The debate over the definition of marriage is an issue for the courts — not Columbia City Council — and based on recent court the rulings, gay marriage is now legal in South Carolina. So I was struck by the sanctimonious rhetoric and fear mongering in City Councilman Cameron Runyan’s Nov. 23 guest column (“Why I cannot support redefining marriage”).
Rather than grandstand on morality, I want our City Council members to improve their working relationship, to vigorously debate ideas without it becoming personal and to focus on public safety, managing the budget and economic development.
Mr. Runyan’s bio on the city website tells us that “Cameron has a stirring passion for America, South Carolina and our capital city of Columbia. He believes that with strong, honest, ethical leadership, our greatest days are ahead of us ….”
I like that. But the sentence continues: “and that the light of the lamp stand will fully return to this land as Americans once again humble themselves and return to the rock from which we were hewn.”
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Then he tells us that his model for elected leadership is the 19th century statesman William Wilberforce, who fought to abolish slavery in England. It’s ironic that he would point to the acclaimed social reformer, whose passion was for the health and well-being of people who were vastly different than him. Sadly, Mr. Runyan’s opposition to providing health benefits to spouses of city employees is the antithesis of the values that Wilberforce stood for.
James R. Pagett Jr.