GREENVILLE S.C. (WSPA) – A Greenville County Council meeting was packed Tuesday as its members voted on a resolution that would “sunset” resolutions after four years and would expire resolutions that passed before 2016, including an anti-gay resolution from 1996. That resolution says the traditional family structure is in accord with community standards and that the lifestyles advocated by the gay community should not be endorsed by government policy makers.
Chairman Butch Kirven said more people came to Tuesday night’s meeting than in all his years on council.
The “sunset resolution” was originally approved by council members in a committee meeting Tuesday afternoon, but later it appeared some council members changed their minds.
Members and allies of the local LGBTQ had hoped the 1996 anti-gay resolution would be taken off the books by the sunset resolution.
“It sends the message that Greenville County’s official position is that not all people matter, not all citizens matter, and that is what we’re fighting so hard to change,” said David Poteat with Rainbow Support Group S.C.
Some people held rainbow flags and signs, but others, including several local pastors, spoke against the proposal.
“If we step away from Biblical traditional values, we’re not going to have the same Greenville that we have today and enjoy,” said David Shoemaker, who is a pastor at Bethel Calvary Baptist Church in Taylors.
At a committee meeting before the County Council meeting, council members voted 8-3 to pass the sunset resolution. Hours later, council members Joe Dill and Bob Taylor changed their votes.
“When I got out here and I started hearing things that pricked my conscience and made me realize that I couldn’t vote for this because there’s a lot of stuff that was going to be killed in the 1996 resolution,” Dill said.
The motion failed 6-5. It needed seven votes to pass. Council members Roberts, Norris, Seman, Ballard, Kirven, and Tripp voted in favor, while council members Dill, Barnes, Meadows, Cates, and Taylor voted against it.
Council member Ennis Fant was not present to vote. He told 7 News he was out of town for work and wasn’t weighing in on the resolution failing.
“I’m extremely disappointed in what happened here tonight,” said Chris Jones of Simpsonville, who came out in support of the LGBTQ community.
Dill also introduced a resolution that would put the values described in that 1996 resolution to the voters in a ballot measure in November.