District 9 Councilwoman Elisa Chan -- whose controversial opinions on homosexuality were made public in a leaked recording from a former staffer -- addressed those comments and the recording at a news conference Tuesday morning.
"I know many people find the comments made in the meeting offensive," Chan told reporters and supporters. "But it was a confidential meeting said in the privacy of my office where none of us are supposed to worry about what we say."
Until Tuesday, Chan had not commented publicly on the recording, in which she is heard using the words "disgusting" and "crazy" while discussing homosexuality and the city’s updates to its nondiscrimination policy, which adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories.
Chan said she doesn't oppose the policy because she hasn't seen a final draft of the proposal.
"Even though the LGBT community and I do not share the same views, I respect and support their personal freedoms and right to their lifestyle," she said. "I will, however, not change my own values or beliefs for political gain or survival.
"I think the question, the reason why we're here today, is ... (we) are entitled to own personal views and opinions even though we may or may not agree with each other. My beliefs, my views, are mine. I do not oppose that. I do not impose that on anyone else. I'm not asking anybody to agree with me, so my question is, does all this pressure for me to agree, I simply don't understand."
The taped recording was made public Friday morning in a published report by San Antonio Express-News staffer Brian Chasnoff.
"Many of the comments made in the newspaper were taken out of context," Chan said.
Chasnoff reported a former aide, James Stevens, secretly recorded Chan's comments on May 21 during meetings with her staff to discuss the proposal.
Chan said she's puzzled as to why Stevens made the recording.
"I believe everybody has fundamentally good hearts. And that's the reason why I still don't understand what Mr. James Stevens did," she said.
San Antonio residents weigh in on controversy
Despite the councilwoman’s press conference, San Antonio residents say she still needs to explain her position on homosexuality as it relates to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance.
“I think she needs to explain herself more and apologize to the whole city and everybody that’s involved with it,” said Diane Kimball. ”I think if your views are coming out like that then you're not open minded enough to everything that everybody needs.”
Others are standing behind the embattled city leader.
“What she says behind (closed doors) she should come out and say the truth (in public),” said a woman named Lupe. “We will never please (all) people, and if she tells a lie she's encouraging these disordered people, and they are disordered.
Michael Jackson simply encouraged Chan to watch what she says at all times.
“This is a very diverse country. Everybody lives here from all over the world so you really have to be careful about what you say and especially about any groups you kind of single out,” he said.
Chan pulls Facebook account
Citing "pornographic images and racist comments," Chan temporarily suspended her Facebook page. She said, "When comments and images cross the line, and are offensive to my constituents, I feel it is my responsibility to temporarily shut the page down."
You can read the full statement about her decision here.