Durham City Council opposes state ban on gay marriage

CorrespondentJuly 21, 2011 

— The Durham City Council unanimously passed a resolution today opposing a statewide referendum on a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Councilwoman Diane Catotti did not attend the meeting but sent an e-mail supporting the resolution, Councilman Eugene Brown said.

The resolution is intended to send a message to the Republican-controlled legislature that the city opposes a push for a 2012 referendum on an amendment to the constitution that reaffirms a state law banning same-sex marriage. It could possibly invalidate other recognitions of same-sex partnerships, such as the city’s domestic partnership benefits and lead to litigation.

The resolution states that the city has shown "its commitment to making Durham a welcoming community for gay and lesbian resident by formally extending health care benefits to same sex domestic partners of city employees and with their legal dependents in 2002," and passing a resolution supporting marriage equality in 2009.

Carrboro and Chapel Hill, which offer domestic partner benefits and allow people to register at their town halls as domestic partners, are already on record opposing a constitutional amendment.

"This is one of our legislative priorities and has been for some time," said Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, who is gay. "We've asked our legislators to oppose any amendment that may be introduced."

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