Fresno Mayoral Candidates and Same Sex Marriage

7/17/2008 Fresno, CA Fresno Mayoral Candidate Ashley Swearengin recently said that while she believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, she opposes a ban on same sex marriage. Her position raised some eyebrows among her supporters.

Like influential conservative Pastor H. Spees. He said, "As a pastor I was very concerned about her stance on this so I called her and talked to her about it."

Swearengin now says after further study, her concerns about Proposition 8 have been cleared up. She explains," I was actually looking at some earlier versions of the amendment that were restrictive and did some laws for all unmarried couples and I was really uncomfortable with that. But Proposition 8 says marriage is simply between a man and a woman and of course I support that. It's my long held view, and today I officially endorse Prop 8."

Political Science professor Tom Holyoke, of Fresno State, says it appears Swearengin was trying to stay neutral and came under pressure. He said," Now it sounds like her desire to not commit to a specific position has probably ruffled some feathers among her key voting constituency."

Swearengin's opponent Henry T. Perea said,"I believe marriage is to be between a man and a woman but I will not vote to support the proposition. It is a civil rights issue."

So, Perea does not support the so called ban, and Swearingen does, though she doesn't call it a ban because she believes it maintains the rights of same sex couples to form legal domestic partnerships.

Is it an issue that should matter in the Mayors race? Holyoke thinks it's important to many voters. He said, "A lot of voters want their political leaders to represent the same values that they do, so a lot of voters are looking for signals from candidates as to who has the same social values as they do."

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