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Palo Alto moves to support same-sex marriage

Original post made on Apr 2, 2013

Palo Alto officials enthusiastically jumped into the national debate over same-sex marriage on Monday night when they passed a resolution opposing Proposition 8 and agreed to fly the rainbow flag in front of City Hall.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, April 1, 2013, 11:31 PM

Comments (58)

Posted by Focus On The City, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 7:36 am

This is unbelievable. We have a city council that seems to have time to spend on issues that have nothing to do with what they were elected to do. The council is elected to do what city councils do - run the city infrastructure and budget efficiently. Nothing more.
It does not matter whether 75% or 100% of the city residents support a social issue or not. This is a social issue that they were NOT elected to comment on or waste our tax payer dollars debating. Frustrating to see a bunch of entitled people wasting time on issues that are symbolic more than anything else.
City council: Fix the pensions issue. Focus on our infrastructure deficit. Stop wasting time on symbolic items.

Note: I like the majority of Palo Altoans am in favor of gay marriage. However I feel very strongly that I did not elect anyone on the city council to spend their time debating social issues like this. Frustrating to see this entitled behavior.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2013 at 7:38 am

This is so wrong from so many angles.

We never heard any of this until yesterday and yet the Council has agreed and voted on this issue which is not a Palo Alto issue for which our Council has been elected and mandated to speak on our behalf. The fact that it has taken precedence over all our important local issues shows that our Council are nothing but enjoying their self importance and "power" rather than interested in solving our City problems. When the real issues are discussed, they just throw money at getting experts to do studies and never make a decision on anything.

It is about time that a similar expedient discussion leads to improvement in infrastructure, budget balancing, traffic and all the other issues that really do affect the average Palo Altan every day.


Posted by businessdecision, a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2013 at 7:47 am

A to-be-deleted post: It's time for the USA to change to this rainbow flag. Thirteen colonies? Who CARES? A certain number of stars, I care? That flag and the e pluribus unum stuff is so yesterday. Nobody thinks of out of many one but out of many many. Let's get real, guys. The rainbow flag's time has come.


Posted by parent, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 2, 2013 at 8:12 am

Thank you for telling the bigots that they are not welcome in our city.


Posted by robit noops, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 2, 2013 at 8:14 am

I support same sex marriage.

I also agree this is a social issue, not a city issue. Library construction, light rail, midtown plaza, California Ave, downtown parking. Do your jobs.


Posted by Martin , a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 2, 2013 at 8:22 am

Does city council have nothing better to do? This is shameful in many ways.


Posted by Finn, a resident of Professorville
on Apr 2, 2013 at 8:26 am

I'm all in favor of same sex marriage. No hesitation or second thought. I'm also in favor of a local government that demonstrates some priorities. This is just the latest example of our city council weighing in on a feel good issue, and failing to address our pressing needs. Like someone said, nothing more than symbolism over substance.

Rather than focus on critical issues where they do have the ability to bring about change, like the severe budget deficit and inability to pay for our basic civic needs without a tax hike, they needlessly spin their wheels on issues such as this. When they do this, they appear even more irresponsible, out of touch, and unwilling or incapable of solving the major problems we face. Just burying their heads in the sand and flying a flag to have something to all agree on and feel good about.


Posted by Isolde, a resident of Walter Hays School
on Apr 2, 2013 at 8:44 am

I support gay marriage, but the City Council has no business doing this. It simply is not their place or purpose. They should stick to the job they were elected to do and take care of city issues, not social issues.

I suspect that they are trying to divert attention away from all of their messy screw-ups, and make themselves look better. It won't work; this is just adding to their mess and making them look downright idiotic.


Posted by Supports-Traditional-Marriage, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2013 at 9:46 am

This City Council had trouble condemning the attacks on the American people by the terrorists who killed three thousand people on 9/11, 2001. This Council had trouble directing the City to fly flags to help show support for the people of New York City, and the Military that lost family members at the Pentagon.

