Bellamy votes against same-sex partner benefits: What do you think?

During her last campaign, Mayor Terry Bellamy avoided taking a position on whether or not the city should provide same-sex domestic-partner benefits to its employees. At last night’s Asheville City Council meeting, she left little doubt to where she stood, stating her opposition to such benefits and voting against pursuing them. Does Bellamy’s vote help or harm your opinion of the mayor?

In an Xpress questionnaire before last year’s primary election, Bellamy declined to say whether she would support or oppose the benefits, instead asserting that city employees’ benefits already exceed the state requirements.

“The city currently exceeds the Federal Family Leave Act requirements by offering Family Leave to employees, which can be used for any family member (including domestic partners),” Bellamy wrote. “Additionally, the city adheres to the state’s law on medical insurance offerings for employees.”

Last night, after a presentation by Council member Gordon Smith, Council voted 4-2 in support of domestic-partner benefits. While the vote does not implement the benefits, it indicates Council’s support for the concept. City staff will investigate the matter, craft a resolution and return it to Council for a vote in March. Along with Bellamy, Council member Jan Davis voted against the concept, stating he didn’t feel he had adequate background on the cost it might entail.

Bellamy was clear about her opposition to the benefits, in concept or otherwise, stating: “I’m not going to support the motion. I’m not going to support it now and I’m not going to support it when the information comes back.”

Voters overwhelmingly supported Bellamy’s bid for re-election last year. Readers, how does her stance against the provision of same-sex domestic-partnership benefits affect your opinion of her as mayor? If the election were held today, would you vote differently?

— David Forbes, staff writer

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140 thoughts on “Bellamy votes against same-sex partner benefits: What do you think?

  1. Angela Pippinger

    Because she has avoided the issue all together & try to say she opposed based upon how the issue was raised before council was the reason why she refuses to support, you bet my opinion has changed. There is something shifty about an individual who won’t be honest and upfront. I am all for gay rights but I could respect her more if she was honest. Since she can’t be upfront she isn’t fit to lead. I won’t ever vote for her for anything involving a government position.

  2. TJ

    She has forever lost a voter here … and I heard several of the same comments leaving the meeting … Watch Out Terry in 2013 !

  3. Sage

    She will trot out the old religious excuse. To try and hide her bigotry.

    I would like to know if she considers the healthcare concerns of her family “political issues”?

    She can FORGET about getting any support from gays or progressives for her higher office fantasy.

  4. Sue

    I believe that people should live the way they believe is right for them. I do however have a problem with recognizing same sex and NOT common law. If same sex is ok and the bible says it is not, why do we not recognize a man and woman in love but want or need to remain single?

    I think if one is addressed same should be for both. No one ever wants to address the man and woman in love that just want that life without the paper. I think we should let fair be fair and right apply to all. City council needs to address this too.

  5. Sage

    We don’t live in a Christian Theocracy. The Bible is irrelevant to this discussion.

    It’s not like Asheville is the first city in the country to do this.

  6. Bugg

    She tried to take drinking away from Bele Chere a few years ago because of her Baptist views. This should be no surprise.

  7. johncopeland

    I agree with Sage. Terry Bellamy, Mayor, Asheville, NC, “will trot out the ‘OLD’ religious excuse to try and hide her bigotry”. Why is that Bellamy, as a christian, fails to follow the teachings of her own spiritual leader sho said that the second greatest commandment was for all “to love one another”?! I hope that the progressive voters of Asheville will see fit to replace Bellamy asap.

  8. TPaineification

    SHOCKED…of all the cities in the south Asheville NEEDS to provide leadership for this issue; our mayor needs to boldly call us into the brighter future – a future that doesn’t have second-class citizens. i am ashamed of the mayor. i am embarrassed for her. and if her rejection hinges on some religious notion and she hides behind some fiduciary obfuscation her remaining tenure will be bleak. where have i been? was this to be expected? please tell me.

  9. Joel Wise

    I am one of those ‘born again Christians’ just like Terry Bellamy. I for one am glad that she is doing what she knows is right before GOD no matter what anyone thinks! GOD does not hate homosexuals, HE hate homosexuality. HE created “all” life and HE doesn’t hate any of HIS creation. However man was made for woman and the other way around. We as humans want to justify everything we do by saying we are just animals and that there is no GOD. Homosexuality is wrong and Terry is voting her conscience. Praise GOD for that. One day we will all take our last breath and stand before HIM. HE does love you and sent HIS son JESUS to die to pay for all our sins. To all you sceptics that just want your way and want to push it on everybody else just remember, we’re all going to give an account after we die. You might just say “you’re wrong”. Ok, but, what if I’m right??

  10. AK

    God will not be mocked and He calls homosexuality “vile”, “reprobate”, “unnatural” and “filled with all unrighteousness and wickedness”. To the previous commentators: be as liberal and as proud of it as you personally care to be. But do not also ask nor expect me and the thousands of other Godly people in this city to support your wicked lifestyles. Same sex couples are anathema to God and thus to me. They wallow gleefully in sin as a pig does in muck and mire. Fine. God will judge them and their end will be eternity in a literal hell. But while here it is both indefensible and horrendous to ask me, through my city taxes, to support them and their wicked lifestyle.

  11. Lisa Morphew

    In a city that was in a great part brought back to life by lesbian and gay business people Terry Bellamy has proven once and for all that she will not support the hearts and social needs of a large percentage of her supporters. The family as we once knew it no longer exists and to deny gay and lesbian and transgendered people trying to build and support families the same rights, benefits and support is not only immoral but has no basis in law. Being a lesbian was not a choice for me. I pay taxes, raised a gentle loving child with my partner and have volunteered and contributed to this community for 24 years. My family like many good families was what I work for. Shame on you Terry Bellamy for not being the fearless leader your city needed. It is never right to discriminate, never.

  12. Anne

    I will no longer support Mayor Bellamy in any way. For a minority to vote against another minority is horrendous and insulting.

  13. Piffy!

    [b]If same sex is ok and the bible says it is not, why do we not recognize a man and woman in love but want or need to remain single? [/b]

    Well, if they remain single, then they aren’t exactly a couple, are they?

  14. shadmarsh

    During her last campaign, Mayor Terry Bellamy avoided taking a position on whether or not the city should provide same-sex domestic-partner benefits to its employees.

    This is not true. If you read, or listened, to what she said during the campaign she stated she was against it, tho she never gave a clear reason, and her language in describing her stance was anything but clear. nevertheless if you wanted to know what she thought of DPB for city employees the info was there. If you are shocked by her stance on this, then you haven’t been paying attention.

  15. Whatever

    The Mayor took a bold stand. She went with traditional family values and common sense politics. She knew that in this economic climate that further taxing the city for such benefits would be a failure. “Sage” probably doesn’t even know the woman personally yet she calls Terry, an african-american woman who has weathered a fair share of B.S., a bigot. Not fair. She’s a good, caring person. So what if she didn’t bend to the will of the minority of city workers who are gay! Get over it. And no, the Bible is never irrelevant. Some people use it to guide their moral decisions and social responsibilities, but you can’t possibly understand that if you label everyone who disagrees with your lifestyle a ‘bigot.’ Being Gay is a CHOICE…living in Asheville is a CHOICE…having adult conversation about the matter is a CHOICE. Let’s choose wisely.

