Between the angry rants directed at Councilwoman Elisa Chan to the refusal of sponsors at City Hall to rewrite the gay and lesbian anti discrimination proposal to include 'common sense' protections for religious freedom, many observers say the supporters of the proposal are starting to become the biggest obstacle to the bills' passage, and hint supporters are doing long term damage to the cause of gay, lesbian, and transgender equality, people on both side of the issue tell 1200 WOAI news.
Robert Wilson, an attorney who works with the Alliance Defending Freedom, says the 'over the top' response of backers of the ordinance to Chan's secretly recorded comments is a perfect demonstration of why opposition to the ordinance is growing.
"The Mayor calls her homophobic and some in the LBGT community trumpet that her private views on homosexual behavior and gender identity are grounds for ridicule, calling her names, and demanding her resignation, even if those views have not affected her ability to serve those in her district," Wilson said. "If this ordinance passes, name calling will be replaced by a fine, a lawsuit, a loss of a city contract or removal from city government."
Many of the comments made in blogs, media comment sections, and in interviewers toward Chan were hateful, indicating that she doesn't have the right to express those views. Castro called Chan's comments 'hurtful and ignorant,' even though they were essentially identical to the views expressed on the issue by President Obama two years ago before converting to becoming a gay marriage supporter, mainly that gays should not marry.
"The reaction of the Mayor and some in the LGBT community to Councilwoman Chan's comments reveal the truth about their motivation in the pursuit of the changes to the discrimination ordinance," Wilson said. "This ordinance is not about equality, but instead is about silencing and punishing those with an opposing view of homosexuality and gender identity."
Wilson, as well as Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller and evangelical Pastor John Hagee all also cited the refusal of Castro and Councilman Diego Bernal, the chief sponsor of the proposal, to include 'common sense' language protecting the 'religious liberty' of businesses and individuals. Indeed, both Hagee and Garcia-Siller expressed support for the goals of the ordinance, indicating they could be backers of a revised measure, but said they could not support an intransigent City Council which refuses to add protections for Christians and Muslims who sincerely believe that homosexuality is morally wrong.
Wilson said comments made by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black fifty years ago remain relevant today.
"Our First Amendment rights are not dependent on the current political winds that are blowing in our society."