North side Councilwoman Elisa Chan said today that her views on homosexuality are her own and based on her life experience. And the councilwoman said she doesn't not try to enforce her views on others, and she asked why others are criticizing her for expressing her opinion.
"Even though we may or may not agree with each other, my beliefs, my views, are mine," she said. "I do not impose that on anybody else, and I am not asking anybody to agree with me."
She added: "Even though the LGBT community and I do not share the same views, I support their personal freedom and their right to their lifestyle."
Chan met with reporters and several dozen supporters at a hastily called news conference in the City Hall briefing room. Chan's office was so concerned that the event would be disrupted by hecklers and agitators that they only released the time and location of the news conference to the media twenty minutes before the event started.
It is Chan's first public comments since the San Antonio Express-News released secretly recorded comments she made to her staff members in her City Hall office in May in which she expressed opposition to the gay and lesbian non discrimination ordinance now under consideration by city council.
One of the most controversial comments she is heard making on the secretly recorded tape is claiming that finds homosexuality 'disgusting.' Chan said today that comment was 'taken out of context.' She said she was referring to 'pedophilia' and 'bestiality' at the time, not homosexuality. Chan hinted that the tape may have been 'edited' before it was released Friday by the San Antonio Express-News
"My question is, does all this pressure for me to agree, I simply don't understand," Chan said, as her supporters applauded.
"Do you, do I, do anyone else be entitled to our own personal opinions," she asked.
The comments follow Chan's written statement yesterday in which she said she would continue to fight for her First Amendment rights to speak out on the issues.
Chan, who is a native of Taiwan, says 'her value system' led her to feel the way she does about homosexuality and other issues.
"It is important for me to emphasize that I like everybody, I believe everybody has fundamentally good hearts," she said. "That is why I fundamentally don't understand what Mr. James Stevens did."
Stevens is the former Chan staffer who secretly released the audio recording. Chan said, interestingly, after the meeting, Stevens asked to become a full time employee. She asked why somebody who allegedly found her comments so repellant would want to work for her full time.
Chan also said she feels she has 'good support' from her council district, which is the most conservative in the city.
After taking two questions, Chan abruptly ended the news conference and walked out of the room, to loud applause from two dozen supporters who were invited to be in the room.