Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath declined to comment as to whether or not he would endorse marriage equality for same sex couples after the Dec. 4 council meeting, when Oro Valley resident Denise Rose asked him to “join with 400 mayors around the country in 37 states to support a U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution that endorses marriage equality for same sex couples.”
Rose, who spoke on behalf of a number of other supporters in attendance, told Hiremath he and the town would be well served to follow “the trend now in our country with marriage equality.”
“Studies have shown that cities that celebrate and cultivate diversity are the places where creativity and ideas thrive,” said Rose. “They’re places where today’s entrepreneurs are most likely to choose to build the businesses of tomorrow.”
Rose pointed out that several other Arizona mayors have recently endorsed the resolution, including, among others, Tucson’s Jonathon Rothschild, Phoenix’s Greg Stanton, and Bisbee’s Adriana Badal.
“These forward-looking mayors agree with the sentiments that our cities derive great strength from their diversity, and gay and lesbian families are a crucial part,” said Rose.
While Hiremath kept quiet on the issue, Sen. Steve Smith, R-Ariz., who ironically spoke at the meeting just minutes after Rose, expressed his concerns with same-sex marriage in a later interview.
“To each their own, but no, I don’t promote gay marriage. I believe in the biblical version of marriage,” said Smith, whose jurisdiction after redistricting last year now includes Oro Valley. “I think it’s especially problematic when one state tries to piecemeal the approach, and saying, ‘Well this state did it and this state did it,’ because let’s say you get married in California, where gay marriage is legal, and you move to Arizona – are you still married?”
Smith was in attendance at the meeting to present the mayor and council with the Arizona flag that was flown at the state capitol on Sept. 11.
“It’s a very, very, very small way of acknowledging cities and towns and saying we are always thinking of you and we appreciate the support,” said Smith, who added that he spoke directly with the council to better understand challenges and issues facing the community as the next legislative session approaches.
In other business, the council looked at the framework of preparing updated impact fee studies for its parks, police, transportation, alternative water resources system and potable water system. Following the passage of Senate Bill 1525 in 2011, all municipalities enforcing impact fees are required to update their studies every five years. The deadline for the coming fee update is Aug. 1, 2014.
The impact fee methodology will go before a council vote on Jan. 15.