Thursday, July 23, 2009

Porterville Councilmen Struggle Over Resolution Opposing CA Bill Recognizing Out of State Same-Sex Marriage

Porterville, CA city council is at it again. Known for being the only city for approving a resolution supporting Proposition 8, they are now drafting a resolution opposing Sen. Mark Leno's Senate Bill 54. The bill would recognize same-sex marriage performed outside the state before the passage of Prop 8 and would grant couples married after the initiative all the rights and benefits but not the name marriage.

Recorder Online reports that this time, though, the vote was not unanimous - two in favor, two opposed, one abstained to permit former mayor and major opponent to LGBT rights, Cam Hamilton, to draft up a resolution opposing SB 54 to be voted upon in a future meeting.

“The will of the people was taken care of when [Proposition] 8 was passed,” Hamilton said.

“At this point I would not be in favor of a council-wide supported resolution,” Councilman Felipe Martinez, who voted to oppose Hamilton’s efforts, said.

Councilman Pedro Martinez, who abstained, cautioned that following Hamilton’s lead could take the council in an unfavorable activist direction.

“I’m not looking at pushing this through at this point in time,” he said.

Jamie Garza, Chair Porterville LGBTQ, Tulare County Chapter Leader Marriage Equality USA, attended the council hearing. In an email, she thanks everyone for sending letters and emails to the council members opposing the resolution, then reported:
The Council listened to oral comments, most opposing, and some for passing a proposed resolution against SB 54. Afterward it was opened for discussion between the council members. . .

Cam Hamilton, our former Mayor, stated that he wanted the city to take a strong stance against SB 54 whether it be through a resolution (which he said he would like to write), proclamation, or other means. He didn't seem very happy with what Pete [new mayor], Felipe, or Pedro had to say. I think he may have thought they would jump right on the band wagon again and that's not exactly what happened.

Pete Martinez expressed concerns about becoming an activist council by continuing to get so involved in such sensitive state matters. Then Cam insulted him for "going back on his vote." I can't remember the whole conversation but I think Pete suggesting they discuss their disagreements further at a different time and Cam through [sic] his hands up and said in a very confrontational manner "let's discuss it now." It got heated for just a second and then Pete McCracken put an end to it before Cam could make any more of an ass out of himself. He never seems to fail at putting both feet in his mouth. And I truly believe that is why he isn't Mayor anymore.
Thankfully, it is not an unanimous vote and Hamilton has an uphill climb getting his resolution passed. They will hold a vote on the resolution in two weeks.

Image from earlier council hearing by Jessica Mahoney.

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