  16. Asheville Resident

    I was shocked to see the hate and bigotry Terry showed last night by denying Asheville employees the right to their own benefits. Several other cities in North Carolina are already offering the benefits that Terry so strongly opposes. I firmly believe that any financial reason to oppose equality is a ridiculous claim. Should we deny benefits to other minority groups? It’s easier right? I mean, there are fewer of “them” to fight back, right? Absurd. The majority should never have the right to vote for the rights of the minority.

    I have not lost hope in Terry, but feel that at this time she simply cannot be a good leader as she does not uphold the principle of liberty and justice for all. Therefore, Terry has lost my vote.

  17. Jon Barnard

    Why are people surprised? Disappointed? Sure. But no one should be surprised.

    After 9-11 Bellamy joined Republicans Mumpower and Dunn in voting to change city policy and ban non-citizens from city advisory boards. Wave that flag, Terry, wave it wide and high! Personally, I would rather council get the best advice possible from legal city residents and stakeholders, whatever passport they hold. And as someone who had just moved to town, with a foreign spouse and two foreign-born children, I was appalled at the xenophobic timing. Happily, moderate Democrats Ellis and Worley joined progressives Jones and Peterson to defeat the bill.

    Bellamy has always been a social conservative and always will be.

  18. cwaster

    “We don’t live in a Christian Theocracy. The Bible is irrelevant to this discussion. ”

    As much as some people would like it to be a theocracy this is true. Either way, shiftiness does not get my vote.

  19. travelah

    Good for her. I can’t vote for her in any event but I think she reflects the interests of the sensible people of Asheville.

  20. travelah

    shadmarsh, this is another opportunity for you to go after the groundswell. What say ye to the masses?

  21. katie

    I’m lost for words, disappointment doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about Mayor Bellamy’s comments last night. Another vote gone!

  22. Sage

    She is on the record now opposing basic fairness and in favor of discrimination. It will be great fun reminding anyone in DC about it if she tries to get a job up there with the current administration.

  23. terry Smith

    it shouldn’t suprise me that when the people who support you through two terms will now turn against Mayor Bellamy over one issue. People who are one issue voters have a hard time seeing the entire picture. Mayor Bellamy if she decides to run for a 3rd term she has my vote. Not because of this stand but because of the quality service she has provided as a leader for Asheville. And as far as healthcare the last place i want goverment is being involved in private citizens home. A piece of paper doe not a marriage or partnership make but love is what makes them both. I have many gay and lesbian friends and i think they deserve the same basic rights as anyone else. I love Asheville and i hope Asheville will forever remain wierd.

  24. Piffy!

    yr welcome to scurry back to that enclave of Christian Fundamentalism known as South Carolina, anytime the scary gay people get too much for you and your urges travelah.

  25. Ken Hanke

    Being Gay is a CHOICE…living in Asheville is a CHOICE…having adult conversation about the matter is a CHOICE. Let’s choose wisely

    A lot of people — myself included — would argue that first statement, but let it lie for a moment and go with it. So guess what? Believing in the Bible is a CHOICE. Voting for Terry Bellamy is a CHOICE. Not voting for her is also a choice — and from where I stand, the right one.

  26. terry Smith

    well then you have that right and i support you and affirm you in your stand.But who knows what may change in the next few weeks over this and the next few years before the mayoral election is up again. so far we have onlt had one mayor i couldn’t vote for to return to office and he was replaced by Bellamy. i try not to decide my vote 3 years in advance but the question was today and based on her record she would have my vote. i agree its not a issue for religion because the crusades proved how wrong fighting for religion can be. so lets just all wait and see. Keep Asheville weird

  27. Huh?

    Surprised? Are you all kidding? When was she ever for gay rights? She made it clear she wasn’t during the campaign. She lacked a strong challenger in the race is all.

    I could never understand why liberals love her so much. White guilt maybe?

  28. Jake

    I am disappointed our mayor opposes this civil rights measure. Being on the wrong side of history will limit her future political opportunities.

  29. Piffy!

    being an ignorant, hateful bigot though, is apparently NOT a CHOICE.

  30. Piffy!

    [b]Some people use it to guide their moral decisions and social responsibilities,[/b]

    Indeed. You should try reading it some time, bigot.

  31. spinmoon

    Too hilarious !! Does she realize that if it wasn’t for some forward thinkers,she wouldn’t be able to take any office. As far as the Bible beaters, God does know, and you are actually the ones going to hell. This is why the South lost the Civil War, why interracial marriage was OK’d in ’47-’48 in the West, and they didn’t come around until 1967,per the Supreme Court,integration,civil rights, a lot of gay/lesbian people gave those votes. With 52% of heterosexual marriages ending in divorce, can we really do much worse?
    Just like the ’50′s and prior,gay men and lesbians got into “sham” hetero marriages. Still have a problem, I suggest all gays and lesbians withold taxes that pay for services heteros enjoy!! Aside from that, leave your church and Bible to yourself, there is dozens of religions in this country.

  32. terry Smith

    blessed are the cheese makers great line from Life of Brian. i think now is a time to slow down take a deep breath. is this something we need to discuss yes, i hope a plan is formed thatis good for all. i disagree that Asheville is headed to hell in a hand basket. that is like saying Haiti got what they deserved according to Pat robinson. i hope that every family regardless of who they are and work for the city get the healthcare they deserve. those two ploice officers say i it all evryday when they go to work by protecting us. those people who cry no they don’t deserve health benfits will be the first to say thank you if they are helped out by thiose two officers. this proves once again why the church regardles of what church and gov’t just don’t mix well together.

  33. ROBERTO L. HESS

    I voted for Ms. Bellamy two times. I was excited to see an African American female rise in power in our little, beautiful, southern city. I thought “we will show the rest of the country that we are not afraid of women or racist…and we can have a black woman as mayor.” I was very proud of her and what she symbolized for our city. Now, I am deeply disappointed and insulted. I will not vote for her ever again, if she cannot uphold the American value of “EQUALITY”

  34. Ron Bashford

    As a matter of principal, the Mayor’s lack of support is very disappointing.

    Beyond that, Asheville’s leaders should know by now that the city’s economic growth depends on its increasingly progressive image, in the arts, life and politics. This is why people come here.

  35. Nate

    You would think that coming from a background of civil rights issues she would understand the struggles people with discrimination face. I guess power makes you blind, and privilege makes you heartless.

  36. LIFELONG RESIDENT

    Thank you Mayor Bellamy for your vote. I (as well as all lobbying for it) pay taxes and respect the laws and fellow citizens of Asheville. The state clearly defines marriage as terms for any obligation for benefits as the law dictates. To set precident is not the goal. You and Jan will be remembered and appreciated for clear judgement. The laws necessary to vote yes on this issue are not the business at hand. Please stand firm and be proud of your family values to be proud of.

  37. Jason

    Im gay and I did NOT choose to be gay; you can argue with me all you like, but I know the truth because I was BORN GAY.

  38. Sage

    Again, if those who heterosexual supremacists can’t get beyond their own hate then we as homosexuals should not have to pay taxes to support their lifestyle. And no one should have access to any benefits whatsoever.

  39. travelah

    pffstschtick, it is my hope you live in an adult only community, for the sake of the community and only the community.

  40. hauntedheadnc

    If the election were held today would I vote differently? Assuming we’re talking about the last election, the only other choices were a man who was running as a joke and a raving psychotic, as I recall, so unfortunately I would have to vote for Bellamy again. I’m extremely disappointed in her now, though.

  41. Daniel Withrow

    She’s lost my vote, and my respect. Good people can differ on issues reasonably–but bigotry is beyond the pale of reasonable civil discourse.

