The City of West Hollywood has sworn-in John Heilman as its new Mayor and John J. Duran as its new Mayor Pro Tempore. An Oath of Office ceremony was administered by City Clerk Yvonne Quarker during the City of West Hollywood’s annual City Council Reorganization and Installation meeting on Monday, May 15, 2017 at the City Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room at West Hollywood Library. A brief City Council meeting took place followed by a community reception on the second floor of the library. Mayor Heilman and Mayor Pro Tempore Duran are openly gay and they serve as two of three openly gay members on the five-member City Council.
Mayor Heilman has served the City of West Hollywood as a Councilmember since the City was incorporated in 1984. He is one of the longest serving openly gay elected officials in the country. Heilman is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and the Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California (USC). Heilman also earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Master’s Degree in Real Estate Development from the Price School of Public Policy at USC. He currently teaches law at the Southwestern Law School and at the University of Southern California Law School.
Mayor Heilman’s opening comments just moments after his installation were a call to action to “oppose and resist the reactionary policies coming out of Washington D.C.” Below is an excerpt from that speech:
“First and foremost, we must do everything we can to oppose and resist the reactionary policies that are coming out of Washington, D.C. These are policies that would eliminate healthcare for the most vulnerable people in our community, many of them living with HIV and AIDS, many of them with other serious pre-existing conditions, policies which would defund reproductive health care, policies which would undermine the gains of the LGBT community, especially the scant protections that are available for the transgender community.
But we must do more than simply resist and oppose. We must serve as a strong counterexample in the city of West Hollywood. We must remain a city that promotes equality, that promotes human rights. We must continue to be a leader in the fight for LGBT rights. We must continue to be a leader in the fight for equality for women and girls. We must continue to fight to ensure that reproductive health care is available to all. We must continue to be committed to providing social services and affordable housing for those in need in our community. We must continue to be a community that demonstrates our commitment through our funding process.
We must oppose and resist all of those policies coming out of Washington that target people of different religions, and different races and different ethnicities. We must oppose and resist everything that’s coming out of Washington that would attack our immigrant population. We certainly must oppose all of the belligerent activities in Washington that are alienating our allies and provoking our enemies and creating a climate of instability in the world.”
Mayor Pro Tempore John J. Duran is a native Angeleno and has been a resident of West Hollywood since 1990. He has been an elected member of the West Hollywood City Council since 2001. He is a recognized national leader on HIV/AIDS issues and on LGBT equality. Duran has a Juris Doctorate degree from Western State University College of Law and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University Long Beach (CSULB). He has been a lawyer in private practice since 1987.
Incorporated in 1984, the City of West Hollywood is one of the most outspoken advocates anywhere for the legal rights of LGBT people. West Hollywood was one of the first cities in the country to pass a resolution in support of marriage equality. This paved the way for same-sex marriage initiatives all over the country. In June 2008, in a monumental moment in U.S. history, the city, in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Register-Recorder Clerk, began to issue marriage licenses and perform civil ceremonies for same-sex couples after the California Supreme Court ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The City was forced to halt those marriages in November 2008 with the passage of Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. A long legal battle ensued in federal court, which finally resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court dismissing an appeal in Hollingsworth v. Perry in June 2013 allowing same-sex marriages to resume. The City of West Hollywood launched a marriage celebration and West Hollywood councilmembers and city officials performed hundreds of civil ceremonies. In June 2015, the City of West Hollywood was a focal point in national celebrations marking the historic decision Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Supreme Court ruled that all states must license and recognize same-sex marriages.