In a written statement released Monday, District 9 Councilwoman Elisa Chan was unapologetic about the controversial comments she made during a secretly recorded staff meeting in May.
“The comments from the staff meeting on May 21st were and are my personal opinions and thoughts as guaranteed to me by the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” the statement read. “It is unfortunate that a former member of my D9 Council team betrayed the trust of my staff members and me. I will fight, I will always fight for our freedom of speech especially in a private setting.”
During the staff meeting, the councilwoman used the words “disgusting” and “crazy” when discussing homosexuality with her staff.
The group’s conversation centered around the city’s updates to its nondiscrimination policy, which adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories.
Chan’s comments have widened the split between supporters and opponents of the ordinance.
“I was expecting some kind of an apology,” said Jamie Poindexter, of Pride San Antonio. “Instead of coming together and having some type of common ground it seems like she kind of drew a line in the sand and just kind of is standing behind her First Amendment rights.”
“She shouldn’t have to apologize. To go behind her back, that’s kind of wrong,” said Oscar Ramos. ”She does have the freedom of speech.”
Opponents of the ordinance say adding gender identity and sexual orientation to the list of protected categories is giving people in the LGBT community special rights.
“We shouldn’t have to create another set of laws and put them in a different class. They're already protected,” said Martha Matthews.
Others say the ordinance is about fairness and equality.
“They should be able to live the way that they want,” Sonja Holmes said. “I don’t see why we're still having (the argument)."
Despite the uproar, District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor says the city will vote on the ordinance.
“I haven't talked with all of my colleagues, but from what I gather, there seems to be support for the ordinance," Taylor said.
Chan was out of town when the contents of the recording were published.
She’s expected to return to San Antonio during the early part of the week and will hold a press conference.