Opponents Of NDO Lodge Ethics Complaints Against Bernal

Sep 9, 2013

The non-discrimination ordinance has passed, but opponents are not giving up their fight.

Opponents of the ordinance are retaliating against Mayor Julián Castro and each of the eight council members who voted to pass the measure -- they are gathering signatures for recall petitions.

On Aug. 10, District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal was holding his regular Coffee with the Councilman event at Linda’s Mexican Restaurant #2.

But this time the room was populated with opponents of the LGBT non-discrimination ordinance.

They hammered him with questions about the proposal. The audio of the public forum was recorded by an unnamed source, but uploaded to YouTube and released by Weston Martinez, a Republican party activist.

In this clip, Bernal explains how the law works from his perspective as a civil rights attorney and what limits the ordinance has and doesn’t have.

“So, as a baker, you cannot say… look, first of all, remember that people have very have very easy outs: I’m busy, I can’t do it, I’m booked, I don’t have the resources. There’s a lot of ways to not do it if you don’t want to do it,” Bernal  said to the group.

Marinez said Bernal told people if they don’t like the ordinance, they can get around it.

“If you want to refuse baking a cake for a same-sex couple because you….object, you can still object,” Martinez said Monday. “You just got to say something different. Don’t tell them it’s because you object to their lifestyle. Instead, just give them another reason.”

Bernal fired back and said the opposition’s claims are ludicrous. He believes the group is being disingenuous.

“They’re saying that I’m saying things that I’m not or they’re taking the things I’ve said and are saying, ‘well he’s saying to lie.’ I’m not saying to lie,” said Bernal. “I was admitting that there’s certain ways to game the system, number one. And number two, that you can’t be compelled to do any work for anybody. You can’t maintain a policy against somebody. That was the point I was making.”

Martinez said he has never filed an ethics complaint with the city before, but said the state is looking into a previous voter fraud complaint he filed that a cemetery was being used as a return address location for thousands of absentee ballots in Bexar County.

The city forwarded the two dozen or so complaints to the city attorney’s office.

If they are determined to be valid, they will be forwarded to the Ethics Review Board for consideration.