  42. Dionysis

    “Being Gay is a CHOICE”

    Perhaps you’d be willing to share with readers your own experience in making this choice. How old were you? How difficult was it (if at all) to ‘choose’? Did you find yourself equally attracted to both genders (which certainly would make such a ‘choice’ more difficult, although rendeting it an actual ‘choice’). Did your biblical background influence your own choice?

  43. Jacob

    If you give them this, then the next thing is they will want to be able to get married in NC. How can you let them have this when it is against the law anyway???

  44. Jason Ross Martin

    The real problem is the lack of a legal, binding arrangement for same-sex couples that would grant the legal framework that marriage provides for heterosexual couples. I do not believe the City Council should attempt to create one, however. I am in favor of gay rights, including a right to agree to a long-term, committed, legally recognized partnership like a marriage (although I do not think that term should be used because it has a religious connotation). But to just arbitrarily say you’re committed, and now are “domestic partners” and then get the legal and tax designations is unfair to heterosexual couples who are not married but co-habitate. Simply said, there needs to be a legal way for gay people to tie together their lives and fortunes if they want to. But until there is, I am against this policy.

  45. SweetTee

    If a person is not married by LAW, the other person is NOT considered a spouse! Whether a person is gay or not is irrelavant. Asheville needs to stop acting like gays are owed something because of their personal preferences. If this is the case, then heterosexuals who have girlfriends or boyfriends should receive benefits. The Mayor stands for what is right. That is why we voted her in. So, at the end of the day, right is right and wrong is wrong.

  46. Joseph

    I hope that the dissatisfaction over her response to this issue will generate a candidate who is actually worthy, which we did not have the last time around. I think the sentiment behind this discussion is great fuel for a good candidate. Please note that this does not suggest we will get a single-issue candidate or someone to whom single-issue voters will attract.

  47. Sage

    Do any of you actually leave the mtns? Ever? These ordinances and more are settled law in much of the Triangle,Triad, and Mecklenburg.

    Greensboro in particular has only offered these benefits to gay couples for years with no legal issues.

    A UNC professor did a study for Mecklenburg before they passed DP’s and there are NO LAWS AGAINST DP’s in NC.

  48. Betty Cloer Wallace

    After a lifetime of participation, Jimmy Carter resigned from the Southern Baptist Convention because of that organization’s increasingly exclusionary and discriminatory practices—as have many other thinking, caring, spiritual people.

    In addition to ousting GLBT members or forcing them into the lowest levels of the Baptist hierarchy of religiosity, Baptist men do not allow women (since the late 1990s) to hold positions of leadership in their churches nor to sit on their administrative boards.

    Why would any self-respecting person subjugate their spirituality to the demands of homophobic and misogynistic old men who have evolved a caste system to ensure that women and GLBT must function as secondary citizens in church, family, and society—as, the male pastors argue, their Holy Father so ordained?

    Carter furthermore declared that Christianity and other religions that demean women are the primary cause of (and excuse for) degradation and suffering by women and children throughout the world and that he would spend the rest of his life trying to right that wrong. We need more real men like that, in WNC and elsewhere, and fewer such arrogant, cultish, bigoted pastors as seen in these anti-same-sex-partner-benefits videos.

    The Baptist pastors talk about “morality” as if they have a divine right to define it for everyone else, including government officials. What a travesty of justice!

    Allowing such exclusionary Christian practices to encroach upon government policy further entrenches the subordinate role of women and GLBT in our country and elsewhere—far beyond the issues of same-gender domestic-partner benefits and sectarian prayer at governmental meetings.

    Keeping such dogmatic discriminatory religiosity out of government is an obligation of every freedom-loving citizen. Caring and spiritual people must work diligently to ensure separation of church and state—and if you are not already involved in the struggle, Asheville is a good place to start.

    And by the way, these religious organizations have tax-exempt status while blatantly practicing such discrimination and exclusion of large groups of people. Our government is actually supporting them! How “radical” is that?

  49. lance

    right is right… and irrelevant has only one letter a
    can’t we have a literacy test for this board?

  50. Sage

    Funny, I bet many of the people acting like the world is going to end now that Asheville is actually living up to the gay friendly media hype…..did not even bother to vote for the conservative candidates for City Council.

    Too late and Too bad. The pro-equality council members are only getting to get stronger support now and in future elections. Go recruit Mumpower and get Davis and Bellamy and that coward Russell to resign and go start their own anti-gay private community.

    Only going to get more outnumbered by us when the word spreads about this vote in the national media. Already been mentioned in the list of gayest places in the Advocate Magazine.

  51. Jessica B.

    Sue says: “I believe that people should live the way they believe is right for them. I do however have a problem with recognizing same sex and NOT common law. If same sex is ok and the bible says it is not, why do we not recognize a man and woman in love but want or need to remain single?

    I think if one is addressed same should be for both. No one ever wants to address the man and woman in love that just want that life without the paper. I think we should let fair be fair and right apply to all. City council needs to address this too.”

    If the Domestic Partnership proposal is anything similar to the ones that have already passed in many cities and businesses in NC (and across the U.S.), it DOES address that very issue, and includes those straight, unmarried couples. They have to pass the same requirements as a same-sex couple to qualify as a Domestic Partnership (for the same LIMITED rights).

  52. Jessica B.

    Travelah says: Good for her. I can’t vote for her in any event but I think she reflects the interests of the sensible people of Asheville.”

    No, she reflects the attitude of those who wouild happily deny someone else the same rights and privileges they want for themselves. Nothing sensible about that at all.

  53. terry Smith

    what has sadden me over this before tuesday night is that all our elected people on the council and our mayor had already decided how they were gonna vote. the public comment time was there so they could say they let people speak for or against the vote they had. if you follow Asheville politics you know this for a fact.many of you seem to think that all these people were open minded and willing to listen and change thier vote before or after public comment.
    also the question of the bible is continued up in this and i say this why i believe in the bible and it does help me choose how i vote does not mean i don’t think ALL PEOPLE regardless off how they live thier life do not deserve egual rights under the law. we are not just talking adults here but talking about children getting health care that is provided by the city for city employees. and i guess this insurrance is taken out of thier paycheck and is not a freebie.
    not one of us can tell where our tax dollars go or don’t go, so what do we do choose a line and stand on one side or the other and never truly talk about this and other issues here in Asheville, or do we sit down calmly, respectfully, and out of lovei see in all these comments for Asheville and not only talk but listen.
    This is a great city and i think the best in the state and its our time now as citizen to show each other, the county, the state, and the nation why Asheville is the best place to live and yes as the bumper sticker which i really love why we all want to keep Asheville wierd.

  54. Michael Muller

    “I’m not going to support the motion. I’m not going to support it now and I’m not going to support it when the information comes back.”

    I really expected better from Terry. I can understand not supporting the initiative, but the Mayor has clearly abrogated her responsibility to the people of Asheville — and showed a blatant disregard for the work of her staff — by refusing to even look the facts.

    Your homophobia is showing, Mayor Bellamy.

  55. firelady

    Public policy is inherently a reflection of what the community values. Asheville touts itself as “Gay friendly” yet the Mayor will not support DPB? Yes, Asheville DPB is about meritocracy and a moral statement about tolerance, but it is also about economic development. This policy would reinforce the City’s stated economic development goals of developing its creative and high tech economy.

