Richardson's remarks are rambling almost to the point of incoherence, but she manages to make several points clear:
♦ she was sick and had originally planned to be absent from the council meeting, but she rose from her sickbed expressly to vote on this resolution, which she helped to defeat;
♦ she asserted that she is a born-again Christian, and that she struggled her entire time on the council with the conflict between her private views and her public responsibilities; and
♦ she asserted that she is "the product of a bi-racial marriage", which was illegal in many states; and yet she feels no qualms about voting to "preserve what a definition of marriage means".
Richardson was sharply criticized for homophobic campaign literature that she used when she was running for a state Assembly seat against Gerrie Schipske in 1996. Schipske, an openly lesbian Democrat who is now a member of the Long Beach city council, defeated Richardson. Some of Richardson's supporters are now trying to claim that the incident is in the distant past and that she is no longer homphobic; but this vote and these comments, which are easily found on the internet, were made a little over a thousand days ago. Memory sometimes fails, but Google is forever.
Richardson speaks for seven minutes, starting when the time clock on the media player says 4hrs 09min here . One can move the Seek button to that point rather than wait through the entire video.
One may read her remarks as the video plays:
THANK YOU, MADAM MAYOR.
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR.
WHEN THIS ISSUE WAS BROUGHT
FORWARD LAST WEEK, I HAD SAID
THAT I WAS GOING TO BE SICK ON
TUESDAY, AND BE AT HOME, AND
HERE I AM SICK, BUT I’M HERE.
AND I’M HERE BECAUSE THIS IS
WHAT WE’RE HERE TO DO.
WE’RE HERE TO DEAL WITH THE
GOOD ISSUES AND, UNFORTUNATELY,
SOME OF THE VERY TOUGH AND
DIFFICULT ISSUES THAT FACES
I’D LIKE TO KIND OF STEP BACK A
LITTLE BIT IN TIME AND BRING A
LITTLE HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
VERY BRIEFLY HERE, AND THEN I
HOPE -- I THINK WE MIGHT
ACTUALLY BE IN THE PROCESS OF
CREATING SOMETHING THAT WE CAN
LIVE WITH THAT CAN ADDRESS, I
THINK, BOTH ISSUES THAT HAVE
BEEN TALKED ABOUT THIS EVENING
AND STILL HAVE SOME WHOLENESS
IN OUR COMMUNITY, WHICH IS WHAT
I’M CONCERNED ABOUT.
I AM THE PRODUCT OF A BI-
THERE WAS A TIME AND A PERIOD
WHEN MANY PEOPLE FELT THAT THAT
WAS SOMETHING THAT THAT WAS ILLEGAL.
IN FACT, IT WAS ILLEGAL IN MANY
AND SOME PEOPLE FELT THAT
SOMEONE LIKE ME WAS
INSIGNIFICANT, THAT MY BRAIN
WASN’T AS GOOD BECAUSE IT HAD A
LITTLE BIT MORE OF ONE DROP OF
SOMETHING THAN SOMETHING ELSE.
AND SO EVEN THOUGH I COME FROM --
I WAS BORN AND RAISED FROM A
RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND, I BECAME
A BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN WHEN I WAS 14.
EVEN WITH ALL OF THAT, I ALSO
KNOW THAT WITH YOUR FAITH,
THERE IS ALSO A JOB THAT WE
HAVE TO DO HERE WHICH HAS TO DO
WITH PUBLIC POLICY AND WITH
AND I THINK ONE OF THE BIGGEST
THINGS THAT I HAVE HAD TO
STRUGGLE WITH IN MY NOW FOUR
YEARS OF BEING A COUNCILMEMBER
IS WHEN SOMETIMES, WHAT HAPPENS
WHEN YOUR PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE
MIGHT BE IN CONFLICT WITH WHAT
YOU FEEL IS BY LAW OR BY PUBLIC
POLICY WHAT IS THE RIGHT THING
I WANT TO BRING SOMETHING ELSE
ALSO TO YOUR ATTENTION.