This Council has yet to see a crime problem here in Palo Alto. When a police officer was found guilty of illegally detaining, and sexually assaulting young women'this Council sat on the side lines and did nothing. When a Police Chief made a casual remark about the street police keeping an eye on non-residents wearing gang colors'this Council became catatonic, lambasting that Chief for 'racism''when no such racism existed. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

When the Utility was found to be so corrupt that upwards of 20 people were disciplined/discharged'the Council just yawned, and looked the other way.

To claim that this issue is the 'pressing civil rights issue' is simply insane. There is nothing in our legal system that relates this level of government to the institution of marriage'which is a State issue.

California has voted on this issue. The City Council's opinion is meaningless'other to demonstrate that once again, the Palo Alto City Council is detached, and should be voted out frequently, to keep this level of embarrassment at a minimum.

Marriage is a State issue. This Council's resolution is meaningless.


Posted by Ferd Nerdlinger, a resident of Los Altos
on Apr 2, 2013 at 10:03 am

Supporting Equality?

Cool. Very cool.

Bigots beware!


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 10:13 am

I thought that this was a wacky APRIL FOOLS joke! I guess that the only "fools" are those who are speaking (morally) for everyone else without our consent and using their wasted position to drown out the views of others.


Posted by motherof 2, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 10:24 am

totally disappointed with the city council decision! they have NOT spend our tax payer monies wisely to resolve over blew city employee pensions, budget expenses, and other citywide critical issues. why should we need them?


Posted by Wrong, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 10:38 am

This is a city of mixed views on prop 8 and this flag is speaking for all of Palo Alto. Why raise a flag that says our city supports this when in fact it doesn't by all Palo Alto residents?


Posted by Bob , a resident of Community Center
on Apr 2, 2013 at 10:46 am

Soooooooo, Nancy Shepherd, Greg Schmid, and Pat Burt were absent? How convenient....
especially in case they might plan to run for higher office where their opinions might count. This way they didn't have to show their "rainbow colors". Ever notice how many city council members are absent during critical contentious votes? It's a pattern. It's called civic-cowardness. You were elected, remember!! You three should have been there to 'show your colors'. Or was this the easy way out? This council can't even run the city without an expensive consultant. So what is next from this council? Where and how do we finally draw the line?!


Posted by Sammy, a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 10:49 am

Why just city hall. Fly the rainbow flag at libraries and fire stations!


Posted by al, a resident of University South
on Apr 2, 2013 at 10:58 am

Really pleased and proud of my city council for this. Great decision, and please disregard the hateful reactions. Being on the right side of history won't make you popular all the time, but the people reacting in anger about this don't seem like they're happy about much of anything.

Good job!


Posted by So?, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 11:14 am

A no big deal issue being made into a big deal by a few cranks. I'm over it. Lets move forward. This is not worth the discussion.
Yes, PA stands against discrimination and discriminating practices. Good, now back to work on the real issues.


Posted by Annette, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 2, 2013 at 11:15 am

Amazing that this was NOT an April Fools story. I support gay marriage but also submit that we cannot pick and choose when we want government involved in personal issues. Liking the message that this flag sends is one thing but treating this as a municipal issue is another thing altogether. That our Council even had this on the agenda tells me once again that City Hall runs the Council and our Council doesn't understand what its responsibilities are or what they are not.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 11:32 am

OK. Why not fly the POW-MIA flag?

As stated in another thread, we are pro-marriage for everyone. But this is a political & legal issue that is in the Supreme Court. Not appropriate at all.


Posted by Skeptical, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 2, 2013 at 11:46 am

One disturbing aspect of these discussions is how some are very quick to label the other side as "haters" or "bullies." This is either intellectual laziness, because you don't want to actually engage the content of what that person says. Or worse, you want to frighten the other person by making them feel that their opinion could cause them to be labeled in such a negative way.

Most folks on this board expressing their opposition to flag flying first say that they are pro-gay-marriage, but that they oppose the flag flying on the basis of proper role of city government. Others are against gay marriage -- which we should not forget that a majority of people do...including President Obama until his very recent conversion (and President Clinton for his whole time in office).

So let's agree to apply the "haters" or "bullies" labels only in the far fewer cases (including some posts here) where they apply. Otherwise, you're just being a bully and a hater.

