In the works since March, the Durham City Council finally took up the matter of a pro-gay marriage resolution at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 17. After no debate and little public comment, the council passed the resolution unanimously.
Presented by Durham resident Joshua Lee Weaver, the resolution calls upon the State of North Carolina to extend marriage rights and benefits to same-sex couples. Weaver presented a similar resolution to the Charlotte City Council on June 1 — officials there have yet to take any action on the matter.
“I want the American dream. I want to be able to get married and have that big house with a couple of kids playing in the yard, and that is why it is so important to me. For someone to tell me that I can’t do that (because I’m gay), I just don’t think that’s right,” Weaver told Raleigh news station WRAL.
Durham resident Victoria Parker told WRAL she was opposed to the resolution. “There are many of us who are Christians and we are totally against the same-sex marriages, constitutionally as well as biblically,” she said.
According to Pam Spaulding of the Durham-based PamsHouseBlend.com, Parker is a well-known conservative activist and a former political candidate in the area.
On her blog Monday evening, Spaulding wrote of her concerns over the racial divide apparent in the room. Posting video of the standing ovation after the council vote, Spaulding added, “Notice the racial divide — who was standing and who remained seated. It’s too bad that I was unable to get up to speak.”
Weaver initially presented the resolution in March. The document had been under review by the Durham attorney. At the time, nearby Carrboro and Chapel Hill had already passed similar resolutions supporting marriage equality.
While applauded by activists and marked as a positive sign of change, the passage of the three marriage resolutions in the Triangle is dwarfed by the dozens of anti-gay documents passed by county and local governments across the state this year, as conservative activists attempted to push an anti-LGBT marriage amendment onto the ballot during the North Carolina General Assembly’s 2009 session.
The General Assembly adjourned their legislative session on Aug. 11, without taking any action on the amendment. It is the sixth year activists and progressive legislators have stalled the amendment. The statewide Equality North Carolina hailed this year’s session as a step forward for the LGBT community. The group was instrumental in passing the LGBT-inclusive School Violence Prevention Act and progressive sex education Healthy Youth Act.
Read More: Click here for past stories on the marriage amendment and local resolutions across North Carolina.