THIS COUNTRY — WELL, NOT
NECESSARILY THE COUNTRY, BUT
THIS STATE -- WAS DIVIDED BY
AND YOU KNOW WHAT,
I THINK WHEN IT’S ALL SAID AND
DONE, SOMEBODY OVER THERE IS
LAUGHING AT ALL OF US, BECAUSE
YOU’VE GOT -- I SIT HERE AND IT
REALLY GRIEVES MY SPIRIT TO SEE
THE YOUNG PEOPLE SITTING HERE
LISTENING TO SOME OF THIS,
LISTENING TO SOME OF THE
LAUGHS, LISTENING TO SOME OF
AND I WOULD JUST URGE ALL OF
US TO REMEMBER, LOOK BACK ON SOME
OF THE MOVIES THAT YOU’VE SEEN.
LOOK AT SOME OF THE THINGS THAT
WHEN YOUNG PEOPLE WERE TAUGHT
CERTAIN PERSPECTIVES AND
CERTAIN IDEAS AND WHAT WERE
THE RESULTS AS THEY GREW UP AND
SOME OF THAT HATE WAS BUILT
IN PROPOSITION 187, THAT WAS
BROUGHT FORWARD TO SAY THAT
HEALTH BENEFITS SHOULD NOT BE
PROVIDED TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.
AND THAT PASSED RESOUNDINGLY IN
THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA.
BUT WHAT HAPPENED WAS THE
COURTS FOUND THAT THAT WAS
AND AGAIN, I THINK SOMETIMES
WE’RE GOING TO FIND OURSELVES
WHERE OUR PERSONAL BELIEFS MAY
NOT NECESSARILY MATCH UP WITH
APPROPRIATE PUBLIC POLICY.
WHEN I’VE LISTENED TONIGHT -- AND
I THOUGHT A LOT ABOUT WHAT WAS
GOING TO BE HAPPENING TODAY;
IN FACT, I’VE SPENT A LOT OF
TIME THINKING ABOUT IT OVER THE
LAST FIVE OR SIX DAYS -- AND I’VE
REALLY HEARD TWO DIFFERENT
THINGS. AND I WOULD VENTURE TO ASK YOU
TO PLEASE VENTURE WITH THIS
IDEA THAT I THINK THAT THESE
ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS HERE.
I HEARD ONE GROUP OF PEOPLE
TALK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF
MARRIAGE AND WHAT MARRIAGE
MEANS AND WHAT IS THE
DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE.
BUT I DIDN’T HEAR OF, IF I’M NOT MISTAKEN,
I DIDN’T HEAR, OF ALL OF
THE PEOPLE WHO TALKED ABOUT WHY
THEY WANTED MARRIAGE TO STILL
BE WITH A MAN AND A WOMAN, I
DIDN’T HEAR ANY OF THOSE PEOPLE
SAY THAT THEY DIDN’T FEEL THAT
PEOPLE WHO MAY HAVE A SAME SEX
RELATIONSHIP DO NOT DESERVE
EQUAL RIGHTS, AND THAT’S WHERE
I THINK THAT SOMEBODY OVER
THERE IS LAUGHING AT ALL OF US.
AND IN THE SAME HAND, I DIDN’T
HEAR PEOPLE HERE WITH -- WHO ARE SAYING
THAT THEY WANTED THE RIGHTS
THAT WERE SAYING THAT THEY FELT
THAT MARRIAGE WAS ONLY THIS ONE
AND SO FOR ME, I’M KIND OF
CAUGHT IN A QUANDARY, BECAUSE I
PERSONALLY HAVE A PERSPECTIVE,
BUT I ALSO HAVE A PROFESSIONAL,
AND I THINK A JOB TO DO.
