Monday Freedom to Marry announced the addition of mayors from Atlanta, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and San Antonio as new co-chairs of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry and set a goal of reaching 500 mayors representing all 50 states. The program, launched in January 2012 with 80 mayors, now has more than 350 mayors representing 35 states and the District of Columbia.
“I’ve been a member of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry from the beginning because there’s no better place to advocate for freedom and fairness than in our own cities,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “Like more than 350 mayors from around the country, I stand for equality for all loving, committed couples, from our county clerks’ offices to our state capitols to our federal government.”
The campaign introduces five co-chairs who join current chairs Michael Bloomberg of New York, Thomas M. Menino of Boston, and Annise Parker of Houston. The new chairs are Julián Castro of San Antonio, Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, Kasim Reed of Atlanta, and Greg Stanton of Phoenix. Four out of the five new co-chairs live in states that exclude same-sex couples from marriage – something Freedom to Marry is working hard to change.
“I’m proud Los Angeles has led the way on marriage for same-sex couples, but we must extend our fight well beyond our city limits,” said newly-elected Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Every American is entitled to the promise on which our nation was founded – that all of us are to be treated equally. The momentum behind the freedom to marry is bringing us closer to achieving the American ideal, and I look forward to partnering with my fellow Mayors through this important effort.”
The centerpiece of the new campaign is a feature called Light Up the Map, which is a revamped web page with an interactive map that highlights the cities currently represented by Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, identifies key cities where Mayors are not yet a part of the campaign, and provides a call to action that makes it easy for users to urge their mayors to join. The map is designed to facilitate more active engagement on marriage among everyday people and their mayors.
Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, said: “America is ready for the freedom to marry, and support from America’s mayors poignantly illustrates how that’s so. Mayors from every region and from most states have signed up for Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, and we’re now working to enlist hundreds more, from every state in the country. Mayors are at the forefront of the crucial conversations about marriage happening in homes and businesses across the nation, and we look forward to working with our new leaders to show the unprecedented depth of support for marriage that exists in every part of America today.”
Support for the freedom to marry has reached record highs, with 58 percent of voters in favor, according to an ABC News poll released in March. This plurality of support holds in every region of the country: the Northeast (63 percent to 36 percent), the West (58 percent to 40 percent), the Midwest (51 percent to 47 percent), and the South (49 percent to 48 percent).
“Pennsylvania, like many states, is moving towards marriage equality, as more and more citizens and elected officials realize that inequality is not the direction of progress,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry is a unique way to bring the conversation back to our cities and towns, to show why marriage matters in our communities and how it improves the quality of life for our families.”
In 2009, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously approved a resolution expressing support for the freedom to marry “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.”