With the confirmation as Housing Secretary seemingly in the bag for San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, the process of naming an interim Mayor has begun. Not too surprisingly, there’s some conflict about this, though the issue at the root of the conflict may not be what you expected.
City Council is set to approve Thursday a procedure to select a replacement for Mayor Julián Castro as pressure is building against the appointment of Councilwoman Ivy Taylor, the perceived front-runner for the interim seat.
A Taylor administration would be historic. If appointed, the councilwoman would be the first black person to hold the city’s highest office.
But she’s the lone member of the existing council to have voted against last year’s controversial expansion of the nondiscrimination ordinance, which added protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The prospect of a Taylor appointment is provoking concern in San Antonio’s LGBT community.
“I don’t think she’s representative of this entire city. She doesn’t support equality for LGBT people, and it’s very bothersome,” activist Daniel Graney said. “I don’t think she should spend one day in the mayor’s office because of it.”
Taylor joined then-council members Carlton Soules and Elisa Chan — who had infamously called gays “disgusting” during a secretly recorded private staff meeting — in dissenting votes.
At the time, Taylor said the vitriolic discourse from nondiscrimination ordinance opponents made her “cringe” but was also unhappy that supporters painted “anyone with religious objections as bigots hiding behind religion.”
Graney said the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community would likely reach out to council members and ask them to consider appointing Councilman Ray Lopez, who voted in favor of the ordinance in September.
Taylor said in an interview Friday that if she were appointed mayor, she would uphold the bolstered nondiscrimination ordinance and wouldn’t work to undo it.
“That ordinance passed, and it is the law of the land, and I don’t have an issue with upholding the law of the land,” she said. “We have other pressing issues. By no means would I be interested in reassessing that.”
It’s fine by me that Dan Graney and the LGBT community are pushing back on the possible elevation of CM Taylor, who had the chance to do the right thing last year but chose instead to stand in the way. Advocates of San Antonio’s non-discrimination ordinance worked with religious leaders to address their concerns. If CM Taylor was more unhappy with the rhetoric of some NDO supporters than she was with the vitriol of its opponents, that says something unflattering about her. It’s nice of her to pledge to uphold the law if she’s elevated to the Mayor’s office, but boy howdy is that a low bar to clear. I hope San Antonio City Council members give a lot of consideration to other alternatives. Lone Star Q has more.