Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio did not endorse Mayor Julian Castro in his re-election bid.
Castro signed a Freedom to Marry pledge last year along with mayors from Austin, Houston and several San Antonio suburbs. In his keynote speech at the Democratic Convention, he said gays and lesbians have a right to marriage equality. And he was the first mayor of his city to march in a Pride parade, serving as grand marshal.
But when Stonewall sent him a questionnaire this year, the mayor refused to sign it. According to the San Antonio Express News, Castro just doesn’t like these type of surveys.
“First, I don’t like those surveys, the ones that say, ‘Yes or no,’” Castro told the newspaper. “They don’t need to read a survey. They just need to read my record.”
But Castro has filled out these surveys for the organization before.
Dan Graney, president of Stonewall San Antonio, said filling out the questionnaire is a threshold requirement for endorsement. He said the group received questionnaires from 25 of 31 candidates on the ballot and many did not answer yes or no, but explained they didn’t know the economic impact or mentioned other reasons they might support a position but couldn’t pledge a vote.
Graney said he’d been in touch with the mayor’s campaign, which assured him they wanted the endorsement and the questionnaire would be returned. When it wasn’t received in time for the group’s endorsement meeting, he reached out again and was told it was an oversight and they’d get it in.
Stonewall left the door open for an endorsement until the next meeting, but nothing ever came from the campaign.
Graney reached out to Adam Greenup, the mayor’s LGBT liaison, who can’t speak for the campaign since he’s a paid city staffer. Greenup said he’d be in touch, but never got back to the group.
Graney said after San Antonio got a rating of 48 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, Castro saw an opportunity to add 5 points by appointing a liaison.
“He’s not done any outreach to the community,” Graney said. “He has no history with the community.”
Graney said the field of six candidates running against Castro is extremely weak.
“It’s not strong enough to force a runoff,” Graney said.
But he’s comfortable in withholding his group’s endorsement.
“One of our jobs is to hold them accountable,” he said. “The feeling is since the mayor has been skyrocketed into the national spotlight, he doesn’t have time for people at home.”
Since then, Castro has endorsed City Councilman David Medina, a vocal opponent of the LGBT community, for re-election. Graney described Medina as an evangelical Christian representing the poorest section of the city. Medina’s five opponents responded to Stonewall and the organization endorsed Shirley Gonzalez in that race.
Texas Stonewall President Eli Olivarez reached out to Castro to speak at the group’s convention in Austin in this weekend. Castro did not respond to Olivarez.