So


Posted by Disgusted in Midtown, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 12:06 pm

They also endorsed the High Speed Rail, and didn't see the chaos with retiree pensions coming back to bite them. This is a volunteer group of people that think way too highly of themselves. It's posturing at our expense. Fix the infrastructure. Keene must have meant this as an April 1 joke. It got out of hand. Jokes on us.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 12:29 pm

@ al: Why do you feel the need to dismiss those who might disagree with your views on the subject as "hateful?"

Remember: Just because a person may believe in the traditional, gender-specific definition of a civil contract known as "marriage," it doesn't mean that they are being "hateful" or "bigoted." If you truly believe this, then you don't understand the debate (or, at least, the other side of the debate).

HOWEVER, this isn't about the "right" or "wrong" about the definition of "marriage" itself. It is about whether or not local politicians should have the ability to take a position on a matter (that reflects, of course, their own position) and then fly it (literally) as a flag above the city.

What if the council believed the opposite? Would you be happy if a city leaders decided to hang a "Prop 8" flag in front of City Hall?


Posted by jerry99, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Stop wasting timd on social issues. Homosexuals only make up 3% of the male population and less than 1% of the female population and this issue is just a smokescreen to avoid talking about the 14% unemployment/part time employment rates. And being talked up daily by the network news.
The Palo Alto City Council needs to worry about the violent crime in downtown Palo Alto, the severe lack of parking in downtown Palo Alto, the large number of illegal aliens in Palo Alto schools that are driving up our education costs, and get off their rear ends and start negotiating with the unions to stop these outrageous public service pensions. And stop the nonsense with the plastic bag ban- we have 46 million people on food stamps that can be out 10 hours/week picking up plastic bottles and bags.
Enough with the nonsense already.


Posted by moi, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm

>>> bob --

You said PRECISELY what I was going to say, but I'll say it anyway:

Vice Mayor Nancy Shepherd and Councilmen Pat Burt and Greg Schmid were conveniently absent.


Posted by Sylvia, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I am proud of our council for this vote and for agreeing to fly the rainbow flag.

All of you who say that council should be focused on other things, come on! How much time does this take? We need to buy a flag and, whoever puts up the US flag and the state flag, puts that one up as well.

I think saying you want council to focus on "city" things is a smoke screen.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:09 pm

@ Sylvia: The difference is that you are completely entitled to fly a flag in your own front yard. The city shouldn't do this because they aren't speaking for everyone in the city.

There is a significant portion of the population that disagrees with a redefinition of "marriage" to lose gender distinction. Remember: Marriage is both the name of a civil contract (that is gender specific) and the name of a sacrament.

There are many people who cannot consider a "marriage" to be the union between two homosexuals.

This isn't saying that they believe that homosexuals shouldn't have the same rights and privileges of a civil contract (because most of those opposed to a redefinition of the term "marriage" wouldn't fight against "contract rights" of homosexuals); rather, the NAME is what is in dispute.

There is a "gender distinction" to the civil contract known as "marriage" -- as well as other parameters which restrict it to just one man and one woman who aren't closely related by blood. "Marriage" is a gender-specific civil contract. Any man can marry any woman (and vice versa). The "right" is to a civil contract and it should be extended to ALL people -- regardless of who they "love." However, the NAME is what is in dispute.

Like it or not, there is a significant portion of the population (about half) that does not believe that the term "marriage" should be extended beyond the current definition. However, most of those same people think that the civil contracts (with all of the rights and privileges) should be extended to any two consenting adults. They just don't want it called a "marriage."

Does that make more sense in regard to the views of the majority of voters who voted in 2008 for a Constitutional Amendment that would retain the current, traditional definition of the civil contract known as "marriage?"

But this is all beside the point.

The point in this discussion goes beyond the definition of "marriage" or the extent of gay rights itself. This is about whether or not politicians should fly a flag that declares this city to support "gay marriage" (or, homosexuality in general since the rainbow flag was adopted for homosexuality and not just gay marriage).

Someone cited that 70% or more of Palo Alto voters supported gay marriage. 75% does not equal 100%.

