Fresno Mayoral Candidates & Religion

October 1, 2008 8:50:49 AM PDT
The Mayoral Forum was held at Cornerstone Church in Downtown Fresno. The candidates did not debate, but sat on stage for questions from a group of pastors. While the candidates were each quizzed on all the usual issues, at this forum, one question for this audience was especially important. Where do the candidates stand on Prop 8? The measure that would ban same sex marriage in California.

Ashley Swearengin had this to say:" I do support Prop 8. The way I came to that decision is frankly it represents my values and I have always believed the traditional definition of marriage as being between and man and a woman."

Her opponent, City Council member Henry T. Perea said because of his religious faith he also believes marriage is between a man and a woman. But, explained why he did not support Proposition 8.

He said: "I have come to the conclusion to vote against Prop 8 because I know what it's like to have somebody tell you can't do something based on where you're from, based on the color of your skin, and I cannot in my heart and in my good conscience tell that to somebody else."

Moderator, Pastor Jim Franklin asked both if gay marriage should be an issue a Mayor is concerned with.

Swearengin said:"I think going forward there are other things that need to get the attention of the Mayor. Such as job creation, fighting crime, the gang issue."

Perea agreed and added he thought a Mayor needs to be inclusive of everyone in the community, and should not take a stand on issues like Prop 8. He said," I think when a Mayor or a City Council takes a public position on these issues, it creates a division within a community."

While both Swearengin and Perea don't see the issue as a priority for a Mayor, Prop 8 is popular with Fresno voters and is expected to be a factor in bringing voters to the polls.

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