GAYS, ALLIES CRITICIZE CITY CROWD CALLS FOR BENEFITS FOR PARTNERS.Byline: Heather MacDonald Staff Writer
SANTA CLARITA Santa Clarita, city (1990 pop. 110,642), Los Angeles co., S Calif., suburb 30 mi (48 km) NW of downtown Los Angeles, on the Santa Clara River; inc. 1987. Situated in the Santa Clara valley and nearby canyons, Santa Clarita includes the former towns of Canyon Country, - Dozens of people braved rain and cold winds Wednesday morning to protest the city's failure to extend benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian city workers.
Members of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Santa Clarita and the Democratic Alliance for Action waved hand-lettered signs denouncing the City Council and its members, as about 100 people from all over Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. County arrived for a city-sponsored human relations human relations npl → relaciones fpl humanas conference at the Hyatt Valencia.
``We believe the Constitution applies to everyone,'' said Scott Edwards Scott Edwards (born August 23, 1968) is an Australian rules footballer who played for the Fremantle Dockers between 1995 and 1996. He was drafted from Claremont in the WAFL as a foundation selection in the 1994 AFL draft and played mainly as a wingman. , the president of the Democratic Alliance, as he picketed along McBean Parkway near Town Center Drive.
The protesters said they were also outraged that Councilman Cameron Smyth Cameron Smyth is a Republican who has represented Califoria's 38th Assembly district since December of 2006. He succeeded Keith Richman who was term limited.
Prior to being elected to the state legislature, Assemblyman Smyth served on the Santa Clarita City Council, where he gave the opening remarks at the Diversity 2001 conference staged by the county's Human Relations Mutual Assistance Consortium.
Before being elected in April to the City Council, Smyth was state Sen. William J. ``Pete'' Knight's deputy chief of staff. Knight, who has long campaigned against gay rights, sponsored Proposition 22, an effort to outlaw marriage between same-sex couples. It passed during the November election.
Smyth apologized to the conference for becoming the focus of the event.
``It's a citywide policy, not just my own personal political belief,'' Smyth said.
Smyth was called on to fill in for Mayor Laurene Weste, who had been scheduled to attend the all-day conference, but did not. The consortium is made up of 65 cities and groups who have pledged to work with the county to combat hate crimes and address intolerance.
The City Council spent $5,500 to host the annual conference, and demonstrators said they were unconcerned the protest would mar the overall event.
``On an issue like this, the city deserves a black eye,'' said Craig Christensen, a member of the Stevenson Ranch Stevenson Ranch, California (in the 91381 ZIP Code) is a Los Angeles County, USA, unincorporated community west of Santa Clarita a few miles south of Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park. The Stevenson Ranch fountain was redone in 2007. Town Council and the Democratic Alliance.
Money to provide benefits for both homosexual couples and unmarried heterosexual couples was included in a draft of the city's 1999-2000 budget, but was stricken from the final version by the City Council in a closed-door meeting.
Tom DiCiocco, a member of the city's Human Relations Forum, said the two groups staged the protests after tiring of the city's failure to follow through on repeated promises to offer the benefits.
``We've been silent too long,'' DiCiocco said.
Both the Los Angeles County sheriff's and fire departments offer benefits to the domestic partners of their employees. The city has contracts with both agencies.
``Its just hypocritical hyp·o·crit·i·cal
1. Characterized by hypocrisy: hypocritical praise.
2. Being a hypocrite: a hypocritical rogue. ,'' said Kent Carlson Kent Carlson (born January 11, 1962 in Concord, New Hampshire) is a retired American ice hockey defenceman.
Drafted in 1982 by the Montreal Canadiens, Carlson, also played for the St. Louis Blues, and Washington Capitals. , the executive officer of the Service Employees International Union, Local 347. Several members of the union joined the soggy protest.
Five people staged a counter protest, on the other side of Town Center Drive, holding signs objecting to the use of their tax dollars for benefits for unmarried couples.
``These people have more rights than anyone else in the country,'' said Wayne Moorer, a Newhall resident. ``Now, they want special rights.''
(1 -- color) Denise Grimes Grimes is a surname, that is believed to be of a Scandinavian decent and may refer to
Moore played college basketball at Lamar. He didn't played college football. , Barbara Barrick and Debbie Gill picket to oppose calls for domestic partner benefits.
(2) Christian Noerman protests Wednesday outside the Hyatt Valencia, urging the city of Santa Clarita to extend employee benefits to domestic partners, including gay couples.
John Lazar/Staff Photographer