San Antonio Mayor Ivy R. Taylor issued a press release at 5:30 p.m. on April 22 in which she apologizes to members of her LGBT advisory committee for statements she’s made disparaging the city’s newly revised nondiscrimination ordinance. However, the mayor’s apology has garnered little sympathy from activists in the LGBT community.
On April 21, Taylor met with the committee to tell them that her plans to appoint a human relations liaison who would handle complaints made under the NDO and head up a proposed Department of Diversity and Inclusion were moving forward. However, she did not give the committee a time frame for completion, saying she would issue a statement later in the week.
In her press release, the mayor says she has received “insults, abuse and even threats.” She adds that she prays the path she has chosen “will not lead me away from God and His service.”
There was little sympathy for the mayor’s plight in posts on Facebook by local LGBT activists. Only Marsha Warren, a member of the mayor’s LGBT advisory committee, seemed to have positive words about the apology. CAUSA called the mayor’s words a “step in the right direction.”
This sampling of posts shows how some in the community reacted.
Dan Graney (Former CAUSA co-chair and political activist) “Encouraging but it comes across as damage control more than a genuine change of heart. Unless and until Mayor Taylor issues an apology for her “no” vote on the NDO in 2013, she will not have experienced true transformation.”
Janet Burrage Grisby (Winner of the Human Rights Campaign Chuck Jordan Award and local activist) “This is nothing but political cover. Now’s the time to push hard on implementation [of the NDO].”
Darrell Garcia Parsons (Board member of Fiesta Youth) “I think that this so-called Democrat tried to swing so far right to win North Side votes that she or her advisers realize she has made a wrong turn. I don’t think she cares about the LGBT community and I don’t think she cares about her previous statements. She already knew that she lost the LGBT vote a long time ago. I think now she is seeing that she is losing a broader base of voters, who find her insensitivity as deplorable.”
CAUSA (Community Alliance for a United San Antonio) “Finally, in the cause of fairness, equality, and inclusion San Antonio’s Interim Mayor Ivy Taylor has taken a step in the right direction.”
Ted Switzer (Former publisher of The Marquise, a San Antonio LGBT magazine from the 1990’s) “Mayor Taylor did not apologize for her vote against non-discrimination. Nor did she apologize for insulting her LGBT constituent’s by her stand against equality. She apologized, instead, for her criticism of her fellow city council persons’ attempts at implementation of the NDO . . . Don’t be charmed by her piousness. Listen to what she says about equality under the law and what she actually does.”
Marsha Warren (Local activist and member of the mayor’s LGBT advisory committee) “This is a woman of courage. Thank you Mayor for leading by example. As people of faith we know as it is stated in Micah 6:8 “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” This is a journey I am willing to work with you and all of San Antonio for the betterment of all its citizens.”
Following is the text of the mayor’s April 22 announcement.
During a meeting with my LGBT advisory committee I came to a new understanding about recent comments I made. I criticized the elected officials involved in promoting the NDO regarding their lack of focus on implementation. My advisory committee alerted me that grassroots activists and community organizers involved in the passage of the ordinance thought I was referring to them. I was not. I appreciate the efforts and involvement of engaged citizens no matter what the cause.
Without informed citizens, democracy is an empty promise rather than a living process. You make us a government for the people and by the people. When you sign a petition or speak at City Hall, you are the voice of the American dream — the idea that all of us are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. It was never my intent to insult or demean you, and I am sorry for the pain and confusion my words have caused.
To my advisory committee members Marsha Warren, Ruby Krebs and Robert Salcido, I hope that you will accept my apology. You are models for every resident of San Antonio. You are passionate about your causes, but you are unfailingly courteous and professional in your approach, even to those like myself who sometimes disagree with you. During our meeting yesterday, I felt myself to be among friends who are working toward a common cause, which is the idea that every person should be valued as an individual and as a resource for our community. As we discussed, this feeling is in stark contrast to the insults, abuse and even threats that you and I have suffered as a result of who we are and what we believe in. There is no place for this kind of hatred as we take up the work at hand, the work of building a community that offers opportunity for each of us to live freely, to learn and grow and prosper together.
Each day I pray that the path I have chosen will not lead me away from God and His service. As David prays in Psalm 51, ‘Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.’ (51:10) If you too are working for a better future with a steadfast spirit, I hope that we can work together.