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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dozens show up to support equality, Napa City Council lets resolution fail

The first reports from the City Council meeting was that the community (if not the Council themselves) turned out BIG to support us...with almost 30 people speaking movingly in support of Napa speaking out against discrimination and in support of same-sex couples.

There were NO opponents to the measure that spoke up during public comment.

However, the City Council let the (nonbinding, highly symbolic and meaningful) resolution die, with not one member willing to step up and second the move to put it up for a vote. I give props to Councilmember Van Gorder for putting forward the idea in the first place and shame on the City Council for not having the guts to take it up for discussion or a vote.

Why did they let it die? Under the guise of not wanting to get involved in (or waste time) with nonbinding measures outside of things of importance to the City of Napa. And in the same City Council Meeting they voted on two other nonbinding measures in support of the Red Cross and Earth Hour.

It's too bad the video isn't up yet on the City Council's website: more than a few in attendance spoke very eloquently on why the City most definitely should be speaking out on issues of equality and discrimination (if it isn't obvious) in areas that are beyond their usual jurisdiction. Instead of paraphrasing or messing with their words, I'll post as soon as the video is available.

If you were in attendance, please share your thoughts via the comments or email.


  1. Great posting. Thank you for posting the link to the video of the meeting so that others can easily find it. What I think makes the City Council's decision not to bring the non-binding resolution to a vote so disappointing is the implicit message that the GLBT community's concerns were at best an inconvenience and at worst a pothole in the Council's collective political careers.
    I can imagine a scenario where enlightened leadership can set the tone for an entire community, one that sends the message that violence and discrimination will not be tolerated. This Council, with the notable exception of Mr. Van Gorder, does not recognize the power that leaders at every level of a democratic society have: to stand up for the ideals that founded this country and made it such an amazing place.

  2. "Nothing dies so hard, or rallies so often as intolerance." - Henry Ward Beecher

    Dr. Chris Beyrer, the founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights, said denying same sex couples the right to marry harms community health:``We know for certain that lesbian and gay individuals suffer harm to their physical and psychological health, and to their relationships and quality of life, as result of the shame, isolation and stigma accrued from their social and legal disenfranchisement."

    This is a community issue, but with so many opposed to equality, elected officials are reluctant to take a stand. At least they weren't eager to go on record as being against equality, as would have been the case in the recent past. I guess that accounts for something, though it is disappointing they weren't willing to come out against legal disenfranchisement.

  3. Wow! 9 separate threads on the NVR debating our equality under the law. What a bitch. I hate that we are having to defend our existence. Who else has to do that? Yet, it is an opportunity to make our case that we should be granted equal rights under the law. This wasn't possible before the Internet. So at least we have a way to fight back from the safety of our homes. Not that being visible before the city council or in any other public forum isn't also important, as it is, but painful as it may be, more and more homophobes seem to be dropping out of the debate, and only the really hard core ones hang in there. So I'd like to think we are getting somewhere and it seems like more gay folks are joining our straight supporters in defending our rights. Any thoughts? Am I deluding myself, or are we moving forward, one painful step at a time?

  4. equalnotspecial, we are moving forward, and it is one painful step at a time. As I said at the City Council meeting, the simple fact is that we exist, that we are vital, participative members of this community. And powerful fact of our existence means that we will inevitably obtain our civil rights.
    I'd guess that most of the comments against equality in response to the NVR article about the meeting were from people 50 and over. One of the most heartening trends I've observed is the great openmindedness of so many teens and twentysomethings today.
    As a fortysomething who has striven to be that way and was raised that way, I feel more at home among the mindset of younger acquaintances than I often do around the average person in their 40s and 50s.