2015 in Review: Top ten local news stories

Leticia Van De Putte and Mike Villarreal wanted to be mayor but it wasn't in the cards. David Ewell was fired from his job at the San Antonio AIDS Foundation. Kiran Bains was hired to run the city's Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Nickie Valdez and Deb Myers at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd with their marriage license.

1) San Antonio celebrates marriage equality
There was joyous celebration in the Alamo City on June 26, the day the Supreme Court made marriage equality a reality. There were church nuptuals and downtown wedding parties jammed the halls of the Bexar County Courthouse. There was a rally in Main Plaza and a block party on the Main Avenue Strip all echoing observances across the US on that day.

2) Thrive Youth Center opens at Haven for Hope
Efforts aimed at finding a space for the Thrive Youth Center for homeless LGBT youth came to fruition thanks to a partnership with Haven for Hope, the city’s homeless services campus.

3) Taylor elected mayor
Ivy R. Taylor was elected mayor with a coalition that included North Side conservatives, anti-gay Christian groups and East Siders. The big losers in this election were most notably former State Senator Leticia Van de Putte who, fresh off a loss in the race for lieutenant governor, ran against Taylor in the general election, and former State Rep. Mike Villarreal who lost to Van De Putte and Taylor in the primary.

4) Diversity and Inclusion office opens
At the direction of the mayor and in collaboration with her LGBT advisory committee, the city manager’s office established the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and hired Kiran Bains to head-up the new department.

5) SAAF board fires executive director
The board of directors of the San Antonio AIDS Foundation, under the leadership of President Anne Marie Simmons, fired Executive Director David Ewell. The termination was effective on April 20. Ewell’s firing created a backlash, especially after Interim Executive Director Jack Downey’s leadership proved unpopular with some employees, clients and SAAF supporters. Cynthia Nelson of Houston has been hired to replace Ewell.

6) SA sees slight drop in HIV infections
Rrecent statistics from the Texas Department of State Health Services show a slight drop in HIV infections in Bexar County. In 2014, the latest year for which statistics are available, there were 329 new cases of HIV infections reported in Bexar County. That is down from 375 new cases reported in 2013.

7) SAISD offers plus-one insurance for employees with domestic partners
The San Antonio Independent School District instituted plus-one insurance benefits permitting employees in same-sex relationships and unmarried couples to insure their partners or spouses.

8) Robert Pitman is invested as federal judge for SA
Former U.S. Attorney Robert Lee Pitman was invested as federal judge for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio on April 17. He is the first openly gay federal district judge from Texas and one of 10 LGBT federal judges in the U.S.

9) Study: 4% of SA population is LGBT
A new Gallup study released on March 20 shows the LGBT population of greater San Antonio is 4 percent. That number falls somewhere in the middle with San Francisco coming in the highest at 6.2 percent and Birmingham, Alabama the lowest at 2.6 percent.

10) First Presbyterian leaves denomination over marriage equality
The First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio voted to disaffiliate itself from the Presbyterian Church over several points of faith, including the definition of marriage.


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