CommunityPam's House Blend

Hartline's Happy About The San Diego City Council Marriage Equality Vote

James HartlineAs he sat down two seats away from me — shortly after he addressed the San Diego City Council as an opponent to Item 331 — I heard James Hartline gasp in apparent angered disbelief when a lesbian mother, speaking to the city council in favor of marriage equality, described to the council and gathered citizens the “child I procreated.”

So went the San Diego City Council’s public input on Item 331: Amicus Curiae In Re: Marriage Cases.  There was disbelief and gasps for everyone in attendence, no matter which side of the issue one came down on.

Turning back the “way back machine” …

Three years ago, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom began issuing marriage licenses for gay couples. The city was forced to stop the practice, which led to the litigation.

Those in favor of same-sex marriages prevailed in 2005, but an appeals court overturned the decision a year ago. The state Supreme Court will review that ruling.

The California Supreme Court heard oral arguments for San Francisco Same-Sex Marriage Cases (Lockyer v. City and County of San Francisco and Lewis v. Alfaro) in May of this year, those two cases stemming from the many 2004 San Francisco marriages.

The court is now accepting amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs for the combined cases — but only until September 26th. The question before San Diego’s City Council this past Tuesday was this: would San Diego join Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland in submitting an amicus curiae brief in support of marriage equality?

Councilwoman Toni AtkinsJames Hartline spoke for the majority of the opposition [Video: beginning at point 1:33:42 in the podcast]. In response to Councilwoman Tony Atkins’ motion for the City of San Diego to submit a pro-marriage equality amicus curiae brief (Item 331), Hartline, in his frequent over-the-top manner, stated:

Today is a perfect example of why I’ve announced my candidacy for the City Council…Once again, we standing here find ourselves forced to defend our faith, our families, and our values because of the radicalized dark vision of Councilwoman Toni Atkins.

Speaking for those in favor of Item 331 was the San Francisco City Attorney [Video: beginning at point 1:23:50 in the podcast].

After councilmembers and the public finished their input on the issue, the item failed to receive a majority council affirmation. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported:

A measure to offer support for same-sex marriage in a case pending before the state Supreme Court failed yesterday, but the San Diego City Council will return to the divisive topic in two weeks.

The City Council tied 4-4 on the motion calling for a brief to be filed with the court. The deadlock initially killed the measure.

(What happened at the council meeting and beyond after the flip)

Council President Scott Peters and council members Toni Atkins, Ben Hueso and Jim Madaffer voted in favor, while Kevin Faulconer, Donna Frye, Brian Maienschein and Tony Young voted in opposition.

James Hartline blogged Breaking News: Christians Stop Gay Marriage At San Diego City Council. He stated (speaking in third person, as he often does about himself):

Hartline gave a powerful and informative presentation on behalf of the thousands of Christians in San Diego who are opposed to redefining marriage to include couples engaged in homosexuality and lesbianism.

After a contentious and sometimes, hostile hearing, the request to approve the gay marriage legal brief failed on a 4-4 vote. A 5-3 vote was required for the item to be approved. When the smoke had cleared, some Christians in attendance declared that a real miracle had happened in the city council chambers.

Yet, Item 331 apparently didn’t fail on the merits, but instead, failed over the perception that there was insufficient time for public comment on the issue.  Again, from the San Diego Union-Tribune article:

Councilwoman Donna FryeNone of the council members who voted no expressed their thoughts on same-sex marriage. Frye instead said she thought the public had not been allowed enough of an opportunity for input. Her motion to postpone the decision, in hopes of drawing more public participation, failed.

Atkins and Madaffer argued in favor of the city sending notice of its support for same-sex couples to the court. Atkins opposed delaying consideration of the issue, but she relented by early evening, calling on Peters to give the council a second chance to review it. He complied, and said he will schedule it for Sept. 18.

Frankly, the LGBT community in San Diego was stunned by Councilwoman Donna Frye’s and Councilman Kevin Faulconer’s votes on Item 331, given their previous voting records on LGBT issues.

Prior to the vote, Councilwoman Frye stated at the City Council meeting:

The average person does not know that this item is on [September 4th’s] agenda…I think that people need more than four or five day’s notice on probably one of the most controversial issues that this council is ever going to be taking a vote on…I personally don’t think that the public is aware that this [vote] is happening. My office received approximately five phone calls, which seems rather unusual given the nature of this issue.

By the way, James Hartline praised her vote against San Diego filing a friend of the court brief.

Dr. Delores A. Jacobs, chief executive officer of The San Diego LGBT Community Center, stated in an email to The Center’s mailing list:

We believe that Councilmember Frye and Councilmember Falconer do understand that marriage equality for LGBT people is essential to our basic humanity and dignity and we urge them to reconsider their votes. On September 18, they will have a second chance to be on the right side of civil rights history.

I can’t imagine the public comments prior to the second vote will be much different than those proffered at for the first vote. While there likely won’t be much of a difference found in the content of the public comment on this issue for the September 18th’s meeting, there will no doubt be a large increase in the quantity of the public comment.

However, Given Councilwoman Frye’s and Councilman Faulconer’s previous pro-LGBT voting record, the LGBT community expects a different result on the second vote.  In the end, it appears James Hartline and company’s victory this past Tuesday may not hold past September 18th.

Deirdre O’Lavery contributed significantly to this article.

Further Reading:
* Americans For Truth About Homosexuality: Hartline Leads San Diego Christian Effort to Turn Back Pro-‘Gay Marriage’ Brief
* Voice Of San Diego: Same-Sex Resolution Fails
* California Catholic Daily: San Diego won’t join lawsuit in favor of same-sex marriage

Related Hartline insanity:
* James Hartline Filled Out A Form All By Himself
* Hartline: Mitt Romney’s beliefs disgrace the birth of Christ
* Hartline: San Diego is suffering from God’s wrath
* Six Years In Sodom: From The Journal Of James Hartline

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