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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Napa City Council chickens out on resolution in spite of community support of marriage equality

The Napa City Council listened to residents who asked them to pass a resolution supporting same-sex marriages at its Tuesday afternoon session. Visit the Napa Register's article for more photos by J.L. Sousa/Register

As we reported last night, approximately two-dozen same-sex marriage supporting residents came to speak out at the Napa City Council meeting on March 17, encouraging the City to support a resolution put forth by Council Member Mark Van Gorder.
"The city does not support discrimination and finds that all people regardless of gender should be able to enter into the legal contract of marriage and receive the same social and legal benefits and recognition as conferred by the State of California."
In spite of the impassioned showing of support, and not a single community member speaking against the resolution, the City Council chickened out and--with no Councilmember seconding the motion for a vote--the resolution died without further action from the City of Napa.

Let's put it on record (here and otherwise) that the City of Napa chose to avoid even engaging an issue that affects the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of thousands in it's borders and that a majority (56%) of Napa County voted to support.

Napa turned down the opportunity to, as friend of The Fruit and Napa resident Victor Davis said, "be on the right side of history."

Here's the Napa Register's take on the City Council meeting last night:
Not a single dissenting opinion was voiced during more than an hour of public testimony, creating the possibility that council opposition to taking on an explosive social issue might have softened.

It hadn’t.

Mayor Techel thanked everyone for coming and “telling your story,” but stuck by her earlier opinion that this was a state issue. A legal challenge to Proposition 8 was argued before the California Supreme Court this month, and a ruling is expected before summer.

Mott said he appreciated the crowd’s “passion and resolve,” but said same-sex marriage should be resolved by the state Legislature, the courts and at the ballot box.

“I do not feel it’s an issue I can speak to at the council level because I believe it is outside the purview of city government and our jurisdiction,” Mott said.

Krider rejected the argument that same-sex marriage was all about discrimination. As an elected leader, Krider said it was his responsibility to represent all Napans, including those who believe same-sex marriage is wrong.

“It has to be voted on by the state,” he said. “Your passion should be taken to Sacramento.”

Contrary to his fellow council members, van Gorder said a vote for marriage equality seemed as much a matter of council business as the routine items that normally fill a council agenda.

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