Council rejects mayor’s request to support marriage equality
SNOHOMISH - At the July 3 City Council meeting, Mayor Karen Guzak brought forth an opportunity for the city of Snohomish to join a nationwide marriage equality movement.
The City Council didn’t want to get involved.
Guzak said she would like to sign the national initiative “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry,” but she wanted the support of the council first.
“Mayors” is a nonpartisan group of mayors who “believe that all people should be able to share in the love and commitment of marriage,” according to the group’s website. The group’s board is made up of the mayors of New York City, Boston, Houston, San Diego and Los Angeles.
In this state, the mayors of Seattle, Shoreline, Stanwood, Redmond, Vancouver, Des Moines, Ferndale, Issaquah, Olympia and Burien have signed the initiative.
In Snohomish, Councilman Derrick Burke was Guzak’s sole supporter.
Councilwoman Lynn Schilaty said she was “not comfortable” with the idea of Snohomish’s mayor signing the initiative, and that signing something like this would be a “slippery slope” into dabbling in affairs that don’t necessarily concern the city.
Councilmen Paul Kaftanski and Dean Randall both agreed with Schilaty, affirming they did not think the issue is in the purview of the council.
Randall said that as the president of his church, he had to concur with the church’s official stance.
“We believe that marriage is between one man and one woman,” Randall said, and added that the issue “is really out of our area of responsibility.”
Guzak said she was not surprised at the council’s reaction.
“I would be very proud to sign on to marriage equality, but because I serve the council, I wanted to have the council’s blessing on this,” Guzak said.
The city of Snohomish has a “weak mayor” form of government where the mayor is selected by the council and doesn’t act independently of the council.
Guzak said she didn’t think it would be “worth it” to bring up the issue again.
“It’s a long process, and it’s been working for years through our culture, and it’s not really a priority for our council,” Guzak said.