    Enacting this policy demonstrates Asheville’s commitment to developing a 21st century economy. As a community, who are we going to be? The fact that Bellamy is against this policy indicates to me that perhaps she is not the leader we need. I appreciate her demonstrating this lack of tolerance now.

  56. Ronnie Swafford

    It is high time that we recognize the rights of every citizen. Those who languish in antiquated ideas would do well to seek education on a subject before debating that subject.

    I am disappointed in Mayor Bellamy and Rev. Ogden.

  57. Ken Hanke

    we all want to keep Asheville wierd.

    Trying to force Asheville into the mould envisioned by fundamentalist Christian thought is a pretty strange way of trying to keep Asheville “wiered” or even weird.

  58. Betty Cloer Wallace

    The ultra-conservative religious right has long found satisfaction and success in co-opting historic words and national symbols to further their own narrow causes and to exclude other people who do not agree with them—the flag, the Constitution, freedom, liberty, tea-bagging, we the people, the American way, don’t tread on me—and now they’re trying mightily to co-opt the definition of marriage by arguing that a religion-based ritual is the only “real” marriage.

    Actually, a “real” marriage in our country is a civil function defined by our government, not a religious matter defined by any church, and it is only a matter of time before the civil definition of marriage will become much broader and far more inclusive of all people in our democracy, i.e. a union of any two adults who want to enter into a marriage contract filed in the courthouse, not a church.

    My favorite religious-right co-option misnomer, though, is the use of “atheist” and “anti-Christian” to try to denigrate anyone who believes in separation of church and state. Surprise! There are many, many Christians and people of other religious persuasions out there who strongly believe in separation of church and state, as well as a much broader and more inclusive civil (legal) definition of marriage.

    And the flag belongs to everyone.

  59. Forrest Samuels

    Fortunately we don’t live in a theocracy where the law is based on ancient texts. Have you read the crazy laws in Leviticus that few people still follow? Christians should concentrate more on “love your neighbor as yourself” than using the Bible as an excuse to deny civil rights to a minority. Stop cherry picking from the Bible to support your own prejudice and irrational fear of homosexuals. Several denominations understand this.

    For Mayor Bellamy, I was disappointed in her vote but I was more disappointed in her cowardly excuse for it. Denying civil rights because you don’t like the process is more cowardly than saying you think god wouldn’t approve. I am only assuming that is her true reasoning though since she did not say.

    Asheville needs a leader and Terry Bellamy showed the city that she isn’t when it comes to controversial issues. What our city needs now is another viable candidate to challenge her. She practically ran unopposed last November, winning 78.75% of the vote. Who is up for the challenge?

  60. Regarding my position in favor of the proposal we approved on Tuesday night, and questions raised here and elsewhere about making up my mind ahead of the public comment, I would offer this:

    What we voted for is to request Staff to create a plan that could provide the benefits, to research the plans used in other cities (and perhaps corporations) and give us that information in a public forum in March. We didn’t vote for a plan, and as such, although the public comment was fine, it really didn’t bear much on the matter at hand. Having run for office last year with extension of benefits to domestic partners as one of my campaign planks, it would be extremely duplicitous of me to pretend I didn’t have an opinion going into that vote.

    When it comes to a vote on a plan, the relevant public comment (from my perspective) won’t be whether or not to approve benefits (I’ve already said I am for that), but whether or not the actual plan is workable. Are the rules enforceable? Are the definitions realistic? Has a similar plan worked well in another municipality, and are there any reasons such a plan would fail to work in Asheville?

    So, in my view, the four of us who were previously on record as supporting SOME KIND of DPB plan, weren’t jumping the gun by not waiting for the public to weigh in. We were moving forward on an actual plan for the public to weigh in on.

  61. SDB

    People who use the bible to argue against homosexuality are sad, ignorant people. I suggest you learn the ancient languages of the writers who wrote the bible and actually study what was written in the ancient texts. You have been lied to by a religious system committed to taking power from certain people. Read your biblical history and find out the truth. If you truly love Jesus then find out who he really is, don’t be lazy and just accept whatever crap other people force feed you. You have a brain and a heart and if you were truly born again you would see that God does not hate anyone or their lifestyle and he certainly does not want us to deny one other the basic opportunity to love and care for one another. I will never understand why you want to make Jesus/God so small when there is so much love, power and acceptance available through him.

    Mayor Bellamy – if I vote for you next time it you will only be because you are the lesser of 2 evils. Are you sure you don’t belong in Washington DC, the land of “voting for the lesser of 2 evils”? This is sad because I like and respect you but it seems if you met me you would not like or respect me simply because I am a woman in love with a woman. Consider the possibility of opening your mind here. Hopefully this issue will not be decided by your inability to see the future.

  62. MD

    She is simply playing by the rules, if she is completely upfront during an election time she will loose votes. If she is ambiguous, then she retain some of the votes that she would have otherwise lost. It is a shame that things are the way that they are but it is life. I support her decision to not provide benefits for smae sex partners. We are in a financial crisis and we have better areas to be applying our money. Same sex partners are not losing something that have had but instead are not gaining an additional plus for themselves financially.

  63. Michael Muller

    Terry “not liking the process” basically means that she resented having to vote against the wishes and interests of the people who work for her.

    I’m sure she would have rather it had been lost in some committee proceeding or work session where it would have likely died — and where the public wasn’t allowed to comment.

    Besides, it was the Mayor who took the unusual step of fast-tracking it on to Tuesday’s agenda — undoubtedly in an attempt to catch supporters of the measure off guard — and to set up the false excuse of not having “adequate time” to look at the facts.

    Terry may be homophobic, but she’s not stupid.

  64. travelah

    People who use the bible to argue against homosexuality are sad, ignorant people. I suggest you learn the ancient languages of the writers who wrote the bible and actually study what was written in the ancient texts.

    Just out of curiosity, what is your background with the biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and koine Greek of the 1st century AD?

  65. Michael Muller

    From Rev. Dr. Kenneth Samuel, senior pastor of Victory for the World in Stone Mountain, Ga., and vice chair of the African American Ministers Leadership Council:

    “Certain text in the Bible, as we know, had been used to support slavery in America for over 200 years,” he said. “Certain texts have been used to justify patriarchy and sexism,…militaristic warfare, beating of children…. We have toxic text in the Bible that needs to be interpreted in the light of the truth, and…from the light and lenses of the all-inclusive love of Jesus.”

  66. Butterflies & Puppies & Common Sense

    not liking the process most likely meant that it was not raised in anyone’s agenda, and by raising so promptly forces the issue into the public square, where the ‘troops’ can lambast anyone who differs from the measure. Good luck trying to get anyone on these boards to have a civil discussion without the terms religious zealot, bigot, hate monger, hater, mouthbreather (best one yet – thanks Sage). ALSO – it fills councils valuable time with troops from both sides, it also allows other issues to be lessended in their importance, and possibly less discussed therefore allowing things to get pushed through. I still think the energey independence and brownies floating his plan is in direct conflict because he is the finance manager of a solar company ( an obvious beneficiary as solar installations is 65% of his example for retrofitting the typical home). But now, all the discussion is about how people are filled with hate because we want to discuss why GL folks differ from non marrieds and why we should foot the bill for their lifestyle choice. Most of you people jsut do not get it, and the fight will rage on and only get worse. Let’s offer ideas.

  67. Matt Mercy

    This is an emotional football issue…irrelevant. My question is: while they have everyone bickering about this garbage, what is city council doing with its other hand? I get the feeling lately that when governments bring up these irresolvable hot-button issues, it’s a smokescreen for something insidious their doing behind the scenes.

