San Antonio Christians believe city leaders are trying to bully them under the guise of an anti-discrimination law.

The proposed measure up for debate Friday aims to protect gay city employees.  However, without a religious exemption, it essentially prohibits those who think homosexuality is a sin from being appointed to public office or securing a city contract. 

Pastor Steve Branson and others think Democrat Mayor Julian Castro really is attempting to keep conservatives out.

“I don't see this as a gay and lesbian agenda at all,” Branson tells KTRH News.  “I think that group is being used by the more progressive movement for a lot of other stuff.”

Even Noel Freeman of Houston's GLBT Political Caucus sees possible legal issues with the current wording of the measure.

“If we were the ones writing the ordinance, we certainly would want a religious exemption put in place,” Freeman said.  “I don't think it is specifically an anit-Christian goal, I just think that it is somewhat strange there's no religious exemption.”

Council member Diego Bernal continued to defend the proposal when speaking to a San Antonio television station last week.

“We're simply adding groups to that list saying you should not be able to discriminate against them for being who they are,” he said.

The issue has gained national attention.

“To me it looks like political grand-standing,” says Ken Klukowski at the Family Research Council.  “We're talking about trampling the Constitutional rights of private citizens.”

The Washington Times blasted San Antonio city council, calling members supporting the ordinance "bigots" who are using their power to "bully anyone who holds views rooted in tradition or religion."

The editorial went on to say "George Orwell is alive and hiding in Texas.”