I was impressed by the courage but disappointed by the perspective of Deputy Mayor Joe Lonergan as he explained to the Tacoma City Council why he would vote against endorsement of Referendum 74, which would preserve the right of same-sex couples to be married in Washington state.
Lonergan said he felt obligated to represent the voters of his district and, using stale evidence, posited that a small majority of voters in his district would not support this right.
His position overlooked the rapid change of attitude in our country that makes it probable that the majority of voters would, indeed, support this right. More significantly, he overlooked the greater responsibility of elected officials to represent the highest ideals of our nation when those ideals conflict with popular bias.
Referendum 74 preserves a law correcting the longstanding injustice of denying equal protection under the law to millions of citizens and freedom of religion for a growing number of faith communities that recognize the marriages of same-sex couples. R-74 reflects the core values of America.
I would never ask Lonergan to vote contrary to his conscience. I do suggest he revisit his conscience that it may lead him to represent America’s highest values, rather than the most hurtful predispositions of some constituents.