The following is in response to the proclamation signed by Mayor Swearengin:
Mayor Ashley Swearengin
City of Fresno
2600 Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93721
February 13, 2009
Dear Madam Mayor:
As both a concerned citizen of Fresno and an open lesbian in a married-committed 11-year relationship, it was with mixed emotions that I learned of the City of Fresno’s Proclamation making this week "Celebrate Marriage Week." While I wholeheartedly embrace the concept of marriage and celebrate this institution as it strengthens our families, our communities and protects our children. I question the spirit of this celebration as long as marriage is a right not granted equally to all of Fresno’s citizens.
For now, this proclamation unfortunately serves two purposes: 1) For many, the purpose for which it was intended, a celebration of marriage, which I whole-heartedly support your public endorsement to strengthen and value ALL marriages and 2) For others, a reminder of that which we have not yet been able to secure, equal treatment under the law. This proclamation is a celebration thrown by the City of Fresno, where the invitation is conditional for area LGBT couples who were not able to get married before November 4th.
Since 1992, the last time Mayor Karen Humphrey signed a proclamation to celebrate pride day in the city of Fresno, I have eagerly awaited a Mayor who would again celebrate the value of ALL Fresno’s citizens. I truly hope the intent of signing the “Celebrate Marriage Week” proclamation was simply done as an effort to strengthen ALL relationships for the betterment of Fresno and that we are not realizing only a few weeks in to your position that we have a Mayor who will creating divisions and offering much of the same to our community.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this email, the proclamation created mixed emotions for me, and I believe strongly that many others feel the same. I sincerely hope that your expressed willingness in the past to work with and for all citizens of Fresno includes me, my wife and family, and other gays and lesbians and their families as well. In that spirit I thought it was important to make sure that you were aware of the sensitivities and concerns brought about when you signed this proclamation. I would value a response to the intent of your signing such a proclamation.
With Thoughtfully Positive Intent,