Washington Times columnist Ken Allard claimed that a proposal to expand San Antonio's non-discrimination ordinance to protect LGBT individuals poses a dire threat to "our basic civil liberties" and repeated the long-debunked myth - peddled previously by the Times - that the ordinance would ban Christians from city office.
In an August 27 column titled "Living the gay life in San Antonio," Allard asserted that the ordinance would pave the path for the arrival of "the new thought police":
Major provisions of the ordinance outlaw discrimination on the basis of "race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age or disability" (excluding, of course, the unborn). Gender identities are redefined to protect "appearance, expression or behavior regardless of an individual's assigned sex at birth." (Bradley "Chelsea" Manning would feel right at home). Appointed officials and members of city commissions can be dismissed for malfeasance if they offend the new protected classes by "discrimination or bias, by word or deed." Best of all: The city's new equal-employment division will become the new thought police, enforcing the whole she-bang (is that term still legal?)
Because the Bible contains some tough teachings about sexual transgression, religious leaders were quick to see the ordinance as a divisive and even deliberately anti-religious measure. Once the ordinance is in place, could an avowed Christian even serve on the City Council? Would the "Christian" designation henceforth be limited only to those churches ordaining homosexual ministers? Who knew? [emphasis added]
Allard's attack on the ordinance is a remarkable exercise in intellectual dishonesty. As City Councilman Diego Bernal noted, the ordinance doesn't impose any new restrictions on what city officials may say or do in office. The council's discretionary appointment power exists with or without the ordinance, which merely affirms that professional animus toward LGBT people could be grounds for removal from city office.
Moreover, even right-wing Pastor John Hagee, who had been among the most vocal opponents of the ordinance, now admits that fears about restrictions on free speech are overblown given that language pertaining to prior bias or discrimination has been removed from the ordinance.
Time and time again, right-wing media figures have falsely suggested that the ordinance constitutes an act of "reverse discrimination" against conservative Christians, despite the complete baselessness of such claims. With even Hagee now undermining those arguments, it's becoming exceedingly difficult to deny that opposition to the ordinance is based on nothing more than animus toward LGBT people.