It's easy to imagine that if conservative Texans didn't have gays and lesbians to rail against, they'd be forced to return to bashing racial minorities - a much-cherished pastime until the early 70's and still popular among right-wing pols who use undocumented workers to denigrate Latino citizens.
According to His Worshipful Pastor Gerald Ripley of Abundant Life Church (and 192 other evangelical ministers in Bexar County), same-sex couples who raise youngsters in a sound loving environment are "a greater threat to the quality and stability of children's lives" than divorce. (Got that? Kids from broken homes - with all the stress and ugliness generated by a messy divorce case - are better off than those brought up by committed gay and lesbian parents.) Preacher Ripley has been fearmongering up a storm for a new Religious Right org called Please Send Money Voices For Marriage, which opposes providing domestic partner benefits to municipal workers. KENS Channel 5 has an enlightening video of the group's recent protest outside City Hall.
Abe Levy reports for MySanAntonio.com that not all religious groups are condemning the initiative: One group, led by Temple Beth-El Rabbi Barry Block, called the measure a compassionate step toward equality that is in keeping with its teachings, an overdue act of sophistication for a city building its cosmopolitan profile... Under the proposed initiative, the city and its largest utilities would extend benefits to the domestic partners of employees, a group that includes same-sex couples. Council is expected to vote on the 2012 budget next month. Public hearings wrapped up Monday evening in individual council districts, but both sides are expected to be aired at another public hearing scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Municipal Plaza Building, 114 W. Commerce St. If it is approved, San Antonio would join at least 185 U.S. cities, counties and states with the same policy, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an organization that advocates for gay rights. "We believe it's a matter of fairness and equality, which our faiths also teach," said Block. "And we agree with the city manager that it helps the city retain and recruit the highest caliber of employees."
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, a supporter of LGBT equality, echoed the above sentiments, saying that the Alamo City needs to extend partner benefits in order to stay competitive with large cities and corporations across the country. He observes that the cost for this change is a trifling one tenth of one percent of next year's total budget.
In an interesting aside, Zack Ford at Think Progress notes that anti-gay activists in San Antonio were too lazy to create fresh signs of outrage for their protest; they've been recycling six-year-old placards from 2005′s Proposition 2, Texas' constitutional unconstitutional ban on marriage equality and civil unions.
(Pictured top left, Pastor Gerald Ripley; Top right, Mayor Julian Castro.)