Equal Rights Activist, Mayor Cook React to "Gay Rights" Issue
POSTED: Friday, September 23, 2011 - 5:25pm
UPDATED: Friday, September 30, 2011 - 2:44pm
EL PASO- More than 9,000 signatures have been verified, but Mayor John Cook's fight against the recall isn't over yet.
Mayor cook and a local equal rights activist say this recall has nothing to do with overturning the people's vote and everything to do with providing health care benefits to gay employees. Mayor John Cook and representatives Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega could all be booted out of office for approving domestic partner benefits for city employees after the public voted against it. Mayor Cook says the controversy is about the two gay employees who asked for city health benefits for their partners, which they pay for.
"Maybe we should just phrase it that way on the ballot and say whether or not people approve of providing health care benefits to people even if they're gay," says Mayor Cook.
Mayor Cook is appealing the recall and says he thinks he's got a shot.
"We’ve got eyewitness testimony that signatures were being solicited at churches and at other corporations which is against the election code," says Mayor Cook.
Pastor Tom Brown spearheaded the recall. He says it's about letting the people's vote count. Equal rights activist Bill Ellis says he thinks Brown has different intentions.
"It’s important, I think at this point, to distinguish between Pastor Brown and Reverend Brown, because there's nothing reverend about a bigot," says Ellis.
Ellis says the recall is not only bad for the city officials, but our city as a whole.
"For us to have it and then take a giant leap backward really is discouraging to people who are progressively thinking who might want to come here and establish businesses," says Ellis.
He thinks there should be a separation of church and state.
"We’re trying to base our government based on a narrow interpretation of one religion, and that's how we're supposed to develop public policy yeah that's pretty backward," says Ellis.
The latest estimates for the recall election are at over $900,000. If you're wondering where that money might come from Mayor Cook says it could wipe out the $1.3 million in the budget allotted for parks, libraries and street maintenance.