Opponents of San Antonio’s nondiscrimination ordinance spread the word at churches and parks about their petition drive to place the policy on a citywide ballot.
A few hours before Tuesday’s deadline, they informed city officials that effort had fallen short.
Pastor Gerald Ripley, a petition leader, estimated the group collected about 20,000 signatures, well below the required 61,046, or 10 percent of eligible voters.
The group had 40 days from the Sept 5 Council vote to adopt the NDO.
Apart from Cornerstone Church, few large religious groups joined the effort. Several of the city’s biggest evangelical megachurches and the Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio sat it out.
The archdiocese raised its concerns in a respectful dialogue before the Council vote, archdiocesan officials said. They added that petition leaders did not distinguish well at first that the repeal effort was separate from recall drives against council members who voted for the NDO.
The archdiocese would have legal reservations about mixing the two, said Pat Rodgers, archdiocesan spokesman, citing nonprofit law banning churches from partisan candidate campaigns.
See here and here for the background. I’m glad to see this, of course, and just a little relieved because the Tuesday morning story said that the repeal backers were “preparing to submit” a petition, which sure made it sound like a closer deal than it was. Our super-litigious Attorney General will not be filing suit against the ordinance, so modulo the efforts of the recall petitioners, this matter is settled for now. Recall or not, there will be future elections, and as noted in my second link above, one reason why the NDO passed is because of favorable outcomes in two SA City Council elections this past May. So let’s not rest too easy. And let’s get cracking on a more comprehensive NDO for Houston.