How would you feel if you were gay and lived in a city that believed in the traditional definition of "marriage" and that NO RIGHTS should be extended to gays? Would you support that city's "right" to display a "heterosexuality pride" or "heterosexuality only" flag?

Of course not.

It is not the city's business to proclaim the city's stand on moral, social or even politician issues when a significant portion (minority or not) disagrees. Like I said in the other article, I suspect that most of our city believes in religious liberty of Christians. Does that mean that Palo Alto should fly the Christian flag or a cross on a flag above City Hall to show solidarity? Again: Of course not.

This is something that you would expect in the former Soviet Union and not in this country. "Tyranny of the majority" is wrong even when the majority thinks that they are in the right.


Posted by Joel, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Joel is a registered user.

Fantastic decision. Thank you Council members.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:15 pm

>"I see no possible argument why people shouldn't be allowed to marry whomever they wish," Scharff said.

Finally! Now we can have gay marriage, straight marriage and plural marriage. Social justice takes a long time, but it appears that we finally arriving!

I would expect Greg Scharff to support a Constitutional Amendment:

"Consenting Adults Are Allowed to Marry".

Six simple and direct words, with very little confusion.

Greg, are you ready?


Posted by Aquamarine, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm

John.

Unfortunately that will not work.

Consenting adults are not allowed to marry their parent, their child, their brother, their sister, their uncle, their aunt, their grandparent, their grandchild, their neice, their nephew.

Regardless of gender, there are too many people who may want to marry someone unsuitable.

Then, we have to look at whether each person is unmarried at the time of the marriage, do they have another spouse already? Do they have a live in lover and wish to marry someone else to allow them to become legal citizens? Do they wish to import a spouse from another country to gain their legal citizenship, then when they have been here long enough, divorce that spouse who now has citizenship so that they can both then marry a spouse from another country to bring them in to gain citizenship.

Marriage is a lot more complicated than two people who love each other consenting to spend the rest of their lives together in legal wedded bliss.




Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Maurice, a resident of Professorville
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Is this a joke? It is not the city's responsibility to proclaim any social issue as the city's official position. What a waste of effort at the expense of those with whom the politicians disagree.


Posted by Aquamarine, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:09 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by No redefining marriage, please, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:14 pm

This is only a diversion for the masses, like us, that pay PA's bills.
So what else is going on behind the scenes at City Hall right now, to warrant this diversion?

Jim Keene did not suggest to council that they spend much time pondering his staff's suggestion to clear cut all those beautiful mature trees on California Avenue, when that came before council a few years ago. Council's decision caused social chaos about that, as well.

They are too easily led. Our council people are not leaders, or even deep thinkers. They're followers (bag bans?). Vote them out.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:35 pm

"Do they wish to import a spouse from another country to gain their legal citizenship, then when they have been here long enough, divorce that spouse who now has citizenship so that they can both then marry a spouse from another country to bring them in to gain citizenship."

Oh My God! Expanding exponentially their numbers, whilst also breeding like rabbits, they are going to be producing future Democratic Party voters! Oh the horror, the horror (channeling Colonel Kurtz).

The Alien Apocalypse is upon us. World War A.

Seriously the City Council did an easy and great thing to join the right side of history at this juncture. It wasn't like it took hours of their time to do the vote, fly the flag. And it adds to the national momentum for a much needed change.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by food for thought, a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:37 pm

You people really need to get a law dictionary.

"Marriage" is defined under the law as "Legal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife. Singer vs. Hara, 11 Wash. App. 247, 522 P.2d 1187,1193. Marriage, as distinguished from the agreement to marry and from the act of becoming married, is the legal status, condition, or relation of one man and one woman united in law for life, or until divorce, for the discharge to each other and the community of the duties legally incumbent on those whose association is founded on the distinction of sex. A contract, according to form proscribed by law, by which a man and woman are capable of entering into such contract mutually engage with each other to live their whole lives (or until divorce) together in a state of union which ought to exist between a husband and wife. The word also signifies the act, ceremony, or formal proceeding by which persons take each other for husband and wife. ... (This is from Black's Law Dictionary. 5th Ed.)


