City council tables gay marriage resolution indefinitely

Author: Ian Cull, KXLY4 Multimedia Journalist, ianc@kxly.com
Published On: Apr 17 2012 04:52:08 PM PDT   Updated On: Apr 17 2012 06:33:53 PM PDT
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Gay marriage is one issue the Spokane City Council won't take a stand on, after tabling the issue indefinitely after five hours of discussion Monday night.

Close to 300 people attended Monday night's council meeting, the largest crowd some city employees say they've seen in a decade. In all, 96 people spoke at the meeting. Each person was given three minutes to speak, which extended the meeting to just before midnight.

"Gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose, they just don't have the right to redefine marriage," one woman said at the meeting.

"Saying, 'I do' in front of all of my family, all of my friends, is just so important," another woman said.

After all of the testimony, the City Council decided to table the vote on a non-binding resolution, which meant the the council's action would not directly affect the people of Spokane.

The resolution was to support the state's decision to allow same-sex marriage and all members of the council voted to hear the resolution a week ago. Monday night they left the people of Spokane without an answer as to where city leadership stands on the matter.

"In my judgment, it is actually a decision," Pastor Todd Eklof of the Unitarian Universalist Church said.

Pastor Todd Eklof said he was basically run out of Kentucky when he refused to do any more marriages until same-sex marriage was legal. He arrived in Spokane nine months ago and was hopeful the council would support the state's law.

"The fact that there are prohibitions that prevent people from obtaining the same rights as everyone else, based upon religious grounds violates the first amendment itself," Eklof said.

Pastor Dan Jarms of the Faith Bible Church disagreed.

"I thought it was strange, inappropriate that the city council brought the issue up," he said.

Jarms doesn't believe the state should've passed the bill, and also doesn't think the people of Spokane agree with the lawmakers.

"Judging by the number of signatures I've seen on the initiatives to repeal what the state has done, I think Spokane is a town that just doesn't want that," he said.

The council's 4-3 vote to table the resolution indefinitely doesn't mean the issue is technically dead. However for it to be brought back one of the council members who voted to table it, would have to bring it up.