If it had been up to Long Beach voters back in November 2008, Proposition 8 would just be a memory.
Now, the Long Beach City Council is joining its constituents in opposing the same-sex marriage ban.
Next Tuesday, the council will vote on creating a resolution "affirming the support of the City of Long Beach for full marriage equality, and for the decision of the Governor and Attorney General not to further defend Proposition 8 in court," the meeting agenda says.
Surprisingly, among the four council members who are sponsoring the resolution is new 9th District Councilman Steve Neal. The councilman took some heat from gay-rights groups before he was elected in April for comments he had made to the Long Beach Business Journal about gay marriage.
"I believe marriage is an institution instituted by God," Neal, who is a pastor and a Democrat, told the publication. "And that being said, I don't think that man has the ability or the right to change that."
Neal, who represents North Long Beach, didn't return phone calls Wednesday seeking comment about the about-face on the issue.
The other council members sponsoring the resolution are Robert Garcia, Patrick O'Donnell and James Johnson.
Fifty-two percent of California voters approved Proposition 8 in 2008, five months after the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages, while in Long Beach, 52 percent of voters opposed the measure.
Since then, Proposition
Attorney General Jerry Brown has refused to defend Proposition 8 because he thinks it is unconstitutional, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is remaining neutral on the issue.
A conservative group took legal measures to force the state to defend the same-sex ban, but California's 3rd District Court of Appeal refused to do so in early September. Now, Proposition 8 backers have taken their case to federal court and are arguing that they have the right to appeal the measure if the state won't.
Long Beach to count bicycles
It's hard not to notice the increasing number of bikes on the streets of Long Beach. Exactly how many there are is something Long Beach residents can help find out.
The city is partnering with Cal State Long Beach for the third annual Bike Count in October and is looking for 300 volunteers to take part.
The count will help the city get a better understanding of locations of bike and pedestrian activity, which areas and infrastructure are used the most, and where bike and pedestrian improvements need to be made.
Volunteers have until Oct. 11 to register, and the bike count will take place Oct. 14 and 17. People can register online at www.csulb.edu/rideshare - click on "Bike Count" - and must attend a training session Oct. 12 or 13. Anyone interested in volunteering can also e-mail courtney. firstname.lastname@example.org or call 562-570-6667.
Volunteers will get a $10 dollar gift card to a local bike shop after the count is complete.
Apply for a passport at City Hall
Long Beach residents wanting to take a trip abroad can now apply for a passport close to home.
The Long Beach City Clerk Department has begun accepting passport applications on behalf of the U.S. State Department.
The new service was implemented to raise revenues and as a convenience for residents.
United States citizens may apply for their passports Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Long Beach City Hall, 333 West Ocean Blvd. The service is available by appointment or for walk-ins.
For passport application forms, information on documentation required, fees and other passport and international travel information, visit www.travel.state.gov.