WATCH: CW33’s Gay Agenda

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In this week’s installment, Doug Magditch reports on Germany’s new third gender for birth certificates, a video of an anti-trans hate crime in Russia that went viral and the media firestorm surrounding San Antonio Councilwoman Elisa Chan’s anti-gay comments.

Watch it below.

—  Anna Waugh

San Antonio councilwoman says anti-gay comments were ‘personal opinions’

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San Antonio Councilwoman Elisa Chan

A San Antonio city councilwoman was unapologetic this week in her explanation of recorded homophobic comments she made that were released by a staff member last week.

In response, GetEQUAL TX has issued a travel advisory for the city.

According to KENS 5, Elisa Chan made this statement about her recorded comments that gays were disgusting and that same-sex couples should be banned from adopting children:

“The comments from the staff meeting on May 21st were and are my personal opinions and thoughts as guaranteed to me by the 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is unfortunate that a former member of my D9 Council team betrayed the trust of my staff members and me. I will fight, I will always fight for our freedom of speech, especially in a private setting.”

Her remarks were condemned by Mayor Julian Castro.

“Very discouraging words to hear,”  Castro said. “Councilwoman Chan’s remarks obviously were hurtful and they are ignorant.”

In reaction to the delay in voting on a nondiscrimination ordinance, GetEQUAL TX issued a travel advisory for the city that expires on Sept. 6, the day after the scheduled vote.

“This alert has been issued based on the fact that San Antonio — the 7th largest city in the country — refuses to pass a non-discrimination ordinance that would protect LGBT travelers from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” the organization wrote in a press release.

—  David Taffet

Attendance swells at Pride across U.S., including Houston, San Antonio

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Organizers said the San Antonio Pride Parade was the biggest in its 10-year history. More than 400,000 turned out for Houston Pride.

The Pride Bigger than Texas festival in San Antonio attracted about 5,000 people. That was followed by the parade on Main Avenue with more than 15,000 lining the street.

The large crowds for Pride parades around the country celebrated the Prop 8 and Defense of Marriage Act victories in the Supreme Court last week.

In New York, home of the first Pride parade 44 years ago, 2 million people typically turn out for the event. This year, the city estimated 3 million celebrated in the wake of the victories. Edie Windsor, plaintiff in the case that struck down DOMA, was grand marshal.

“I love it obviously,” she said. “If someone had told me 50 years ago that I would be the marshal of New York City gay Pride parade in 2013 at the age of 84, I never would have believed it.”

In California, same-sex marriage resumed on Friday. Later, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the DOMA opinion, turned down a request by the plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case to delay the beginning of marriage equality while they file a petition for rehearing by the high court.

San Francisco’s Pride parade, which usually draws 1 million, attracted a few hundred thousand more participants this year.

Among those participating in the parade were House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Marriage equality passed in Delaware earlier this year and the state began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples today.

—  David Taffet

San Antonio delays LGBT protections

Julian Castro

Mayor Julian Castro

Evangelical protesters and LGBT equality advocates clashed at San Antonio City Hall this week, and a proposal to add sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status to the city’s nondiscrimination policy was delayed in committee.

According to a Human Rights Campaign field organizer who has been in the city since January working on the ordinance, the protesters thought the city was debating same-sex marriage.

Mayor Julian Castro said San Antonio is lagging behind Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin, which already have LGBT protections.

“I believe that we cannot have second-class citizens in this city,” Castro said. “If you are for this ordinance you are against discrimination. If you are against this ordinance you are for discrimination.”

“The question is, do we believe that people should reserve the legal right to discriminate against them for being who they are?” Councilmember Diego Bernal said. “And I think for the most part, we all agree that the answer is no.”

The committee voted unanimously to have the city attorney draft the changes to the city ordinance and send the proposal to the full council for discussion, QSanAntonio reported. The changes would cover public accommodations, fair housing, city employment, city contracts and appointments to city boards and commissions.

Councilman Dan Medina, who is an evangelical Christian and has voted against LGBT proposals in the past, wanted the proposal to remain in committee another month. He is in a runoff with a candidate who supports the proposal.

—  David Taffet

San Antonio religious leaders threaten lawsuits to end city’s DP benefits

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Philip Sevilla

Two religious leaders are threatening lawsuits if the city doesn’t stop offering domestic partner benefits in light of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s advisory opinion saying they violate the state Constitution.

Pastor Gerald Ripley of Voices for Marriage and Philip Sevilla of Texas Leadership Coalition addressed the San Antonio City Council Wednesday, threatening lawsuits in order to stop the benefits from being offered if the city doesn’t end them by June 30, the San Antonio Express-News reports.

“Lawsuits will be filed if necessary,” Ripley said.

“We cannot allow this in San Antonio. We are not San Francisco,” Sevilla said.

