Wednesday, in advance of the upcoming inauguration, 175 mayors across the country from cities large and small announced “Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination,” a broad-based, nonpartisan coalition comprised of local officials who support equal protections and fair treatment for all LGBT people.
The launch was announced at a breakfast roundtable briefing and discussion among LGBT policy experts and dozens of mayors – including co-chairs of the coalition – at the Holland & Knight law offices in Washington, D.C. The discussion centered on what mayors and local officials can do to support their LGBT constituents and advance equal protections at home, and took place alongside Freedom for All Americans and the Center for American Progress.
Co-chairs include San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee; Seattle Mayor Ed Murray; D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser; and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. The full list of current Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination can be found at mayorsagainstlgbtdiscri
“I’m proud of San Francisco’s long-standing commitment to advancing and protecting the rights of our LGBT community, and of the tremendous contributions we’ve made to LGBT culture, history, and advocacy in America,” said Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco, founder and co-chair of Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination. “By opening our arms and welcoming everyone, San Francisco is a safer, more diverse and stronger city in part due to the invaluable members of our LGBT community. The vision for Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination seeks to take the very best of the advancements for equality that have been made in cities such as San Francisco and provide a template to support mayors across the country who want to do what’s right for their constituents, and join the efforts at the national level. We need all cities to stand together, in solidarity, to continue the progress towards equality, justice and opportunity. This coalition is committed to doing the hard work of education and advocacy until we achieve a society that ensures equal treatment for all.”
“I am committed to Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination because Seattle has long ensured full protections of our LGBT friends, family members, neighbors, and colleagues – which makes our community strong, diverse and economically vibrant,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “As a long-time state legislator and Seattle’s first openly gay mayor, it has been a priority of mine to fight for inclusion and LGBT equality. During a time when LGBT rights are again under attack nationally, we must stand up against discrimination and fight for equal treatment of all people in every community, town, and city in America.”
“When the District of Columbia passed an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, our city again stood up for fairness, equality, and dignity for all of our residents,” said Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “But when members of our community travel outside of Washington, D.C. on vacation or on business, they continue to face potential discrimination and a patchwork of unequal laws. It’s time now for other cities, states, and the entire country to embrace LGBT nondiscrimination protections so no one faces unfair treatment simply because of who they are.”
“The city of Philadelphia is committed to being a fair and inclusive place where all people feel welcome, and this includes passing equal protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people,” said Mayor Jim Kenney of Philadelphia. “Full equality – no matter who you are or who you love – is not only good for our community; it’s the right thing to do. Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination will work to make fairness and inclusion a reality everywhere.”
Right now, 32 states still lack comprehensive protections for LGBT people and the new administration brings increasing uncertainty surrounding federal policies. Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination will provide support and resources that can be implemented immediately at the local level in order to advance equality and affirm the dignity of all.
About the Co-Chairs
Mayor Muriel Bowser (Washington, D.C.): Mayor Bowser is the 7th elected Mayor in Washington, D.C. and took office in 2015, pledging to foster a culture of inclusion, transparency and action. Mayor Bowser has been committed to ensuring that every Washingtonian gets a fair shot. The Mayor’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Affairs has focused on public safety, LGBTQ youth, government operations and policies, community engagement and transgender residents’ issues.
Mayor Jim Kenney (Philadelphia, PA): On January 4, 2016, Jim was sworn in as the 99th Mayor of Philadelphia. In his first budget, the Mayor worked closely with City Council to fund bold anti-poverty initiatives – including expansion of quality pre-k, the creation of 25 community schools and $300M investment in parks, rec centers and libraries – by making Philadelphia the first major city to pass a tax on sweetened beverages. One month later, Philadelphia shined on an international stage while hosting the 2016 Democratic National Convention, winning praise for the Philadelphia Police Department’s positive interactions with demonstrators and for the city’s overall management of this large-scale event during an acute heat wave and a particularly tense time in our nation’s history.
Mayor Ed Lee (San Francisco, CA): Mayor Lee took office in 2012 as Mayor of San Francisco. For his entire career, Mayor Lee, who is the first Asian American mayor in the city’s history, has been an advocate and friend to the LGBT community. Only two days after North Carolina’s devastating HB2 was signed into law, Mayor Lee was one of the first mayors to ban any non-essential city-funded travel to the state. Mayor Lee worked with his colleagues to found Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination.
Mayor Ed Murray (Seattle, WA): Mayor Ed Murray became Mayor of Seattle in 2014 after 18 years in the Washington state legislature. As an openly gay legislator, he led the push for Washington’s statewide LGBT nondiscrimination law, which passed in 2006. As Mayor, he has been dedicated to social justice – making Seattle a safe, affordable, vibrant and interconnected city for all. In 2015, Mayor Murray announced a task force to develop recommendations to create a safer environment for LGBT people in the city and to work with community members, businesses and organizations to increase safety and LGBT visibility citywide.