Spokane Council Not Willing To Commit Support For Marriage Equality Law

Apr 18, 2012

This week Spokane’s City Council voted to indefinitely table a resolution on Washington’s marriage equality law.

“We’re going to actually have 200 people here tonight, we’re going to be here until 11:40pm, and we’re going to not vote on the issue and we’re going to defer it.”

City Council President Ben Stuckart and the rest of council heard more than four hours of testimony on a resolution that would support state lawmakers’ decision to legalize same-sex marriage. In council policy a member can move to defer a resolution before the actual vote on the resolution itself. And that’s what they did last night by a 4 to 3 decision. Stuckart interpreted the large crowd as a sign that marriage equality is an important issue to people on both sides of the aisle.

“So I am extremely disappointed that we’re going to defer this after thoughtful discussion, everybody being very respectful in these chambers.”

That discussion included emotional testimony from both sides. One woman, Margartet Peggy Pollen, says gays and lesbians have the right to live as they choose, but not to " redefine marriage for all of us."

“Do we want to teach the next generation that one half of humanity, either mothers or fathers, are dispensable or unimportant? Children are confused enough right now with sexual messages, let’s not confuse them any further. Thank you.”

On the other side… Yvonne Morton, the chair of the Human Rights Commission, said gay couples want to get married for the same reason as heterosexual ones.

“They’re in love. They want to make a commitment to each other. Marriage is the basic building block of our neighborhoods and our nation… Denying same sex couples the right to marry stigmatizes gay and lesbian couples as inferior and sends a message it is acceptable to discriminate against them.”

Based on state law same-sex couples can marry as soon as June 7th in Washington, unless activists who are gathering petitions get enough signatures to put it to a vote in November.

Copyright 2012 Spokane Public Radio