SAN ANTONIO -

Hundreds of religious protestors gathered on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday asking city leaders to vote no on the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance.

The ordinance would add gender identity, sexual orientation, and veteran status to the list of categories protected by the ordinance.

Protesters argue that the changes violate their rights to religious liberty and freedom.

“We are again going to be discriminated by a local ordinance that does not allow us to freely exercise our Christian faith,” said Marcus Burgos, of the Abundant Life Church.

“This is not about being against someone, ladies and gentleman, this is about being for something,” said Father Chip Harper, of the All Saints Anglican Church. “It’s about the Christian conscience.”

The ordinance includes several exemptions for religious organizations and businesses, but some believe those exemptions are vague and will force people of faith to compromise their beliefs in order to comply with the law.

Pastor Charles Flowers, of Faith Outreach International, made an emotional plea to councilmembers.

“We honor your office and we honor you,” Flowers said. “We ask you to honor liberty, honor freedom, and honor the principal that this nation was founded upon and vote no.”

But some in the audience said the law is simply about fairness, and don’t believe religious views will be compromised.

More than 50 religious leaders in San Antonio have publicly supported the ordinance.

“They should realize (that) in John 3:16, (the Bible states,) ‘God so loved the world,’” said Annette Anderson, a bisexual Christian. “That included everybody and so if (God) doesn’t discriminate, why should anyone have the right to discriminate?"

Many protestors believe homosexuality is a choice, unlike other protected categories, like race, age, and gender, and therefore the city should not make specific laws based on a group of people who choose to live a certain way.

Anderson said that is flawed logic.

“If they’re going to make a big deal about putting this ... ordinance update down, because it is a choice people are homosexual, well, the ordinance also protects religion (and) religion definitely is a choice," Anderson said.

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