City Government
3:36 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Chan Cites First Amendment In Response To Critisicm About Homophobic Comments

District 9 Councilwoman Elisa Chan is coming under fire from gay rights organizations for making comments against homosexuals in an audio recording given to the San Antonio Express-News.

Chan's office provided the following statement to KENS5 TV:

"The comments from the staff meeting on May 21 were and are my personal opinions and thoughts as guaranteed to me by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is unfortunate that a former member of my District 9 Council team betrayed the trust of my staff members and me. I will fight, I will always fight for our freedom of speech especially in a private setting. I plan to hold a press conference this week to address this issue."

The 15-minute recording was provided to the Express-News by James Stevens, who is now a former aid to Chan.

On the tape, Chan be can heard using the words "so disgusting" in reference to homosexuals, and stating that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples should not be able to adopt children.

"They're going to be confused," said Chan. "You're going to see two men going into a bedroom, you see two see two women kissing. Is that not confusing? It's confusing. It is actually what you call suggestive for the kids to become, you know, whatever...which is against nature!"

The Express News said it removed one minute of audio to protect the identity of a third party not connected with the story.

Community Alliance for a United San Antonio (CAUSA), a group that promotes non-discrimination laws and policies in San Antonio, said it has made several requests to meet with Chan over the city’s proposed non-discrimination ordinance, requests which were not met. Daniel Graney, the co-chair of CAUSA, said comments like those made by Chan would destroy public trust.

"We cannot know who the real council member is when you hear what she says behind closed doors." Graney said. "And because of the clear animus she holds against a segment of her constituency, she is no longer fit to remain in office, CAUSA therefore demands that she resign immediately."

Mayor Julián Castro called the remarks hurtful and ignorant.