Change Of Phrase In Final NDO Disarms Attorney General's Threat

Sep 18, 2013

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott vowed he'd take a stand if San Antonio passed the controversial and widely-discussed non-discrimination ordinance, but now it looks like Abbott is backing down.

The gubernatorial candidate believed the ordinance violates free speech because of the phrase, "word or deed."

He said it violated the Constitution because the law would prevent appointees on city boards and commissions from engaging in bias by "word or deed."

But when the law passed, the San Antonio City Council removed the phrase in question, unbeknownst to many people on both sides of the issue.

Instead, the ordinance says members cannot discriminate against anyone while acting in their official capacity on a board or commission.

In the days and weeks following the vote, Abbott had remained silent on possible litigation against the city. Other conservative organizations, like the group Texas Values, also said they would challenge the new law.

In a statement, Lauren Bean, Abbott's deputy communications director, praised city leaders for removing the language that many felt to be in violation of the Texas and U.S. Constitutions.

"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," Bean said.

"We will continue to review the ordinance and monitor the situation," she said.

The council’s adoption of the non-discrimination ordinance sent the law into effect immediately.