Gay marriage supporters think the city’s mayor has gone too far in promoting traditional family values.
"Clovis, It’s A Way Of Life" is a slogan for the city. But to some, it suggests a city that is intolerant of anything other than a traditional way of life.
The controversy was sparked more than a week ago, when Clovis Mayor Nathan Magsig spoke at a rally supporting traditional marriage.
Some members of the community felt Magsig’s appearance as mayor was inappropriate.
"The fact that he was there acting as the mayor and was there as the mayor, and introduced as the mayor, he somewhat represented the whole city in his viewpoint, because he did go there as the mayor and not as an individual," says Jason Scott, a concerned citizen.
Magsig says even as mayor, he has the right to his own opinion.
"Freedom of speech is a wonderful right that all of us in the United States have," says Mayor Magsig.
"And of course, I personally believe marriage should be between a man and a woman. That’s a personal opinion I have, and one that I stand by."
Both sides spoke out at the Clovis city council meeting — most praising Magsig’s support of family values.
"Those family values are based on the Judaeo-Christian values many of us share in this family," says Clovis resident Chris Patton. "I think it’s important this council understands, that is the majority."
Critics said the rally was about more than marriage. It was also a forum calling for the denial of equal legal rights to gays and lesbians.
"What’s going on here, from a certain few of the Christian coalition, is wrong," says Clovis resident James Evans. "Everyone is created equal under the eyes of God."
Magsig said he was obligated as mayor to speak out on what he thinks is right.
Two of Magsig’s companions on the city council endorsed his position.
But, former mayor Lynn Ashbeck said she was disappointed this issue would come up at a city council meeting, since it is not relevant to the work city councils are supposed to be doing.