  68. Butterflies & Puppies & Common Sense

    Cecil, please, you are MAKING a plan. If you were researching it, you would instruct the use of city staffers (our money)to ASK the following questions BEFORE doing anything:

    1. Will the city’s health insurance underwriter would even CONSIDER underwriting non related individuals (note I did not make any one GROUP identifiable)?
    2. If not, would the city be required to find another provider that might/would?
    What would that entail, how much time, money and cost involved in doing so?
    3. Is the city currently meeting the obligations to provide benefits to its current employees?
    4. IF, they will underwrite, what would be an average cost to BUY a policy for the non-related (again did not identify any one group)as an out of pocket expense instead of direct tax payer dollars? If so, it would still be so much cheaper than off the street.
    5. Is it even legal to provide benefits to non related in the state of NC?

    These are SIMPLE phone calls that could be made in ONE day and not require the usage of city staffers to “CRAFT A PLAN” for the public to weigh in on. Which, you and I both know will cause a significant upheaval in the course of doing so. BUT, if you have a plan, and the TROOPS can muster the HATE message ahead of time, and almost force the issue, you would already have a plan in place you could easily execute.

    This is not transparency, it is obvious politcal postering. See, already without any discussion, people are directing their IRE at the mayor, calling her a bigot, a hater, a zealot. If this is the way you new folks wish to do business, you are all a sad excuse for politicans. You THREW the mayor under the bus for your ideology, thankfully it is a green powered bus which gives people free passage at the taxpayer expense. How great is that? I will now call you as BAD as the Bush administration was as this was exactly their process/plan for going to war… Sounds just like the process for Brownies energy independence and city financed retrofitting plan (besides the millions from the government, I mean the people) being crafted based on FLIMSY research and emotions, and allowing the words Job Creation be used like you are using “equal pay” with this one… Some transparency, Some Change we can beleive in. Signed with hugs, kisses and unicorns for all.

  69. Michael Muller

    Do gay people not “foot the bill” for the “lifestyle choices” of married city employees — including those who choose to violate God’s prohibition on divorce (Luke 16:18)?

    “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”

  70. JOHN-C

    It’s not about BUDGET Mayor Bellamy… It’s about rights… Get it?

  71. Ken Hanke

    Most of you people jsut do not get it

    Just do not get what exactly?

  72. Sage

    ^ Anyone who thinks being homosexual is anymore of a “choice” than being heterosexual has no common sense. Why should I be forced to foot the bill for your hetero lifestyle? Oh yeah it’s just gay people who all have the same “lifestyle”. Can’t get more bigoted than that old trope.

    Nice Try. FAIL

  73. Butterflies & Puppies & Common Sense

    KH – Anyone who refuses to leave out the word religion, god, hate or bigot just does not get it. Hi Sage! Toodles! Take a look at the questions above. Do not add anything because they are VANILLA questions. Let’s talk about THOSE simple questions, then we can move on to the next part of the conversation. Sage, please refrain from using hate and TRY to answer those questions before you speak more hatred towards me or questioning of WHY. They are simple questions targeting no-one in particular. equal rights, correct? Signed with posies and unicorns in hopes of creating a real conversation devoid of ideology.

  74. Megan

    I will NOT support Terry for re-election. Such bigotry from our leadership is embarrassment to a city that touts itself as progressive and gay-friendly and from a MINORITY leader at that!

    Shame on you Terry, you have lost my vote and any REAL liberal who runs against you has gained it.

  75. Butterflies & Puppies & Common Sense

    QUESTION SEEKING REPSONSE (devoid of hate, really) Let’s assume we can get people to beleive you can shack up with whomever you want, great and it is legal civil union, etc., etc. Let’s assume we are past there. In most cases, most companies (small businsses) the larger your family, the more you would pay for the insurance. (NOTE: I am not familiar with the City’s insurance, but I can assure you it is cheaper and probably better than mine, without a doubt. Even if/when you can legally marry or whatever, there would still be the need to pay the added individuals financial repsonsibility to the plan. Are you also requesting/demanding/considering/asking/requiring that those charges should also be covered? And should that go for non-marrieds, children, whatever? Anyone willing to discuss, devoid of hateful ranting? Could be called progress amongst the chaff… Gordy, Sage, Barry, Cecil? City staff? I tried to make the above vanilla so to draw conversation and not anyone’s ire.

  76. Sage

    Do you live in a cave? Do you not know that towns smaller and larger than AVL offer DP across this country? Do you know a lesbian was recently elected Mayor of Houston?

    You can be rant all you want and revel in your heterosexual supremacy which only reveals how bigoted you are.

  77. Wow2010AshevillePeople

    Thanks to Gordon Smith & the rest of the Asheville Progressive Democrats.

    If you failed to vote, dont worry that got this
    “gig” in the bag folks!!

    Keep pushing this agenda, PLEASE.

    Buncombe County residents, dont worry you
    are next. The next step for the Progressive Democrats are to run like minded people against the following people:

    *Jan Davis
    *Bill Stanley
    *Otto Debrual
    Which party do they belong??

    ObamaMakesItHappen.

  78. “Bellamy was clear about her opposition to the benefits, in concept or otherwise, stating: ‘I’m not going to support the motion. I’m not going to support it now and I’m not going to support it when the information comes back.’ ”

    According to this story, Bellamy was only clear that she is opposed to the benefits, not why. She is the Mayor of Asheville and she needs to explain WHY she is in opposition. These are the questions she needs to answer:

    Why does she oppose it? Is it strictly financial? Is it moral and religious? Is there anything that could changed in the proposal to bring about her support?

  79. SP

    This should be a huge wake-up call to everyone in Asheville who assumed Mayor Bellamy was progressive just because of her race. She’s never shown dynamic or open-minded leadership before- why would you expect it now?

  80. I’m confused. Isn’t slavery and discrimination towards black people (The Curse of Ham) also Biblically justified?

  81. shadmarsh

    I thought “The Curse of Ham” is why so many Americans are overweight.

  82. nickles

    While debates are always fun, I feel it more poignant to log another vote lost.

  83. Ken Hanke

    KH – Anyone who refuses to leave out the word religion, god, hate or bigot just does not get it.

    The question remains what “it” is, but let’s set that aside and instead ask if leaving out “the word religion, god, hate or bigot” applies equally to those who are citing the Bible as the justification for discriminating against or condemning homosexuality? Because if it does not, then you’re the one who doesn’t “get it.”

  84. travelah

    Orbit,
    The “curse of Ham” is a Mormon heresy or used to be. They have since repudiated it.

  85. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Orbit, perhaps you are thinking of “the mark of Cain” (the one who slew his brother Abel).

  86. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Regarding the videotaped press conference by three Baptist pastors following recent action by the City Council concerning employee-partner benefits, Rubart asked: “Can someone tell me if it’s actually true that “African Americans aren’t allowed to live in Biltmore Forest?” Or is that just another example of Ogden’s rhetoric? I’d think that not allowing African-Americans to live in Biltmore Forest would be blatantly against the law. Someone please enlighten me on this.”

    Boxlunch answered: “I know of no restrictions concerning African Americans living in Biltmore Forest.”

