AG Unlikely to Sue Over San Antonio Ordinance

Citing a late change in the nondiscrimination ordinance that San Antonio recently passed, a spokesman for the Texas attorney general's office said the state is now unlikely to file suit.

A clause that disallowed appointed city officials to “demonstrate a bias, by word or deed” was deleted from the ordinance before the San Antonio City Council passed it on Sept. 5 with an 8-3 vote. The ordinance is aimed at preventing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

“We are pleased the city council heeded our advice and deleted this provision, which surely would have been grounds for a constitutional challenge to the ordinance,” Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the AG’s office, said in a statement. “We will continue to review the ordinance and monitor the situation.”

Representatives for the city of San Antonio did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the language change.

Before the ordinance had been edited, Attorney General Greg Abbott wrote San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, urging him to scrap the ordinance. Its language left it “open to a constitutional challenge for vagueness,” Abbott said. “If the city ignores this advice and adopts the proposed ordinance,” he warned, “legal action will surely follow.”

The ordinance, which went into effect immediately after it was passed, prevents local businesses from discriminating against lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender residents. It also prevents public officials from discriminating against LGBT people in their professional duties and protects city employees from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Those who are awarded city contracts are prohibited from discriminating against LGBT people.

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