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Pastor Hagee no longer opposes gay ordinance
Television evangelist and pastor John Hagee on Sunday told congregants — and a national and international audience watching live — that he no longer opposes a proposed ordinance that seeks to protect the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people in San Antonio.
He read a statement during his Cornerstone Church’s two morning worship services Sunday, reflecting confidence in the latest version of the ordinance, which is expected to go before the City Council on Sept. 5. And he claimed credit for a key wording change that ended his opposition to the measure.
At issue was a clause that would have allowed the council to consider whether candidates for city boards and commissions had discriminated against gay and transgender people in “word or deed” — which opponents saw as an invitation to consider their socially conservative views on homosexuality.
The proposal’s author, Councilman Diego Bernal, removed that language July 25.
“All of the previous language that infringed upon the freedom of speech, the freedom of exercise of religion and the ability for people of faith to serve on City Council has been expunged,” Hagee told the Cornerstone audience, prompting a standing ovation at the first Sunday service.
Many of the other socially conservative local pastors and Christian business owners who raised objections to the original proposal remain opposed to the revised version.
The ordinance’s advocates contend it is an overdue update to protect a vulnerable class of people without negating the rights of others. It would add “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” to the city’s current anti-discrimination policy.
Hagee said he got the city attorney and Bernal to agree to the revisions in writing when they met Tuesday.
Though Bernal said he had made the revisions almost two weeks before that meeting, he said Sunday that the agreement and meeting with Hagee underscored the benefits of respectful dialogue.