By the way, you don't need a LICENSE TO GET MARRIED UNLESS:

Marriage License: A license or permission granted by public authority to persons WHO INTEND TO "INTERMARRY", usually addressed to the minister or magistrate who is to preform the ceremony, or, in general terms, to any one authorized to solemnize marriages. By statute in most jurisdiction, it is made an essential prerequisite to the lawful solemnization of the marriage.

Intermarriage (i.e. intermarry): See Miscegenation.

Miscegenation (Black's Law definition) - Mixture of races, marriage between persons of different races, as between a white and a Negro.


Mixed Marriages (part of law definition of marriage): A marriage between persons of different nationalities or religions, or, more particularly, between persons of different racial origins; as between a white person and a Negro or an Indian.



I could continue with more definitions to make the point, but this should be good enough. Now, don't take my word for it. Go look up all the law definitions yourself.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Rachel, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:41 pm

This city council is worthless. They don't want to tackle the real problems in this town. So they waste time discussing social issues.
When will the citizens of this town wake up and demand more from their city leaders?


Posted by Maurice, a resident of Professorville
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:42 pm

A Noun, it is not the responsibility of the city to take a position on behalf of all residents. To share this is not to "hate" or "whine." It is simply pointing out that the city is not supposed to speak for everyone on every controversial issue.


Posted by council oversteps bounds, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:44 pm

but while they're at it, can they get the US out of all the wars and balance the federal budget? if not, go back to what you're supposed to be doing. City business.


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Apr 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm

I think we can be fairly certain that the city council was under no illusion that they actually spoke for EVERYONE in PA when they proclaimed support for equal rights for gay citizens. Wind the clock back to 1962 or so and, had the council back then proclaimed support for the Voter's Rights Act, desegregation, etc., not everyone in Palo Alto would have been in agreement then either. But it still would have been the right thing to do for all the right reasons. Just as it is today.

I think I do need to get a law dictionary. That way I can interject inane and irrelevant comments during work meetings, disputes with spouse and/or kids, to people in traffic when stopped at a light, etc.


Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 3:40 pm

>John.

Unfortunately that will not work.

Consenting adults are not allowed to marry their parent, their child, their brother, their sister, their uncle, their aunt, their grandparent, their grandchild, their neice, their nephew.

Regardless of gender, there are too many people who may want to marry someone unsuitable.

Resident,

You express much of the same bigotry that has been used against gay marriage (unnatural, non-traditional, etc.). Just allow consenting adults to make their own free choices. A good starting point (low hanging fruit) is to allow plural marriage, without prejudice. This is a no brainer.

I would hope that Greg Scharff would agree, as his statement implies.


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 2, 2013 at 4:54 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 5:03 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

The point of discussion isn't about the rights or wrongs of homosexuality or homosexual marriage. This is about whether or not city politicians should hang flags based upon the social or moral issues that they agree with.

I suspect that you would loudly complain about any town that flies an anti-homosexual marriage flag, right? What about an anti-abortion flag? Anti-Obamacare flag? What about a flag with a Christian symbol (since the majority still consider themselves Christians)?

It isn't the job of the city or politicians in the city to proclaim the city's position on issues like this.


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Nayeli --- yes the council should hang flags if they feel they represent the feelings of the majority of residents ( and they do) .
In this day and age, with more than 50% of people supporting gay marriage, one would be hard pressed to find " anti- homosexual marriage " flag flying in many places. Except for those towns dominated by Christians ( probably in the south, Oklahoma). You would probably find those other flags flying there as well. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] We are lucky we live in a heterogeneous society in California, where tolerance is a way of life and not in some small town in Mississippi or Oklahoma that is all white and gays are an endangered species (and of course Christianity is the leading religion).


Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 5:23 pm

>John has posted his bogus argument on many threads on this forum dealing with gay marriage. They are irrelevant to the discussion.

No, they are not. It is about bigotry. I am not religious, at all, but I am a civil libertarian. Consenting adults should be allowed to marry, without the bigots, straight or gay, opposing them.

This is as a clear as the day is long. There is no rational, non-bigoted argument, that holds up to scrutiny.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by SamirTuma, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 8:26 pm

SamirTuma is a registered user.

