Photo Courtesy of Hannah Beck
Repealitsa.com is a website created to repeal the Non Discrimination Ordinance that the City Council of San Antonio passed by an 8 to 3 margin on Sept. 5, 2013. According to the Website, they have until Oct. 15 to gather signatures from ten percent of the population in order to force the City Council to repeal the ordinance, or else put the repeal to a vote of the people of San Antonio.
The Ordinance brought together all the Non Discrimination Ordinances into Chapter 2 of the city code under Article 10 “Non-Discrimination Policies.” It also added to the already existing ordinances by expanding it to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status.
The City’s official website states that the Ordinance, “does not add any new employment regulations on businesses operating within the city that do not contract with the City of San Antonio, does not require any business to provide domestic partner benefits to their employees, does not establish a Human Relations Commission or require adding any personnel, has no impact on the City’s budget, does not amend the City’s charter and does not change any bathroom, dressing room or locker room policies currently in place.
Repealit.com sees the ordinance as discriminatory towards certain people’s religious beliefs and convictions. Their main example is that’ “If a transgender individual now wants to use the bathroom or locker room of the opposite sex, and you as a business owner stop them to protect the rights and privacy of other clients, they could file a complaint against your business.”
They also cite references to problems with these ordinances in other cities explaining that business owners are being heavily fined or jailed for denying people business based on religious convictions.
MOVE San Antonio, an organization created to raise awareness about local and national politics, has joined GLBTQ at UTSA, and NOW UTSA to counter protest the groups collecting petitions. Hannah Beck, a Co-Founder of MOVE San Antonio explained the scene, “Our signs said things like, ‘these people are lying or misinformed’ ‘save our students – tolerance, not fear’ and ‘honk if you support equality’. We stood outside for hours counter protesting.”
When asked why they were protesting she explained, “We’re opposed to their movement because the ordinance is a solid move toward progressive workplace protections for our city. The people collecting signatures are spreading misinformation through inflamed language. Their signs say things like ‘don’t make my sister share her bathroom with boys!’ – but the ordinance wouldn’t make that law. Their petition says that the Councilors in favor of the NDO voted ‘against the people’ – but a majority of people are in favor of equal opportunity protections. They are using emotional appeals and scare tactics to gather signatures, and it’s despicable.”