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Dozens of churches oppose San Antonio anti-discrimination proposal

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Dozens of churches are organizing to oppose an update to San Antonio legislation.

"Essentially, if you've ever said anything saying you don't agree with homosexuality, then the city council is gonna say you have no place in being involved in the government or having a government contract or being appointed to some city council position," said Jonathan Saenz, with Texas Values.

He says he disagrees with adding "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the city's discrimination ordinance because it protects members of the LGBT community, but does not provide a religious exemption.

Saenz said, "The city government should not be catering to one group and trying to protect them by silencing a very large group of other people."

"The city has no interest in interfering with the First Amendment rights or the religious liberties of churches, synagogues and mosques and so forth. So, we won't. We haven't and we won't," said San Antonio City Councilman Diego Bernal.

The ordinance, being pushed by San Antonio Councilman Diego Bernal and Mayor Julian Castro, reads "no person shall be appointed to a position if the city council finds such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group or organization on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age or disability."

Saenz said, "That's troubling, particularly when you say if anyone has done something by word or by deed, you're trampling on the First Amendment when it comes to free speech also freedom of religion."

"I may not agree with things you say, but I will defend your right to say it. We can balance that with our non-discrimination policies. We've done it before and we will continue to do that," said Bernal.

In August, San Antonio's city council will discuss the changes.

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