Knoxville mayor defends decision to support marriage equality with lighting of Henley Bridge

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero responded, in an open letter, to a constituent who showed concern about the lighting of the Henley Street Bridge to mark the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality.Previous story:Henley Bridge lit in rainbow color for marriage equality 

On June 29-30, the bridge was lit in rainbow colors after the ruling was announced.More coverage: Same-sex marriage

City of Knoxville resident Robin Burnette wrote this email to Rogero, dated June 30:

Dear Mayor Rogero,

I am patiently awaiting a response from your office. I understand this is a holiday week but I do still expect a response to my question on how you arose at the decision to light the bridge and did you take All your constituents views into consideration? I would also like to ask if the ruling had went the other way how would you and your office celebrated on behalf of those living in the city?

Again I will await your response.

Robin Burnette

City of Knoxville resident

Rogero sent this response, which she made public, on Monday:

Dear Ms. Brunette:

Thank you for patiently awaiting my response.  You are correct that due to the holiday week I was unavailable and enjoying some time with my grandchildren and other family members.  I hope you enjoyed the holiday week as well.

I do consider all of my constituents’ views when I make a  decision.  However, because my constituents have such diverse and conflicting views on any multitude of subjects, that alone cannot dictate the final action I take.  If it was, there would be no action ever on anything which, of course, would lead to criticism as well.

Throughout my term as mayor I have been very open and honest about my support for marriage equality and for fair treatment of the LGBT community.  I do not believe that supporting constitutional rights and opportunities of one segment of our community detracts from or denigrates from the rights of others.  Even the churches of our city and country have different views on the subject of same-sex marriage.  My action in lighting the bridge for two nights was a recognition of constitutional rights that were affirmed by our US Supreme Court.  There were many people who rejoiced with that decision and many others who didn’t.

I know that good and reasonable people often disagree, and I think that is where we find ourselves on this subject.  I appreciate that you took the time to contact me.

Best wishes,

Madeline

The lighting of the Henley Street Bridge in rainbow colors followed other landmarks around the nation, like the White House and the Empire State Building, that also supported the Supreme Court’s decision by displaying rainbow colors.

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