    Pastor Ogden’s statement, verbatim: “Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. I’ll tell you what’s a civil right—when homosexuals and lesbians can move into Biltmore Forest and African-Americans cannot move into Biltmore Forest. Now that’s a civil right, but they don’t want to talk about that. It’s a civil right—you didn’t choose to be white, I didn’t choose to be black—when you violate my race. But people choose their lifestyle choices, their sexual predilections and proclivities.”

    Hmmm, well now. Race-baiting and gay-bashing dressed up in a clerical collar furthering the cause of…..what, exactly?

  87. johncopeland

    These “preachers” say they oppose a “radical homosexual agenda” when most people in Asheville see nothing radical about allowing all tax paying American citizens to enjoy the same benefits provided to all other citizens. To state that this is NOT a civil rights issue is a lie! These preachers and their churches enjoy TAX FREE status and therefore should have absolutely no say in how the City of Asheville spends its tax money! American tax paying citizens who are born homosexual are being taken advantage of and “forced” to pay taxes for services and benefits for others while they themselves are being told they can not enjoy the same benefit. These preachers are abhorent and do not follow the teachings of their own biblical spiritual leader. It is a well known fact the Baptist organization like many other religious organizations want to pick and choose which bible verses they want to follow and apply the most hateful to those that they would condemn. Therefore, I must condemn these preachers for being evil sinners to mankind. I urge the City of Asheville to remove their tax free status.

  88. Absolutely embarrassing for our area. Asheville has long embraced people of all walks of life since before Bellamy was even born. How can a city with a slogan like “Any way you like it” and the long history of diversity not suuport the RIGHTS that we ALL have. She just lost my vote.

  89. shannon

    Fine. If you want to bring God into this, then that’s your business. But since we live in an open country where there are people of other religions, why should we automatically rule by the current version of “christian” opinion? Jesus never mentioned homosexuality anyways. Have you forgotten his main message was to love God and to love each other? Just because you extend human rights to other people doesn’t mean you have to personally support their actions. Its a basic respect for life and human dignity.

  90. Ken Hanke

    Orbit, perhaps you are thinking of “the mark of Cain” (the one who slew his brother Abel).

    Actually, “mark of Ham” appears in the 1920s-30s blues song “What Did I Do to Be So Black and Blue” as a reference to being black. The Ethel Waters recording includes the line, “My mark of Ham seems to be a curse.” It may also appear in the Louis Armstrong recording, but I won’t swear to that.

  91. paige

    don’t understand at all why this would be restricted to same sex relationships, thats where I have a problem. I’m in a opposite sex relationship with an illegal immigrant (he’s not ready to get married yet, but we are really serious otherwise), and it would be great if he could get benefits since I work for the city. if they are going to develop a policy, it should be comprehensively inclusive. would be great also if any kids we have would enjoy those benefits also.

  92. Gabriel Shaffer

    She lost my vote. The irony of the situation isnt amusing to me at all. What a small cowardly mind.

  93. Shannon

    Orbit, yes slavery (and polygamy among other things) are allowed in the bible. Its just a matter of whether you are a person that believes Jesus voided all of that when he supposedly died on the cross, or whether you believe that all the bible should be followed. If you think Jesus voided many of the old testament laws (as many sects believe), then that would void much of what the old testament said about homosexuality as well. If you think he didnt void the old testament, then we need to start stoning adulterers, banning pork, and making blood sacrifices again.

  94. If you think he didnt void the old testament, then we need to start stoning adulterers, banning pork, and making blood sacrifices again.

    And if you have tattoos or eat shellfish, you are going to hell.

    The parable of Canaan and Noah has kept black people down for centuries, even up into the last century. Isn’t it funny that people can pick and choose what they want to out of the Bible?

  95. shannon

    If people didnt pick and choose from the bible, I dont think anyone would be able to stomach some of the horrible things that are in there.

  96. Richard Addison

    What qualifies as a domestic partner..Can my roomie share in my city benefits??? What about if I am a real sad individual and live with my mother..can she be my domestic partner…It is WNC!!!

  97. West Asheville

    If you grant same sex couples benefits then you have to do the same for heterosexual couples. It’s not an argument about who has a right to get married it’s the fact that there is no laws when these relationships go south. Allow same sex couples to marry, then give benefits. There is a process to this.

  98. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Richard Addison asked: “What qualifies as a domestic partner? Can my roomie share in my city benefits?”

    Well, why not, if you have a legal/civil contract filed in the courthouse?

    Richard Addison also asked: “What about if I am a real sad individual and live with my mother? Can she be my domestic partner?”

    Well, why not, if you have a legal contract filed in the courthouse? And, by the way, what would be “sad” about that? Or “happy”? Sad/ happy is good/bad depending on the circumstance, but not necessarily civil/legal.

    And furthermore, Richard Addision stated: “It is WNC!!!”

    Yes, it is, and ain’t it wonderful to be living here!

  99. Jeebus

    I always thought Jesus was gay. Didnt he always say to love your fellow man :^)

  100. UNaffiliated Voter

    How about the CITY get out of the benefits packaging bizness? CONTRACT with a benefits company and give employees a choice of what THEY want at THEIR EXPENSE, NOT the TAXPAYER!!!

    ENOUGH of this government employee BENEFIT CRAP!
    the GOVERNMENT is NOT here to pay their BENEFITS!!

  101. Michael Muller

    Perhaps you’ve never run a business or employed anyone.

    The city needs to compete with other employers to get the best folks, and offering same-sex domestic partnership benefits has been proven to be an excellent tool for recruitment and retention. Thousands of businesses and governments across the United States have understood this for years.

  102. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Asheville/Buncombe could take some lessons from New Orleans, a city that has historically recovered, over and over, from all sorts of devastation. New Orleans has done it by being INCLUSIVE of everyone regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or cultural heritage—not by having small narrow-minded people try to set the agenda for the city by EXCLUDING people.

  103. TPaineification

    Please, everyone, read this letter very carefully; yes, this kind of vitriol is passing away, however its’ passing is very slow – like a melting glacier. Can you imagine THIS person referring to someone else as “vile?”:

    FROM: AK [12th comment from the top]….God will not be mocked and He calls homosexuality “vile”, “reprobate”, “unnatural” and “filled with all unrighteousness and wickedness”. To the previous commentators: be as liberal and as proud of it as you personally care to be. But do not also ask nor expect me and the thousands of other Godly people in this city to support your wicked lifestyles. Same sex couples are anathema to God and thus to me. They wallow gleefully in sin as a pig does in muck and mire. Fine. God will judge them and their end will be eternity in a literal hell. But while here it is both indefensible and horrendous to ask me, through my city taxes, to support them and their wicked lifestyle.

  104. zanepath

    Let me be clear, for a woman of color to be the first black mayor in a traditionally southern city who seemed moderate on some issues, I was hopeful that reason and intelligence would be the point of departure for tuff issues. After her bigoted and disgraceful attitude towards the basic fundamental rights of her employees & constituents, I will make sure that whatever seat she attempts to run for will have strong opposition. I am so sick of (hold on to your pants) Black Americans and their bigotry towards gay people. Not to single them out as a people, but I am trying to make a point….hang in here with me…..Is she aware that HIV/AIDS is the highest count among black men and growing? Is this because Black men are more prone to homosexual relations OR because the Black community shuns its role in supporting and educating themselves? Does she believe that she is keeping the “black” vote by showing bigotry and playing into their narrow sighted inability to reach beyond orientation? Bellamy: Poorly stated and only shows your inability to govern. Your comment was not a “govern for the people,” but “i am incapable of governing my own organization, yet alone lead in the city. I am not surprised in your attitude toward gay people, I am simply sad.

