Mayor Satish Hiremath is running for mayor again and is asking for our votes. Unfortunately, as of now, I cannot vote for him. When I vote for a mayor, I want that person to demonstrate quality leadership on key issues that affect our community.
I had hoped back in December, 2013 Hiremath would have displayed such leadership when I appeared in front of the town council. At that meeting, I requested the mayor join the U.S. Council of Mayors and support their resolution endorsing marriage equality for same-sex couples. I let Mayor Hiremath know that five other Arizona mayors including Rothschild of Tucson and Stanton of Phoenix had already joined this coalition. One more has been added since that time.
I also indicated that the Arizona Technology Council, the state’s largest trade association for technology businesses, announced it would add issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality to its lobbying platform agenda. While they recognized LGBT equality as a fundamental human rights issue, they also noted it was good for the “bottom line.”
I thought this line of reasoning would resonate with Mayor Hiremath since he advocates bringing technology companies to Oro Valley.
Unfortunately, neither my public statement nor the fact that several Oro Valley residents showed up in support of my request convinced Mayor Hiremath to show leadership on the crucial civil rights issue of our time. Subsequently I am not aware of any public statements the mayor has made showing support for marriage equality in Arizona; nor has he taken any leadership steps encouraging his Oro Valley town council board members to pass a civil union bill for our community.
Since I appeared in front of the mayor last year, many more states now allow gay couples to marry; the number is now 19 including Washington, D.C. Two of our neighboring states New Mexico and California enable gay couples to marry. Recently, Governor Brewer stated that her views on marriage equality are evolving.
The time is ripe for Mayor Hiremath to use his leadership and sign on to the marriage equality movement. While marriage equality cannot be passed in Arizona on a city level, our public officials should promote civil union laws and show their support for a fundamental human right-one that the Supreme Court has recently upheld when they ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.