Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, a broad-based, nonpartisan group of mayors convened just over a year ago by Freedom to Marry to make the case for ending marriage discrimination, hit 300 mayors from 32 states and the District of Columbia Thursday, nearly quadrupling in size since its launch.
The 300th mayor to sign on is Denny Doyle of Beaverton, Oregon. “Beaverton is a diverse, welcoming community that respects and supports marriage equality,” said Doyle. “What a wonderful valentine to send from Beaverton!”
Doyle’s announcement comes just days after Oregon United for Marriage began a drive to collect signatures for a 2014 ballot initiative to overturn the state’s constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples – one of Freedom to Marry’s top priorities.
“It’s truly inspiring to see Mayors for the Freedom to Marry grow as so many of our cities’ leaders come together to make the case for marriage as good for the families, businesses, and communities they know and serve,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. “Mayors are in a unique position to make the case for marriage, and are accessible and responsive to the constituents and communities they serve, making them super-strong advocates for ending marriage discrimination and helping state and federal lawmakers and judges do the right thing. Freedom to Marry is proud of the way in which the mayors’ leadership has encouraged people across the country to take action to help enlist their own mayors in the cause.”
Among the many notable Mayors for the Freedom to Marry are Kasim Reed of Atlanta, who previously opposed marriage for same-sex couples; Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, the 2012 chair of the Democratic National Convention; Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, the chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors; and openly lesbian Mayor Annise Parker of Houston. The Mayors for the Freedom to Marry range from geographically diverse cities both large and small, in states with the freedom to marry, states that are considering marriage legislation this year, and states without any relationship recognition for same-sex couples.
Mayors for the Freedom to Marry Statement
As mayors of great American cities, we proudly stand together in support of the freedom of same-sex couples to marry. We personally know many gay and lesbian people living in our cities who are in committed, loving relationships, who are active participants in the civic life of our communities, and who deserve to be able to marry the person with whom they share their life.
We are proud that at its 2009 annual meeting, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously approved a resolution stating that: “The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports marriage equality for same-sex couples, and the recognition and extension of full equal rights to such unions, including family and medical leave, tax equity, and insurance and retirement benefits, and opposes the enshrinement of discrimination in the federal or state constitutions.”
Our cities derive great strength from their diversity, and gay and lesbian families are a crucial part. Studies have shown what we know through our hands-on experience—that cities that celebrate and cultivate diversity are the places where creativity and ideas thrive. They are the places where today’s entrepreneurs are most likely to choose to build the businesses of tomorrow. Allowing same-sex couples the right to marry enhances our ability to build this kind of environment, which is good for all of us.
We stand for the freedom to marry because it enhances the economic competitiveness of our communities, improves the lives of families that call our cities home, and is simply the right thing to do. We look forward to working to build an America where all people can share in the love and commitment of marriage with the person with whom they share their life.
Mayors for the Freedom to Marry celebrated its one-year anniversary with a reception during the U.S. Conference of Mayors in January. Marriage supporters can encourage their own mayors to join Mayors for the Freedom to Marry by sending and asking them to sign the official pledge.