  105. erock

    The thought that Mayor Bellamy is a “bigot” is simply ridiculous. While I am by no means a huge fan and do not understand MANY of the choices her and our council makes I do not believe she is a bigot. If you do not like her stance then don’t vote for her, it’s our choice as American voters. I’m not sure where I stand on this issue, I believe homosexuals deserve the same rights as married couples. BUT how do you prove that these couples are legit? How do you prove that these couples aren’t just mooching off of a roommate (for example) that are feeding off of the tax-payer supported health care provided by the people of the city? This is OUR hard earned money folks and we have to look after it…I believe that homosexual couples should have to register at the courthouse in a legally binding way….after that then give them health care then all is fair in my opinion.

  106. Michael Muller

    How do you prove that heterosexuals are not getting married just for the benefits? All you need to get married in North Carolina is a penis, a vagina, and sixty bucks. You can even marry your own first cousin (which might explain a thing or two)…as long as you’re not queer.

    Bellamy’s vote had nothing to do with anything but homophobia — that’s clear from the way she is refusing to even look at her own staff’s report regarding implementation and financial impact. It’s an uncomfortable truth, and sad to say, but the Mayor is is a bigot. She’s letting her own fundamentalist religious views determine her position.

    Imagine if Mayor Bellamy were an old white fundamentalist Republican guy instead of a young black Democrat woman? Would she get the same kind of pass? She’s listened all her life to the intolerant and hate-filled rhetoric of pastors like Ogden. It’s not surprising that she doesn’t like gay people. http://scrutinyhooligans.us/2010/02/11/brother-bigot/

  107. anita

    What amazes me is that just because she is against something people say she is a bigot. If she had voted for it would all the homosexual’s not be cheering her on? Saying how great the Mayor of Asheville is? However, because she didn’t vote the way some wanted it’s “homophoba”. All due to her beliefs. Well isn’t it the gay communities beliefs that have them up in arms because she voted no? I personally think that if gays get to have the benefits of their same sex partners that ALL sexs that aren’t married should be able to suck off the system. I live with a man and am not allowed to have his insurance, so why are the gays wanting to be afforded more than me? Are we all not equal? Isn’t that what you guys are saying? I have to pay for my own private insurance so why don’t you. I understand by saying this that I too will be labeled a “intolerant, hate-filled relgious bigot” too. Whatever my personal beliefs are though, I don’t think gays should be allowed to have the benefits of their partners unless the city is welling to give it to ALL PARTNERS of the city. Same sex or not. Fair is fair, and alot of you guys are just mad because she didn’t vote your way of thinking. Your not fighting for equal rights for all sexs, just the same sex!!!!!

  108. EmilyAnne

    Oh come, sure this point doesn’t make you a bigot per say, but listen:

    you can marry you boyfriend, receive his benefits as long as you want, then divorce the guy if you don’t like him anymore. Hell, you could do all that in a couple months and no one would say anything to you.

    You could marry him for any number of reasons: you love him, you have cancer and need benefits, make too much money for medicare, got pregnant etc.

    Same sex couples are not afforded that luxury, and I might add, there are plenty of same sex couples in the Asheville area who have been together 20+ without any legal protection, right to their partner’s estate, visits in the ICU and of course access to their benefits. This would have been a step in the right direction; the City of Asheville recognizing this community in some formal way.

    SO, since its clearly not fair, might as well call it like it is.

    Not voting for Bellamy.

    Also, I PROMISE, God with not get all “Sodom and Gomorrah” on us. Its ok.

  109. erock

    You can’t twist the idea of marriage into something such as “a penis and a vagina are all you need” that’s just not the case in my book. Marriage is nothing to take lightly, it’s a legally binding agreement that can cost a ton of money if it doesn’t go well. A legal domestic partnership just as binding as marriage BEFORE a homosexual couple receives benefits is the only way to ensure everyone is happy. Otherwise boyfriends and girlfriends can just step in and get the benefits and cost taxpayers loads of money. The idea to me that the city could just give away our money to any couple (including straights who are not married,which I’m assuming will have to pass since homosexuals wouldn’t have to be married)is ridiculous. I’m all for gays getting married and then receiving benefits…that is something that needs to be rectified before benefits are given out.
    I’m not sure about Bellamy’s decision, I’m on the fence about it and I think she should have been more up front during her re-election campaign. Hopefully she will help out with more ideas to a better solution.

  110. Butterflies & Puppies & Common Sense

    Isn’t that interesting, that NO-ONE, not even the bigot spewers are willing to answer the basic questions (raised above) that allows the discussion to get past STEP ONE. Things about finacial aspects. Cecil, where ya at? Just goes to show your pushing your personal agendas, and it is so clear. I guess you are willing to take advantage of the poor stupid mountain folk, least that is what you exhibit with your intloerance towards their OPINION. Answer the basic question, or appear as bigotted as you say everyone else is. You people threw your Mayor under the bus. Face it.

  111. Michael Muller

    Butterflies: we’re hardly breaking new ground here. Thousands of businesses and governments across the nation (and across North Carolina) have been doing this for years. The Towns of Carborro and Chapel Hill have extended benefits to domestic partners for the last 16 years.

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg adopted it last year, recognizing its value to recruit and retain employees.

    Gay and lesbian city employees are not asking for anything special, just for equal treatment. Why is that such a big deal? Because a small group of religious zealots don’t approve of who they happen to love?

  112. ButPuppie,
    1. Will the city’s health insurance underwriter would even CONSIDER underwriting non related individuals (note I did not make any one GROUP identifiable)?
    • The city self-insures.

    2. If not, would the city be required to find another provider that might/would?
    What would that entail, how much time, money and cost involved in doing so?
    • The city self-insures.

    3. Is the city currently meeting the obligations to provide benefits to its current employees?
    • Yes.

    4. IF, they will underwrite, what would be an average cost to BUY a policy for the non-related (again did not identify any one group)as an out of pocket expense instead of direct tax payer dollars? If so, it would still be so much cheaper than off the street.
    • The whole point of our action last Tuesday was to ask Staff to come up with this kind of info.

    5. Is it even legal to provide benefits to non related in the state of NC?
    • Yes.

    How Council is taking advantage of “poor mountain folk” is beyond my ability to address. As for throwing Mayor Bellamy under the bus … hmmm. What bus? How thrown? Seven votes on Council, all equal. All elected at large. We each vote according to our perception of what our supporters elected us to do and what seems to be best for the City in our heart-of-hearts.

    This was not a referendum on the Mayor.

  113. Ken Hanke

    Answer the basic question, or appear as bigotted as you say everyone else is.

    Answer the question about whether or not those citing the Bible to justify discrimination are as guilty of hate speech as those you oppose.

    You people threw your Mayor under the bus. Face it

    I’d say the mayor threw herself under the bus.

  114. The Trolls Troll

    I understand not wanting to give such a proposal a free pass without asking serious questions (i.e., what about non-married, heterosexual couples in committed relationships), but to flat out say she’s opposed to the measure before city staff has come back with its report does make her look like a bigot. Too bad the mayor’s true colors on homosexuals didn’t come out until after the election. I can only hope voters remember this should she seek reelection or aspire for a higher office.

    As for the issue at hand: Legalize civil unions for homosexuals in North Carolina, then give benefits. Or recognize civil unions/marriages performed in other states and give benefits.

  115. Piffy!

    i love reading people spew ignorant, bigoted intolerance and then claim that others oppressing them.

