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San Antonio councilwoman defends secretly recorded anti-gay remarks

Monday, August 19, 2013
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SAN ANTONIO — A San Antonio city council woman who was secretly recorded during a staff meeting in which she said homosexuality is “so disgusting” and “against nature,” defended her comments Monday in her first public statement on the controversy that erupted last week.

Expressing no remorse, Elisa Chan said Monday the remarks “were and are my personal opinions.”

Elisa Chan

“The comments from the staff meeting on May 21st were and are my personal opinions and thoughts as guaranteed to me by the 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” said Chan, in a statement. “It is unfortunate that a former member of my D9 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.”

Chan’s remarks were secretly recorded by a former staffer during a May 21 staff meeting regarding a proposal to amend San Antonio’s nondiscrimination ordinance to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.

In addition to referring to homosexuality as “so disgusting,” Chan said, “I don’t think homosexual people should do adoption. They should be banned by adoption. You’re going to confuse those kids. They should be banned.”

“If you wanted to choose that lifestyle, we don’t want to discriminate you, but you shouldn’t affect the young people,” she continued. “How terrible … They’re going to be confused. You see two men go into a bedroom. You see two women kissing. Is that not confusing? It’s confusing.”

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro condemned Chan’s remarks, calling them “hurtful and misinformed” and that “they don’t reflect the views of the overwhelming majority of San Antonians.”

The recording also captured disparaging remarks from Jeff Bazan, then Chan’s chief of staff, and now a staff member for newly sworn in city councilman Ron Nirenberg.

In the recording, Bazan warns: “The road we’re going … incest and being able to marry animals, that’s all going to happen.”

On Friday, Nirenberg issued a statement indicating that Bazen has since been placed on “indefinite administrative leave.”

The recording was released just one day after a highly decorated openly gay Iraq war combat veteran was booed by a crowd of San Antonio residents when he attended the city council meeting to speak in support of the ordinance.

Chan said she plans to hold a press conference on the issue later this week.

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