Live blog: Greensboro City Council vote on Marriage Amendment

Opponents of a ballot initiative to define marriage as between one man and one woman applaud the Greensboro City Council for taking a stand against the referendum.

Remarks by Mayor Robbie Perkins: "30 years ago I’m not sure I could have taken a vote like this because I’m not sure I would have understood…. My life has been blessed by touching a lot of folks that happen to be different than me. The richness of our diversity makes us a better people, a better city and a better state.

"When you add it all up, we are all in this together and we will all get this together. Corporations making decisions every day about where to locate look at communties where people are able to work together."

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Council votes 8-1 to oppose the Marriage Amendment on the primary ballot amending the constitution to define marriage as between one woman and one man. Despite her statement of neutrality, District 1 Councilwoman Dianne Bellamy-Small's statement of neutrality counts as a vote in favor, according to the council's rules.

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District 3 Councilman Zack Matheny, who is listed as a contact for the item, makes no statement.

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At-large Councilwoman Nancy Vaughan: "This is a civil rights issue. It wasn’t that long ago that blacks and whites weren’t able to marry or drink out of the same water fountain."

Vaughan cites an e-mail from interim City Attorney Tom Pollard stating that a professor from the UNC School of the Government advised that if the amendment is passed, the city could subject to a legal challenge that would have a significant chance of success.

Audience members applaud loudly to Vaughan's closing remarks and reference to Martin Luther King Jr.

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Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson: "Bank of America has 25,000 gay employees, do we want to take the risk of bank of America leaving Charlotte and going to New York. Maybe we do."

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District 5 Councilwoman Trudy Wade: "I am for the amendment. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman, and I think I have the right to decide that at the polls. This is not something under our purview. Everyone will have the opportunity to go the polls and I hope we all will on May 8."

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At-large Councilwoman Marikay Abuzuaiter: "I certainly will vote for this. I believe that Greensboro taking a stand can only lead to other cities taking a stand on something that is so important to our citizenry."

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Now, council members are giving remarks.

Councilwoman Dianne Bellamy-Small says she wished the members who put the item on the agenda had talked to everyone on council before proceeding.

"I will not vote either way because I believe this should be the decision of each citizen.... I understand that it's going to be counted as an automatic yes vote."

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The council has heard from all the speakers.

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Bobby Collier: "The first marriage created by God was between one man and one woman. That’s what created a family…. Two mens cannot create a child, neither can two women…. I do have the right to discriminate against something that is perverted."

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Brenda Formo: "The amendment also does not prohibit private companies from giving benefits to who they want to."

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Joanne Wittenborn: "One of the young women before me said this has to do with discrimination. This has nothing to do with discrimination. It’s to uphold the integrity of our society, which is marriage between one man and one woman."

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Joyce Krawiec: "There is no hate. We love our borthers and sisters. We think everyone has the right to live as they choose, but they do not have the right to redefine marriage for the rest of society.”

Krawiec refers the council members and audience to voteformarriagenc.com.


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Allen Stockard: “I choose to try to form my ideas from the Christian Bible. That’s a choice I have as a free agent…. I think our country was once a great nation with respect throughout the world…. I just think doing something like allowing gay marriage as an acceptable lifestyle… it would tear at the fiber of our nation.”

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Now the council is hearing from people who are opposed to the council's resolution against the Marriage Amendment.

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Diane Davis, speaking on behalf of the League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad: "We urge the city council to reject any amendement to the North Carolina Constitution that provides that marriage of one man and one woman is the only valid legal domestic union.

"My husband and I have been married for 53 years. I think that everyone in the world and everyone in this room is equal."

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Clarence Easter notes that at one time the law also prohibited interracial marriage.

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The Rev. Randall Keeney, pastor, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, filed suit against attorney general asking that the religious ceremony of marriage be separated from civil law.

"This constitutional amendment is more an effort to establish religion than anything else. Gay people have been trying, trying to be accepted to the mainstream culture by working and contributing to society, but so many times they’re pushed into the dark.

"It is an effort to reestablish hate. We’re going to disagree on the religious issues. I’d love to have a cup of coffee with you."

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Isabell Moore tells council she fell in love with a woman that she has been together with for 10 years. Her partner works as a nurse.

"If passed this amendment this amendment could be interpreted to mean that I lose my health insurance, which I have through my partner."

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Ben Church: "I applaud the council for considering a resolution that will oppose an amendment that will benefit no one, but will shatter the lives of many."

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Todd Warren: "The people who put this on the ballot tend to be of a small-government belief. If you’re from a small-government belief, then stay out of people’s marriages."

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Andrew Spainhour, general counsel for Replacements Limited, speaking on behalf of the company's owner and 450 employees: "Amendment 1 goes much further than defining marriage. It creates, at best, uncertainties that will have to be determined by our courts and at worst takes away benefits from hardworking employees."

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John Kernodle III: I’ve heard a number of folks talk on both sides about making Greensboro look good. This is an opportunity to make Greensboro be good. We could stand a lot more of that, not just from our council but from brothers and sisters.

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Speaker in support of the resolution: "We heard someone speaking about strong families and strong fathers. Well, some people have two fathers, strong ones."

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Rep. Marcus Brandon, NC House District 60, commends the council for considering the resolution opposing the Marriage Amendment in a statement read by Councilman Jim Kee.

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Thomas O’Connell: "Supporters will point to protecting our judeo-christian values. Put aside this is a secular country…. What values are they talking about, Solomon who had many wives?"

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At-large Councilwoman Nancy Vaughan recommends a blog post by Guttman.

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Rabbi Fred Guttman: “There is no reason to enshrine discrimination in our state constitution.”

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The Rev. Julie Peeples applauds council for opposing the Marriage amendment

"This resolution sends the message we do not condone discrimination and we welcome a wide range of businesses and workers. My 29-year-old marriage has never been threatened by same-sex couples."

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District 5 Councilwoman Trudy Wade has made a motion to postpone the vote until the next meeting so the city can advertise a public hearing. The Rev. Rick Brooks chastises the council for not postponing the vote, saying that he called about a dozen pastors who would spoken against the city resolution had they had adequate notice.

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Going live now.

The Greensboro City Council is preparing to vote on a resolution opposing the Marriage Amendment on the primary ballot that would amend the state constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.

There are upwards of 40 people signed up to speak.

6 comments:

triadwatch said...

back in the live blog game , glad to see

Jordan Green said...

Just filling in for my colleague, Eric Ginsburg. Thanks for the love.

gso sparky said...

Jordan,
You must have made a typo, Wade said "one man and one woman".

Jordan Green said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jordan Green said...

What a difference two letters makes! Thanks for the catch, gso sparky. The copy is fixed.

city said...

nice idea..thanks for sharing....