To those who say they support the civil rights issue of gay marriage, but believe that elected official should not play a role, please remember one of the defining moments in this struggle.

Nine year ago, San Francisco's elected City Attorney, Dennis Herrera, chose to take a stand against the Prop 8, and filed a lawsuit to have the ban on same sex marriage struck down.

The New York Times recently stated that "The move was also the beginning of a kind of civil disobedience movement by government officials."

Herrera pointed out that "we got a lot of heat at the time" for taking this action.

The article goes on to point out that "San Francisco's strategy eventually spread to the State of California and the federal government. Instead of defending state and federal laws defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, President Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown of California urged courts to hold them unconstitutional."

Have a look at the whole article and see just how important a role elected officials have played in this battle. Web Link

If this elected official has stayed on the sidelines, would we be where we are today? I think not.

I wholeheartedly support this move by our Palo Alto elected officials, and believe that through public support to eliminate bias, we will be better off as a society.


Posted by Claude Ezran, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 2, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Claude Ezran is a registered user.

This makes me particularly proud to be a Palo Altan today!


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2013 at 12:04 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

Nayeli - what does an anti-abortion flag look like? How about an "Obamacare" flag? An anti-gay marriage flag? Since you're so into flags, are you going to design them? [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2013 at 9:05 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ Hmmm: I thought that it was obvious that I was making a point and not describing a real flag. The point that I was (again, obviously) making is that it is not the role of local politicians to proclaim one "flag" or "banner" for a group, sub-group or social group and fly it over city hall.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2013 at 9:25 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ Not an issue:

So, because a majority of local voters feels something about a current issue, the city politicians should take a position that speaks for EVERYONE?

No.

They do not speak for me or a significant number of the city's population. It would be easy to say, "Well, we are in the right" or "The other group is comprised of bigots" (*which seems to be the popular accusation or slur); however, this still doesn't make it right for a group of politicians to proclaim their view to be the city's view on the matter.

After all, more than half of voters supported Prop 8 in 2008. Should all of the towns and cities where the majority supported the amendment have the Prop 8 banner flown over city hall?

Obviously not.

You mentioned those cities what would make a flag about other issues. Which cities have done this? I did a Google search and couldn't find a single "Conservative" city that flies a flag over the city in regard to an issue. Should they have the ability to do that? No.

I may be anti-abortion, but I don't believe that local politicians who are anti-abortion should speak for everyone.
I may be anti-capital punishment, but I don't believe that local politicians should fly a banner that reflects their opinion of the matter in a manner that would speak for the city.
I may be against the legalization of prostitution, but that doesn't mean that I support flying a flag over the city that reflects it.

Which other issues do you see politicians flying banners -- even if they feel to be in the "right?" Where would it end? If they did this each time that they felt to be collectively right about an issue, the city hall would be filled with flagpoles and flags.

Again, this isn't about who or what is right or wrong with homosexual marriage debate. It is about whether local politicians should take THEIR position and fly it as a banner over the city as though it speaks for ALL of us. It doesn't. I would feel the same even if it were an issue that I supported.

"Diversity" isn't limited to race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. The embrace of diversity means that we must embrace the notion that some people will disagree with us socially, politically and economically. We are not supposed to drown out the opinions or voices of those with whom we may disagree or herald one as the one that the "city" supports.

Voltaire said, "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." This quote has been repeated by several US presidents in regard to the voice and opinions of the minority.

By the way, no one is "fearful" of the flag itself (as someone earlier suggested). Physically speaking, it is simply a colorful piece of fabric. The issues isn't even about what that particular flag represents. This issue is about city politicians who have taken a stand on an issue and decided to speak for ALL of the community by flying it (like old-world conquerors) over the city and the opinions of others.

