non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in its municipal code.  CAUSA was formed in June of 2011 by a small group of activists to develop a strategy for amending San Antonio’s current non-discrimination ordinances to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in city employment, public accommodations, housing, city contractors and appointments to boards and commissions.

Shortly after CAUSA began meeting, organizers learned of a “surprise announcement” that the mayor and city manager wanted to include domestic partner benefits in the city budget. CAUSA switched gears to rally support from the community for that initiative and domestic partner benefits were successfully adopted in September, 2011.

CAUSA then refocused on its original goal, to amend the non-discrimination ordinances that exist within the city code to be inclusive of LGBT people. Organizers for CAUSA met with the mayor and City Council Member Diego Bernal, both of whom seemed supportive and dare we say excited to make this great change for the city; however, neither Mayor Castro nor Councilman Bernal, both of whom relied heavily on the LGBT community for donations and support during their elections, have pushed hard enough and the amendments were never placed on the Council agenda. Even after Mayor Castro and Councilman Bernal were presented with a scientific poll showing strong support for this ordinance among a cross-section of San Antonio voters, they continue to fail to take action or give any indication as to when this will be brought before Council.

CAUSA has now expanded its focus and is advocating for a fully-inclusive, citywide Human Rights Ordinance that includes a Human Rights Commission or similar entity to receive and adjudicate claims of arbitrary discrimination brought on the basis of race, color, age, religion, disability, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, veteran’s status, etc. using the current policies and ordinances of Ft. Worth, Dallas and Austin as a springboard.

We cannot stop simply because “our friends” in power seem disinterested, or worse, indifferent, to discrimination.  It is time to develop a plan of action to see that the City of San Antonio provides a recourse for its citizens and visitors when the heavy hand of discrimination strikes.  It is time to GetEQUAL!

Jay Morris

PS: Parking is difficult around the Esperanza Center, so the best place to park is in the parking lot directly south of the Esperanza Building at 920 San Pedro. The meeting starts at 6 pm, but please arrive early to get a parking space and something to eat.

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