SAN ANTONIO — A highly decorated openly gay Iraq war combat veteran was booed by a crowd of anti-gay protesters during his speech to the San Antonio City Council meeting Wednesday evening.
Former Marine Staff Sergeant Eric Alva — a San Antonio native who was the first American service member seriously injured in the Iraq War when he stepped on a land mine in March 2003 and lost his right leg — was speaking in favor of a proposed addition to the city’s non-discrimination law that would add protections for sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status.
But as Alva began to deliver his remarks, many in the crowd of approximately 200 people attending the council meeting began to boo.
“To all you people that preach the word of God, shame on you because God loves me, like the day I laid bleeding on the sands of Iraq and that’s why he saved me,” Alva told the crowd as left the podium, still visibly shaken from the crowd’s reaction.
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Later on Facebook, Alva wrote:
“Well I just left city council chambers and I feel like crying. I have never seen a city so divided and hateful towards each other. All of man kind should be ashamed. I already spoke and even some of the religious groups even boo’ed me as I spoke. Such disrespect as they preach the word of God.”
Prior to the council session, local anti-gay rights advocate Pastor Charles Flowers of the Faith Outreach Center led a prayer vigil and demonstration outside City Hall where he told the crowd, “Let them vote ‘no’ to this ordinance, and ‘yes’ to the reign of the kingdom of God.”
The San Antonio city clerk’s office said the council is expected to vote on the ordinanace on September 5.