    The irony is rich and chewy.

  116. Viking

    The African-American experience and that of gays are different, and yet similar in the way the majority have caused injury. Slavery, apartheid and residual apartheid versus the similar physical and emotional harms, and legal injustice, faced by gays and transgender folk are all forms of structural sin. Many African-Americans are gay.

    The people who packed city council last week are unlikely to have represented either the genuine city pulse on this matter, nor all the facts. But the one common source of supposed justice and reason was Mayor Bellamy.

    Bellamy stated, “When was there a time that we made political issues out of our health care benefits?” This like something out of a Republican horror story. This is bad conservative fallacy politics.

    “When was war called freedom?” “When was a court-ordered presidential installation called democracy?” “When was there a time that we made political issues out of our transportation systems and made blacks sit at the back of the bus?”

    We no longer make homosexual acts or being transgender a crime. But gays are excluded from the institution of marriage, while straights have that option and its various legal and financial benefits.

    Bellamy has little stature in excluding withholding a relatively minor compensatory policy towards a disenfranchised group. Neither history nor her rhetoric support her.

  117. holly

    really, the bible has nothing to do with this issue. Government is not “bound’ by the bible or what it says otherwise we would all be burning in hell because of our cotton/poly blend shirts. You cannot chose to follow one part and say another is outdated. So check the label on your shirts and then see if the corn you ate for diner was planted in the same field as say soy beans and get back to me as if you are going to hell or not

  118. Jason Ross Martin

    Mr. Bothwell and others advocate this policy:

    Why didn’t you pursue the legalization of domestic partnerships for same-sex couples instead? Isn’t the creation of a legal designation for them a necessary precursor to granting benefits based on a designation?

    Simply said, there is a big difference between a “committed relationship” and a marriage. Granted, homosexual couples do not have access to that legal designation anyway, but assuming they did–wouldn’t there still be a huge difference between a committed gay relationship and a legally binding contract (like a marriage?). This is the problem with your proposal and position. You are turning a blind eye to the reality that non-married people receiving married person financial advantage is going to just nicely call the city and say “We broke up, so you can have back my benefits now since I’m not with so and so anymore.” Yeah, right.

    If you are so fired up about extending these rights to gay couples, then why not direct your energy towards the establishment of a legal designation for them? Perhaps you are making a political decision that you can’t win that battle, so you are trying to grant the rights anyway without that necessary, and in my view, important and justified step of creating a legal framework for same-sex couples to bind their lives together, and THEN become eligible for the proposed benefits.

  119. Bruce Birn

    This is North Carolina and Bellamy has proven that we’re all still down South. Why does she think that, “…city employees’ benefits already exceed the state requirements” is relevant to same sex benefit issues – it is not. Voting Bellamy out at the next election, however, is quite relevant.

    This is not a Republican wedge-issue – not this time. It’s about an ostensibly progressive city mayor taking the citizens back in time. Myopic bible-believers are on Bellamy’s side but few Christians are…

  120. Bruce Mulkey

    I want to thank Asheville City Council members Gordon Smith, Cecil Bothwell, Esther Manheimer and Brownie Newman for their vote in favor of domestic partner benefits for gay and lesbian city employees. Their discernment and resolve in addressing this essential human rights issue show that they are true public servants for all the citizens of Asheville.

  121. johncopeland

    It is easier to make people hate homosexuals than to create social change!

  122. jimmytwotimes

    JRM, the state constitution allows for registration of domestic partners, regardless of sex. Carrboro and Chapel Hill both use this framework to provide domestic partner benefits. As with many other states that have passed amendments prohibiting them, it would be unlikely that same-sex marriage or civil unions would pass, but I would be interested to see the results of a vote. Until such a time as those votes begin going differently, the dpbs may be the only way to begin treating people more equitably. It’s not equal, but it’s a step in the right direction.

  123. Alan

    Bellamy’s vote should not have surprised anyone as she has done everything possible to keep domestic partner benefits off the agenda for years now. Even her campaign answer was a clear “no” to my ears. Bellamy is only an economic liberal, but a social conservative, as is common among southeastern Democrats. Anyone paying attention should have known that.

    For the economic conservatives on this thread, the only fair alternative is to eliminate all family benefits, which would be fair to single and childless employees as well as gays and would save substantial city funds immediately. The opposition should get on that alternative right away.

  124. Betty Cloer Wallace

    The U.S. Supreme Court today (3/2/10) did not block the District of Columbia’s gay marriage law, thus allowing D.C. to move ahead with issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples beginning tomorrow. In addition to D.C., same-sex marriages are also legal in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut and Vermont.

  125. Ashevegasjoe

    I think all conservatives would agree states rights, and keep the gov’t out of the bedroom!

  126. Alan Ditmore

    Both liberals and conservatives seem to use States’ rights only when convenient. If Bellamy fails to quickly endorse the elimination of spousal benefits, her (and Davis’ ) “cost concern” arguements will be exposed for the bigoted, lying excuses that they probably are.

    However Gordons and Mike Mullers Hateful and censorious treatment of both coalition partners and the African American community is heaping shame on their cause and forcing me to go the benefit elimination route. Examples here:
    scrutinyhooligans.us/2010/02/11/brother-bigot/
    scrutinyhooligans.us/2010/02/09/live-chat-for-asheville-city-council-02092010/
    scrutinyhooligans.us/2010/02/12/ashevilles-finest/
    scrutinyhooligans.us/2010/02/07/super-bowl-open-thread/

  127. Dina

    My heart goes out to the gay community.
    They should be treated equally. I just hope they realize that all straight people are not against them and we would like to see them treated fairly.
    Gays couples should have the same rights as straihgt couples.

  128. Gabriel Adams

    Greetings, I was looking up information on Asheville because I heard it is a beautiful city. Came across this site discussing same sex partner benefits. It’s simple to understand. Can any person on earth claim they KNOW who God, Lord, Theos, Yahweh, Allah, Jehovah, Elyown El loves more, homosexuals or heterosexuals? For those who had negative comments for mayor Bellamy, I say walk in her shoes. A leader must do what they feel is right for the whole, short term or long term, not something to appease individuals because they feel it’s right. The greatest atrocities ever were done in the name of many world religions, so using the Bible or any other religious text is NOT sound. Ms. Bellamy may use principles of the Bible to guide her or any other principles that aid her in being the best leader she can be. The people of Asheville elected her because she presented herself as the most qualified LEADER. If she has helped Asheville to prosper and is just, she should be re-elected. In political science, is truthfulness and justice the major focus? I say study the societies and cultures of the ancient and pre-ancient worlds. History repeats itself, try not to let religious views and beliefs cloud and tarnish your perception to the skills and abilities of a true leader, if they be one. We should be compassionate and understanding, support those who show great character to lead.

  129. mgarren

    She is clearly a bigot, pure and simple. I don’t care about here religious views or lack thereof. It really gets to me when a person of one minority group with a history of being discriminated against turns around and discriminates against another minority group.

    For me there is no other word for it, she is a bigot.

  130. Mom of 2

    To those above who stated that homosexuality is a “sin” and “vile”. I wonder how many have divorced or have divorced friends. God says that He “hates divorce” (Malachi 2:16). Seems hypocritical. So, get over it and vote in same-sex partnership benefits. If you think it is a sin, then look first at yourself. I will not vote for Mayor Bellamy in 2013. I have a feeling she will be boosted because of her prejudice.

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