Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart said Tuesday that he's unlikely to propose a new resolution in support of gay marriage until opponents earn enough signatures to force the issue on the ballot.
At Monday's council meeting, Stuckart warned that he might repeatedly bring a resolution forward until the council takes a stance on the resolution, but he moderated that position today.
Stuckart said that since the City Council has previously taken positions on state ballot items, there is precedent for reconsidering the resolution if repeal of gay marriage makes it to a public vote.
If forced to take a vote on the resolution, council members agree it would be approved in a 5-2 vote. But two supporters of gay marriage, Mike Allen and Steve Salvatori, say the council shouldn't vote on it. They argue that it's not a local issue.
When he requested to table the resolution, Councilman Mike Fagan pointed to a council rule that says, “The Council shall not consider or pass any ordinance or resolution the subject matter of which is not directly related to local affairs or municipal business.”
Stuckart said the overflow turnout at the meeting, which attracted about 300 people — 93 of whom testified — is proof that the issue is local and affects the citizenry.
“I can't see why that's outside the city's business,” he said.
Councilman Jon Snyder, who proposed the nonbinding resolution considered last night, said today that he's “still processing” the meeting.
“The whole debate about marriage equality and how it effects the city of Spokane is certainly not done, not for an instant,” Snyder said.
The resolution was meant to show that Spokane is a welcoming place for gays and lesbians, but by the end of the evening some who spoke said the testimony was sending the opposite message.
Snyder said he doesn't regret sponsoring the resolution.
“To me, the one thing that was clear was that it was a community conversation that we needed to have,” Snyder said.