City attorney Mike Bernard told the newspaper the city won’t change its policy until the U.S. Supreme Court rules in two key marriage equality cases.

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro has supported the benefits and said last month Abbott’s opinion to take away the benefits would hold Texas back.

Meanwhile, Fort Worth officials aren’t changing anything to the city’s DP benefits program because of Abbott’s opinion, according to an employee newsletter sent out yesterday.

—  Anna Waugh

San Antonio man beaten unconscious in apparent anti-gay hate crime

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From left, Aurelio Huerta-Gonzalez, Filiberto Huerta-Gonzalez and Juan Huerta-Gonzalez.

San Antonio police arrested three brothers over the weekend for the brutal beating of their gay neighbor.

Juan Huerta-Gonzalez, 35, Aurelio Huerta-Gonzalez, 33, and Filiberto Huerta-Gonzalez, 30, allegedly beat their neighbor, 48, while he was doing laundry at their apartment complex, San Antonio’s KENS-5 reports.

The victim told police one of the three men called him a derogatory name in Spanish before one of them punched him in the face. The others then allegedly held him down, beating him until he was unconscious. He then called police when he woke up.

Aurelio Huerta-Gonzalez allegedly told officers that he didn’t like the victim looking at them all the time and calling him and his brothers “baby” and “sweet thing” all the time. He also said a fourth man punched the victim first because of the way he was looking at him and the brothers pulled the man off of him.

But the victim was only able to identify the three brothers and not the other man.

The men were charged with assault and police are investigating it as a hate crime.

—  Anna Waugh

Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio withholds endorsement of Julian Castro

Mayor Julian Castro

Mayor Julian Castro

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.”

—  David Taffet

Activists plaster windows of Chick-fil-A with pro-equality signs in San Antonio

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Activists in San Antonio plastered the windows of a local Chik-fil-A with pro marriage equality signs last night. Watch video from KENS 5 below.

—  John Wright

San Antonio student fights to get photo of her and girlfriend back in yearbook

This photo of Felicia Rivera, right, and her girlfriend, Lialani Hernandez, was removed from a San Antonio yearbook.

This photo of Felicia Rivera, right, and her girlfriend, Lialani Hernandez, was removed from a San Antonio yearbook.

A 16-year-old San Antonio student is petitioning Brennan High School to allow a photo of her and her girlfriend to be printed in the school’s 2013 yearbook.

The picture, above, depicts Felicia Rivera holding her girlfriend at school. The photo was selected to run on the Valentine’s Day page but the yearbook adviser removed the image from the page after she found out it was two girls.

The couple has been dating for a year and Rivera has gathered more than 200 student signatures to have the photo placed back on the yearbook page.

“You shouldn’t be discriminated against just because you’re gay,” she told KENS 5. “You shouldn’t worry about people bashing you or talking behind your back just for you to be you.”

Pascual Gonzalez, director of public information for the school district, said the photo wasn’t like other photos selected for the page where students were looking directly at the camera and was “too intimate” and  “a little bit too much, exaggerated public display of affection.” The student handbook prohibits public displays of affection on campus.

But Rivera’s father isn’t buying the school’s reasoning behind pulling the photo after it’d already been placed and approved, until the two girls were identified.

“They were fine with it until they realized it was girl-girl,” Felix Rivera said. “It got placed, it got set and it was going to print and then it got pulled.”

Even if the photo isn’t put back in the yearbook, Rivera said the experience has made her want to start a Gay-Straight Alliance on the campus to prevent further discrimination from occurring.

Watch KENS 5’s report below.

—  Anna Waugh

Male instructor accused of sexually abusing 2 male recruits at Lackland

The list of victims in a yearlong sex-abuse scandal at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio now includes three men.

The San Antonio Express-News reports that a male instructor at Lackland is accused of abusive sexual contact with two men in boot camp, while a female instructor is accused of having consensual sex with a male student. Abusive sexual contact involves incidents in which the perpetrator is accused of touching parts of a person’s body for sexual gratification. The male instructor faces up to 14 years in prison.

Until now, all 56 victims in the Lackland scandal had been women. The latest report brings the total number of victims to 59 and the number of instructors under investigation to 32, with six already found guilty of misconduct. Lackland is home to all Air Force basic training, and the scandal has drawn national attention to the issue of military sexual assault. Congress will hold a hearing on the scandal next week.

“We’re not at all surprised that the investigation has turned up male victims. Sexual assault in the military affects men as well as women,” said Greg Jacob, policy director for Service Women‘s Action Network, told the Express-News. “The VA reports that 40 percent of all veterans seeking care for sexual trauma are men. Because of the hostile climate in the military, sexual assaults are underreported to begin with, and among men under reporting is even more widespread than it is for women.”

Read the full story here.

—  John Wright