AND SO WHAT I’VE ASKED MY
COLLEAGUES, I BELIEVE,
COUNCILMEMBER -- VICE MAYOR --
COLONNA PUT FORWARD A
SUBSTITUTE MOTION. I WOULD
SUPPORT HIS SUBSTITUTE MOTION
IF HE WOULD ACCEPT A FRIENDLY
AMENDMENT THAT WOULD SAY WE NOT
ONLY SUPPORT, WE SUPPORT LAWS
THAT COME FORWARD THAT
SUPPORT THE RIGHTS OF EVERYONE BUT WE
WOULD ALSO OPPOSE ANY LAWS THAT
WOULD PROHIBIT THE RIGHTS OF
ANYONE. [Note: Vice Mayor Frank Colonna had
offered a vague substitute motion to support
constitutional amendments that guaranteed
citizens' rights, making no mention of the federal
marriage amendment. --LB]
AND NOTICE THE WORDS “THE
RIGHTS OF ANYONE”.
AND I THINK THAT’S ULTIMATELY
WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT HERE
I’M VERY CONCERNED THAT WHEN WE
WALK OUT OF HERE I SEE A LOT OF
PEOPLE -- AND SOMEONE MENTIONED
OF ALL THE ISSUES WE HAVE
FACING THIS COUNCIL, WHY AREN’T
ALL THESE PEOPLE HERE WHEN
WE’RE TALKING ABOUT THAT WE’RE
GOING TO CLOSE LIBRARIES ONE
DAY A WEEK. AND I JUST -- I STRUGGLE
WITH THAT, BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT THIS
COUNCIL IS ABOUT. THIS COUNCIL IS
ABOUT PROVIDING THE BEST SERVICES
FOR OUR COMMUNITY.
AND SO I’M STRUGGLING UP HERE,
AS MANY OF YOU ARE.
I WOULD URGE YOU -- I’M REALLY
DISAPPOINTED WITH SOME OF THE
THINGS THAT I’VE HEARD SAID,
AND I JUST HOPE THAT WE CAN
WALK AWAY TONIGHT WITH BEING
ABLE TO BUILD A BETTER LONG
BEACH AND US WORK TOGETHER AND
NOT SPENDING 99% OF THE TIME
TALKING ABOUT THE 1% OF WHAT WE
DON’T AGREE UPON.
SO I’M GOING TO DO MY BEST IN
THIS VOTE. I’M PRAYING THAT IT’S GOING TO
COME UP WITH THE FRIENDLY
AMENDMENT THAT I HAVE SUGGESTED
TO VICE MAYOR COLONNA, AND I
HOPE THAT WITH THAT, WE CAN
WORK ON THE NEXT STEPS.
THE LAST THING I WOULD JUST SAY
IS THAT OF THE TWO BILLS THAT
COUNCILMEMBER BAKER SHARED WITH
ME, THEY ARE IN COMMITTEE. [Note: This is a
reference to the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House
versions of the federal marriage amendment. --LB]
I DID CONTACT TO SHOW, TO TALK ABOUT THE
STRUGGLE OF THIS WHOLE ISSUE, I
CONTACTED MY CONGRESSPERSON,
BECAUSE THAT’S WHO THIS IS
COMING TO, AND MY CONGRESSPERSON
SAID THAT THIS IS NOT
COMING BEFORE A VOTE OF THE
CONGRESS THIS YEAR. [Note: A motion to invoke
cloture was voted on in the U.S. Senate only 33 days later, on 14 Jul 2004 -- which was also Nate's and my one-year wedding anniversary. Memory will never fail me on this one. --LB]
SO I THINK THAT THERE IS A LOT OF WORK THAT
NEEDS TO BE DONE.
I BELIEVE -- I AM THE OPTIMIST THAT BELIEVES
THAT WE CAN PROTECT THE RIGHTS
OF PEOPLE AND YET PRESERVE
WHAT A DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE
SO I LOOK FORWARD TO HOPEFULLY US
COMING TOGETHER AND BUILDING
A BETTER LONG BEACH.