On Thursday, the Austin City Council voted unanimously to approve a marriage equality resolution sponsored by Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and co-sponsored by Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Council Member Laura Morrison. With this move, Austin became the first city in Texas to endorse marriage equality.
Austin City Council Members were joined in their support of marriage equality by Equality Texas, the Anti-Defamation League, the Human Rights Campaign, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the NAACP, and allgo.
“It is a great day for Austin to recognize diversity and respect for civil rights and show in public action our support for marriage equality,” said Mayor Pro Tem Cole. “At a time when our national institutions have not yet fully embraced this basic civil right, it is important that we support non-discrimination actions at every opportunity.”
The Council resolution recognizes that marriage is a powerful and important affirmation of love and commitment and a source of social support and recognition. Passage of the resolution sends the message to state and national leaders that Austin is a community that values equality for all of its citizens. The resolution will also send the message that the City of Austin believes all couples in loving and committed relationships should be given the opportunity to create stronger and more successful families through civil marriage.
“We have a robust and diverse LGBT community in Austin and I am proud to stand with them and defend their right to equal marriage,” said Mayor Leffingwell who signed the national “Mayors for Freedom to Marry” Pledge earlier this year. “The tide is changing in America and I hope that by joining this loud chorus, our city can play a significant role in helping set us on a path to full marriage equality in our country in my lifetime.”
The City of Austin has adopted a series of non-discrimination ordinances in the areas of housing, public accommodation, and employment, grounded in the embrace of diversity and equal rights of all of its citizens.
“Marriage provides essential legal and economic protections for couples,” said Council Member Morrison, a founder of the Austin/Travis County Hate Crimes Task Force. “All couples in committed relationships, regardless of sexual orientation, deserve the basic right to a civil marriage and to equality.”