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SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro has fired back at an LGBT advocacy group for issuing a travel alert advising the LGBT community to avoid San Antonio until the city takes action on a hotly debated non-discrimination ordinance.
The “travel alert” was issued last week by activist group GetEQUALTexas, after Eric Alva, an openly gay Irag combat veteran, was booed after voicing his support for the ordinance during a city council meeting, and the disclosure of a secret recording of city councilwoman Elisa Chan referring to gays and lesbians as “so disgusting” and “against nature.”
GetEQUAL Texas said city officials have “repeatedly delayed a vote” on the proposal, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance.
The advisory issued by GetEQUAL Texas quoted Jay Morris, the group’s co-lead organizer, as saying he has faced discrimination several times in San Antonio.
“This advisory unnecessarily stands to hurt the city. The fact is that San Antonio always has been and remains welcoming to all,” said Castro. “The city has a history of welcoming all visitors.”
Castro said the timeline for adoption of the ordinance has not been significantly delayed.
“This schedule has been in place for quite a while now, and we’re set to vote on Sept. 5,” he said.
Castro also addressed Chan’s remarks, saying they illuminate a “level of bias and ignorance that’s astonishing,” and that he hopes she will support the ordinance.
Alva, a San Antonio native, said he also believes the travel alert is misguided.
“A lot of people all over the country will just shrug their shoulders. They’ll come to San Antonio and see the Alamo,” said Alva, who lost his leg when he was wounded in 2003.
San Antonio is the number one leisure destination in Texas, according to the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The bill’s sponsor, Texas Republican State Senator Lois Kolkhorst provided details of the bill, as protestors’ booing grew louder, causing her to momentarily pause before ignoring them.
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