Opponents of San Antonio's recently
enacted gay-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance have failed in a
bid to force a referendum on the law.
Organizers fell short of gathering the
61,046 valid signatures, or 10% of eligible voters, needed before
Tuesday's deadline to put the issue on the ballot.
Pastor Gerald Ripley, who championed
the petition, estimated that opponents had collected roughly
one-third of the required signatures.
Ripley blamed city rules which allow 40
days to collect the signatures for the loss.
“We were gaining momentum,” Riley
told the San
Antonio Express-News. “It would have been very
interesting. This was the option open to us. There were people
still finding out about this [on Tuesday] and new groups coming in.”
The San Antonio City Council approved
the measure on September 5 with an overwhelming 8-3 vote.
The debate in San Antonio drew national
attention as big-name Republicans weighed in against the measure,
including Attorney General Greg Abbott and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
Opponents argued that it would have a chilling effect on religious
The debate boiled over after a secretly
recorded tape surface in which Councilwoman Elisa Chan is heard
calling gays “disgusting” and arguing that they are not fit to
parent. She faced pressure to resign but instead defended her
comments and voted against the ordinance.
Chan defends saying gays are “disgusting.”)
San Antonio joins nearly 180 cities
nationwide with similar ordinances, including Dallas, Houston, Fort
Worth, Austin and El Paso.