I imagine that many, many people would speak out if the city had taken the opposite view and wanted to fly a Prop 8 flag over the city -- and rightfully so. This would have been true in Palo Alto or in a city where the majority supported the amendment. It isn't the responsibility of politicians to herald a position for the entire city at the expense of the view of a significant minority.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2013 at 10:30 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

Nayeli - how do you know if it is the role of local politicians to do so or not? Local politicians were crucial throughout the civil rights movement that gave you many of your rights. A local politician got the call rolling for marriage equality in this state. Please, show us where it is written that local politicians need to stay out of civil rights issues that they seem important.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2013 at 11:08 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

Hi Hmmm,

I know it because it isn't the norm and it isolates and alienates the views of a significant minority in this city.

Now, I am not saying that local politicians can't try to push or legislate their views. However, they cannot speak for the ENTIRE city based upon their own views.

Again, what if the flag was something different...something that you disagreed with? What if it were some other issue?

What if it were a flag depicting some stand against capital punishment flag? I am opposed to capital punishment, but I don't want a politician proclaiming that the city opposes capital punishment -- because it would be under the pretense that others don't agree with the practice.

This is a terrible precedent being set. I suspect that a homosexual would feel terribly uncomfortable living in a town where the local politicians flew an anti-homosexual flag that reflected the fact that a majority of local residents opposed homosexuality or homosexual marriage.

I am saying that it is just as wrong for our local politicians to fly a pro-gay marriage flag over city hall as it would be for politicians in Topeka, Kansas to fly an anti-gay marriage flag over their city hall.

The politicians are speaking for themselves -- and they are totally entitled to do so. Their opinion may be shared by many (even a majority) but they should never pretend to "speak for the city" in such things.

A few years ago when Prop 8 passed by a majority vote, advocates of gay marriage claimed that "majority votes" shouldn't decide hotly-debated issues like this. Now, some of those same individuals here are saying that our local politicians are to be commended for this because it reflects the view of the majority in Palo Alto.

It just isn't the place of local politicians to speak for the entire city. Even if we agree with their views, it is much too Orwellian for society.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2013 at 11:34 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] It's just like in previous decades when your town wouldn't sell houses to minorities. History repeats itself vis a vis citizens wanting to control their bigoted message. Good luck w/that.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2013 at 11:36 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

Oh - and how do you envision the anti-homosexual flag? You mention it so often, you must have some idea.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

Hi Hmmm...

I made this clear earlier. I don't "envision" any anti-gay marriage flag in my own mind -- even if I do favor the traditional gender-specific definition of "marriage."

My position, as I indicated previously, is that "marriage" is both the name of one gender-specific type of civil contract (and civil contracts should available to EVERY couple) and also the name of a religious sacrament. The people who oppose a redefinition of "marriage" are upset about the NAME of the contract being changed rather than the rights afforded by the name. Most would have no problem giving the SAME rights, privileges and protections as a civil contract that is designated as something other than gender-specific and religious designation "marriage."

Someone previously mentioned that the government shouldn't be in the marriage business at all but in the contract business. That might be a good idea. Like it or not, there are many people who would not consider the civil contract between homosexuals a "marriage" due to moral, religious, cultural or traditional reasons. Yet, those same people would recognize a gender-specific civil contract between two homosexuals under any other name.

This "compromised" explanation is often lost in the "fog of war" (debate) where the popular media often tends to refer to the traditional view of marriage as the product of simple "bigotry" or "prejudice." In reality, it is the result of hundreds of years of tradition, precedent and religious faith. Most people -- including Christians -- have no problem with civil contracts for ALL people. The difference, however, is in forcing people (via legislation) to ignore their own deeply-held religious, moral or cultural beliefs and accept a redefinition of one of those gender-specific contracts and sacraments ("marriage").

But, once again, this is all beside the point. The point is that the local politicians are not here to declare a stand on behalf of the city that reflects their own views -- especially when a significant minority of the population disagrees. To the ideologue (who will claim that they are right and everyone else is wrong), they have no problem with a political, moral or social stand that reflects their own. However, if the shoe was on the other foot, they would probably sing a different tune.

As for the "flag:" Please refer to my previous comment in which I answered your question. I think that it is clear that I was making a point about flags and potential flags that represent beliefs in general. Regardless of where we (or they) stand on issues, it simply isn't the role of local politicians to lift one belief over the others and declare it as "right" or representative of the entire city.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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