A small group with the River City Tea Party Patriots gathered outside City Hall Friday morning to protest a proposed city ordinance that they claim would ban Christians or anyone with anti-gay views from running for city council or obtaining a contract with city government.
“This one right here is just strictly going after the Christians and people that have the anti-gay views,” said Brandon Burkhardt, the group’s president. “People have the choice to vote them in or not vote them in. The people make the choice, not city council.”
But District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal, who proposed the ordinance, says the group may be misguided.
According to Bernal, anyone can run for city council -- no matter their views or religious beliefs -- and any business that contracts with the city can hold any view it chooses.
However, that business cannot engage in discrimination, Bernal says.
Earlier in the week, Mayor Julian Castro said the controversy could center around confusion.
"San Antonio is the last big city to actually enact a non-discrimination ordinance like this and there's a lot of misinformation out there about what's actually contained in it,” Castro said. “So I hope that folks will actually wait for the final draft on the proposal before they make a judgment on it."
But the River City Tea Party Patriots says it will hold strong to make sure their views aren't discriminated against, either.
"Everybody should have the chance to run for city council, nobody should be excluded,” Burkhardt said “Nobody should be discriminated against, no one."
Prior to Friday’s demonstration, Bernal removed language from the proposed ordinance that pertains to prohibiting anyone from being appointed to a city position if the city council deems they demonstrated bias in the past or engaged in discrimination.
The councilman says that portion of the ordinance seemed to cause confusion.
In a press release Friday afternoon, the River City Tea Party Patriots "declared victory” over the removal of that portion.
However, Bernal says that section was redundant because the city council already has that power. He adds that the proposed ordinance would be an update to add the LGBT community to the policy the city currently has in place.
The city council could vote on the measure later this month or in early September.