Anyone who has been to a city council meeting knows that it can be an exercise in endurance. Last night’s Durham, North Carolina, City Council meeting was a long two and a half hour ordeal. For the first 45 minutes, various awards were handed out. The next hour was spent on recycling, which has been discussed in depth at meetings, online and in the newspaper for months. This was tabled, thank goodness. I’m sure people were there for the recycling debate and to watch civil servants receive well-deserved kudos; however, there was one clear reason why the room was packed on a Monday night at 9:15 pm.: There was a resolution before the council to support same-sex marriage.
The room was packed with supporters of the measure who had signed up to speak. There was one person in the room who wished to speak against the resolution. Mayor Bill Bell called for a vote, did not let anyone speak, and the resolution was unanimously passed! Everyone (except the one person against the resolution) cheered, yelled and left the council to finish its work.
So what does this say about Durham, the resolution or anything about same-sex marriage? This resolution is not binding in any way, nor does it change the law in either the city or state. But by approving this resolution, this small Southern city with a history of unequal treatment of races has gone on the record to say that it believes equal rights should be for everyone, and that the ability to marry should be based on the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees that all of us are equal under the law.
Good for you, Durham.