Last night I attended my City Council meeting here in Durham, NC because there was going to be a vote on a resolution supporting civil marriage equality for same-sex couples. It passed unanimously. The Bull City joins Chapel Hill and Carrboro in backing full marriage rights.

When I entered the council chambers to sign up to speak (around 6:20, with the meeting to begin at 7PM), it was already filling up. I gave a hug to Mayor Bell, who has known me since I was a little p-a-m. He apparently keeps up with the "trouble" I get into on the internets, and another council member, Mike Woodard, an ally who marches with us in the NC Pride parade.

After several proclamations and bits of business it came to the main agenda items of the night. It was clear this was a big meeting for two reasons -- the resolution and a matter concerning the city's recycling vendor contract. I'm sorry to say that I was not up to date on the latter issue, but after an excruciating hour of debate that shed little light (at least to me) on what the outcome was, it was time for the resolution.

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The council decided to move on the issue, meaning no debate was needed. All but one of those who signed up to speak was in favor of the equality resolution. One woman in my row (well-known local homophobe and failed political candidate Victoria Peterson) jumped to her feet to object (about 4:30 in) "Excuse me, I'd like to speak." Mayor Bell firmly, but politely told her "I'm running the meeting" and said they were ready to move the item and vote. And they did -- and there was a standing ovation (4:48).

Notice the racial divide -- who was standing and who remained seated. It's too bad that I was unable to get up to speak. That's for another day...I'll take this opportunity to announce that I've been asked to be the keynote speaker at NC Pride this year. The parade, which weaves in OWD next to Duke's East Campus, ends with the keynote and other guests. It will be a good opportunity to celebrate the victories -- and address this sad divide in understanding.

There was no divide among the wingers who dropped into the comments section of the news coverage of the vote. Some real live knuckledragging is below the fold.

It was only a matter of time before the bigots blew their stacks in the local comments of a WRAL article covering the Durham City Council's approval of a resolution affirming marriage equality for same-sex couples.

It still amazes me that a city would go against the state law and agitate the situation. One more reason we really need a NC Constitutional Amendment BANNING any marriage that is not between one man and one woman! Better talk to your legislators before these fringe kooks do! Marriage is ONLY between one man and one woman - even California agrees on this! We give Gays equal rights but this is a legal definition! There cannot be "Gay Marriage" as it does not meet the legal requirements! Gays have their legal unions, but they are NOT marriages.

I again say - what rights are not afforded to gays? No one has yet come up with one.

Then you and I agree. They aren't bothering me, I don't bother them. That's the most we can hope for.

This is simply a resolution, that means a lot to that audience. The G.A.'s apologetic resolution for slavery, meant a lot to me, as a black man.

Although I'm not a fan of comparing their struggle to that of blacks, Jews, and Native Americans; they do have the civil right to live as they please. The conservative side of me supports them having that freedom as long as they aren't doing anything illegally.

Most marriages end in divorce (60%) and many couples cheat on each other (35% male, 36% female). Why would anyone want to suport such an institution?

You can do whatever you want to in the privacy of your own home. It is when it is being shoved down my throat that I take offense to it. Keep your immoral ways to yourself and we want have a need to be on hear blogging. For the record I am a Christian and I believe in the Bible and that is the only reason that I need to know that Homosexuality and Same Sex Marriage is wrong.

Leviticus 18:22:

22 “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.

Bottomline..... Marriage is between one man and one woman!

my only statement is the lod said go forth and multiply to populate the world. How can 2 women or 2 men without meidcal help do so

Straight people don't have to choose, their desires come "naturally".

It's fine to have a desire for the same sex, but it becomes a "crime against nature" when contact is made-- and that's okay with me. Don't turn our city into another Sodom. We know how that turned out.

I just don't get it.. Is this an anything goes society now? I mean, at what point is something right and wrong? It looks like anything that a group of people are involved in can eventually become 'right' and socially acceptable. It is sad that our society has lost its backbone on what is morally correct. It is still a free country. If you are gay, noone is going to arrest you, but it should not be included in the same religious institution as the marriage between a man and woman. Again, where do we draw the line? We have sadly falen into a society where whatever makes us feel good is okay. What a slippery slope :(

I would like to be able to marry my dog. He is loyal, devoted, and a long-term friend. We would of course have a platonic relationship, just like many married couples already do, but it would be nice to get some tax breaks. Also I could get him covered on my insurance policy to reduce those pesky veterinarian bills. I may even be able to buy him some nicer treats using food stamps.

Now, if only gay groups would stop shoving their beliefs on everybody when the camera light turns on.

God gave man a woman, as in Adam and Eve, and He designated for man a woman to be bonded by marriage. That is a fact. For those of you approving otherwise, you have taken a Biblical fact - where the birth of marriage originated - and have redefined that fact into something different that will be self-serving.

easilyamused123: "Regardless of what you think or what your book says, you can't stop equality. It happened for women, it happened for African-Americans, and it will happen for homosexuals."

HUGE difference, Skippy! Women and blacks were born as women and blacks. They didn't choose that. Gays and Lesbians chose their sexual preference just as they choose whether to be hateful or nice, or whether they think purple is their favorite color. Women and blacks are equal because they WERE born as they are. NO ONE argues that. But MANY don't believe Gays were born as they are. The fact that its even arguable, tells you there's a HUGE difference between women/blacks and Homosexuals.

FYI, here is the full text of the resolution:

WHEREAS, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized civil marriage as one of the basic civil rights fundamental to our very existence and survival and one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness; and

WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Durham has adopted and reaffirmed a policy of promoting equal rights and opportunities for employees of Durham City Government without regard to race, religion, age, sex, handicap, national origin, color, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation or belief; and

WHEREAS, in 2002, the City Council of the City of Durham formally extended health care benefits to same sex domestic partners of City employees and their legal dependents due in part to the fact that same sex marriages are not legally recognized in North Carolina; and

WHEREAS, the continued refusal to legally recognize same sex marriages denies individuals involved in same sex relationships the important legal benefits, rights and responsibilities of civil marriage that are available to heterosexual couples; and

WHEREAS, the continued refusal to deny same sex partners the ability to enjoy the benefits, rights and responsibilities of a legally recognized civil marriage union is tantamount to the denial of these benefits, rights and responsibilities on the basis of sexual orientation; and

WHEREAS, the denial of the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage on the basis of sexual orientation is inconsistent with the City Council’s commitment to equal rights and opportunities for its employees without regard to sexual orientation.


Section 1. The City Council of the City of Durham endorses and supports the rights of same-sex couples to share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities and commitments of civil marriage.

Section 2. This resolution shall be effective on and after its passage.