IT'S BEGINNING to appear that the issue of whether to grant family rates to a same-sex married couple at the Natatorium in Cuyahoga Falls will break in favor of Mayor Don Robart's conservative political and religious forces. The months-long question will be on hold until May 10 when the city's Parks and Recreation board will again meet to discuss whether to grant the couple its request for the lower family rate.
Unfortunately, the opponents still have the numbers on City Council and the Park Board to vote down a $130 annual fee change. It is hard to imagine how reactionary the Robart-defined crowd is to turn its back on the couple, one of whose spouses is a wounded Iraqi veteran.
The Tea Party mayor has disingenuously argued that the city cannot recognize the couple's family status because same-sex marriages are not recognized by the state. He has even simplistically dismissed the issue as a "can of worms" for the city's finances and described the current attempts to change anything a matter of "fiddling around". Even his own law director has said he sees no reason why the city can't offer the family rate, as has been accorded in some other cities. At the same time, the mayor's political and religious allies on the board and city council have expressed religious opposition to any deal. And Robart has ingloriously decalred he will veto a majority vote on council.
The current partisan makeup of council favors Democrats, 6-5 over Republicans, But Councilwoman Diana Colavecchio, who along with the other five Democrats who favor a rate change , says she would need eight votes to override a veto, which is not likely to be reached. Parks board Chairman Tim Gorbach, likewise a Democrat who supports a change, has seen the board's 3 Republicans turn it down, 3-2.
What price the stigma for Robart and his town? Try a $130 rate change. Go ahead. Fiddle around.