The City Council of San Antonio has approved a controversial ordinance that protects gays and transgender people from bias.
Leading Republicans and religious conservatives nationwide opposed the measure. The measure forbids city officials from discriminating and applies to most city contracts and contractors
"As the pope said, we respect and love every person. And we pray for the [LGBT community]," the San Antonio Express quoted Father Jose Gonzalez, a professor at the University of Navarre. "At the same time, we say we can't go against human nature."
The San Antonio Human Rights Coalition noted that the measure punishes people of faith by violating their rights of conscience and speech.
For example, Christians could be blocked from working for the city if they have a biblical view on homosexuality or marriage. One pastor said it will "criminalize us if we speak our faith."
Though the ordinance had the support of Mayor Julian Castro, a Democrat, opponents say most city residents did not back it.
"I consider this an attempt to impose a liberal value system over the objection of millions of Texans," Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples charged.
He said the bill "actually discriminates against those with deeply held religious views by pushing this agenda to the extreme."
But Chuck Smith, executive director of the advocacy group Equality Texas, disputed such claims.
"In the context of public accommodation, you can say, 'I think you're disgusting, I think you're going to go to hell -- would you like baked potatoes or fries with that order?'" Smith said. "It does not suppress any expression of their beliefs, religious or otherwise."
***Is there a solution for this San Antonio measure that could protect the conscience rights of those who believe homosexuality is a sin? Chris Plante, with the National Organization for Marriage, addressed that question and more on CBN News Channel Morning News, Sept. 5.