Governor Greg Abbott rolled into San Antonio on February 11 to offer his endorsement of Nunzio Previtera, the Republican anti-LGBT candidate who’s running against Democrat Diego Bernal in the race for Texas House District 123.
The governor spoke to a group of about 150 people who gathered at a local pizzeria off Blanco Road saying, “We don’t need another Nancy Pelosi-type Democrat in Austin, we need Nunzio.”
In the special election on January 6, Bernal came in first with 47 percent of the votes followed by Previtera who tallied about 21 percent in the 6-person race. The eventual winner will replace Rep. Mike Villarreal who stepped down to run for Mayor of San Antonio.
Last January in an interview with Brian Chasnoff of the San Antonio Express-News, Previtera criticized former city councilman Bernal for his authorship of the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance which now includes protections for LGBT citizens.
“What percentage of the population of this town does it affect?” Previtera asked. “It’s not that important of an issue to the people of this district or even the people of Bexar County. … (The LGBT community is) very much a minority.
Previtera applies the same dismissive logic to the rest of his criticism of Bernal on the topic.
“The federal and state laws in America and Texas already provide punishment remedies when citizens abuse other citizens,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Allowing local governments to single out ANY class of citizens for preferential treatment is Discrimination by any definition of the word.”
First Amendment protections of speech and religion are sufficient; the NDO actually violates the Constitution by discriminating against religious beliefs, he said.
Previtera also had choice words about marriage equality. “Marriage is a biblical concept,” he told the Express-News. “Marriage was first talked about in the Bible. And the Bible very specifically said that marriage is between a man and woman. … My study of the Bible gives me very specific views about homosexuality. I don’t believe that God intended that to be the way people act.”
Other endorsements Previtera received have come from the Bexar County chapter of the Christian Coalition of America and the Catholic extremist group the Texas Leadership Institute for Public Policy, both of which are staunchly anti-LGBT.
In their endorsement of Previtera, the Texas Leadership Institute said voters should reject Bernal writing:
In the summer of 2011, the obscene and blasphemous play, Corpus Christi, was showcased in the city-owned San Pedro playhouse located in District 1, an enterprise subsidized by the city. The play portrayed our Lord, Jesus Christ, and His apostles throughout the performance in lewd and prurient ways as active homosexuals. Christian organizations repeatedly presented their complaints before the City Council during the summer of 2011 requesting that the blasphemous play be canceled. Bernal, the Mayor, and the majority of his fellow councilmen refused to take any action.
In the Fall of 2011, Bernal, the Mayor, Julian Castro, and seven other councilmen voted to approve “domestic partner” benefits for city employees with same-sex and unmarried opposite sex partners, a gross affront to married couples and a rebuke to Christian groups who voiced repeated complaints before the City Council.
Bernal refused to respond to questions and concerns from citizens regarding the gay bath house in his district (ACI) on Elmira Street which city health inspectors avoided in spite of the city’s Metropolitan Health District office’s findings that HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases were on the rise in San Antonio primarily in the reckless sexual behavior of the MSM (men having sex with men) population.
Last year, Bernal created a firestorm in the city when he sponsored the special rights city ordinance (euphemistically mislabeled the “San Antonio Non-discrimination ordinance”) protecting homosexuals, transvestites, and transsexuals pitting the city council against local businesses concerned about their religious liberties, a coalition of Christian-based organizations and churches who protested in large numbers at City Council public forums for months. The culmination of the bitter fight resulted in a recall campaign against Bernal which garnered substantial support among residents in his district.
Despite all the noise from his Republican opponent, Bernal is expected to win the election in the heavily Democratic district.
Early voting is underway and continues until February 13. Election day is February 17.