In last week’s Dallas Voice, we reported on the ongoing fight over a proposed nondiscrimination ordinance on which the San Antonio City Council is now expected to vote in September. In our story, reporter Sam Sanchez noted that opponents of the ordinance are falsely alleging it could be used to punish people for their religious beliefs, even though a provision that could have been used to block anti-gay people from being appointed to city boards and commissions had been removed. Today, we’re happy to report that one of the most prominent and vocal opponents of the ordinance, San Antonio megachurch Pastor John Hagee, announced during his sermon on Sunday that he no longer opposes the measure. Hagee’s statements are remarkable given that he is nationally known for his anti-gay teachings. Hagee once blamed Hurricane Katrina on the gays and as recently as January, he called same-sex marriage “two disturbed people playing house.” From the San Antonio Express-News:
He read a statement during his Cornerstone Church‘s two morning worship services Sunday, reflecting confidence in the latest version of the ordinance, which is expected to go before the City Council on Sept. 5. And he claimed credit for a key wording change that ended his opposition to the measure.
At issue was a clause that would have allowed the council to consider whether candidates for city boards and commissions had discriminated against gay and transgender people in “word or deed” — which opponents saw as an invitation to consider their socially conservative views on homosexuality.
The proposal’s author, Councilman Diego Bernal, removed that language July 25.
“All of the previous language that infringed upon the freedom of speech, the freedom of exercise of religion and the ability for people of faith to serve on City Council has been expunged,” Hagee told the Cornerstone audience, prompting a standing ovation at the first Sunday service.
The Express-News goes on to note that other megechurch pastors still oppose the ordinance, but now that Hagee has withdrawn his opposition, perhaps they’ll begin to see the writing on the wall. A Change.org petition calling on council members to support the ordinance has almost 800 signatures. Sign it by going here.