U.S. Conference of Mayors Passes Resolution Supporting the Freedom to Marry

Freedom to Marry Press Release
June 15, 2009

U.S. Conference of Mayors Passes Resolution Supporting the Freedom to Marry
Mayors Across the Country Pledge to Lead the Fight Against Inequality

The U.S. Conference of Mayors today passed a resolution in support of ending the exclusion of gay couples from marriage. The resolution, titled "Equality and Civil Rights for Gay and Lesbian Americans," included support for the freedom to marry along with endorsement of federal bills such as Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, the Uniting American Families Act, and the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

“By passing this resolution, America's mayors spoke for the families they know and serve in communities across the country, and said that excluding those families from the freedom to marry must stop,” said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry and author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality and Gay People's Right to Marry. “The mayors have their fingers on the pulse of the country, and their voices today said loud and clear that ending discrimination in marriage is the way to go.”

In reference to the freedom to marry, the resolution stated, “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED 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.”

“The nation’s mayors are proud to take the lead in recognizing the importance of protecting all our citizens equally. It is now time for state legislatures and our federal government to enact the same protections for all our nation’s citizens,” said U.S. Conference of Mayors President Greg Nickels, Mayor of Seattle.

“The mayors' leadership reaffirms that the freedom to marry should not be partisan or political, but rather is part of the security and respect all couples who've made a commitment to care for one another and who are dealing with life's ups and downs should have, especially in these challenging economic times." said Wolfson. “Now the New York State Senate should be the next to lead the nation on the path to equality by swiftly passing the freedom to marry bill into law.”

New York's Assembly passed the marriage bill in May, and political leaders from across the state, including New York City's Independent/Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg and U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have called on the State Senate to follow suit in the next few weeks. New York Governor David Paterson is ready to sign the bill. New Jersey also has a governor pledged to sign the state’s pending freedom to marry bill once it reaches his desk.

View the Resolution: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/pdfs/Mayors_Resolution.pdf


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America’s Gay Paradox

The Atlantic
June 12, 2009
Andrew Gelman reproduces a fascinating state-by-state analysis of recent shifts in support for marriage equality. What emerges is the fact that states that were already more supportive of the freedom to marry have become more so much faster than those initially reluctant. My sense is that it is about the number of openly gay people in these states. Once you reach a tipping point in understanding that gay people are not evil perverts who all live under a gooseberry bush somewhere in San Francisco, the logic of full equality sweeps all before it. Honesty and dialogue make equality inevitable. [Link]

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How To Get 63% of Americans to Support the Freedom to Marry. (Maybe.)

June 11, 2009
When marriage equality is polled, it is almost always framed as a positive right, as in: "Should the government permit same sex couples to get married?" But there is a different way to frame the question that is no less fair, and flips the issue on its head. Namely: "Should the government be allowed to prohibit same sex couples from getting married?" This is closer to the logic embodied by the court decisions in Iowa, California, Massachusetts, and other states, and to the Marriage Resolution framed by Freedom to Marry:
Because marriage is a basic human right and an individual choice, RESOLVED, the state should not interfere with same-gender couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitment of civil marriage.

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Marriage Equality: A Tipping Point?

June 11, 2009
Jeff Lax and Justin Phillips have used statistical analysis to estimate attitudes toward marriage equality state-by-state. They used national opinion polls from 1994 through 2009 and analyzed several different opinion questions on gay rights. They found, among other things, that approximately as much change has occurred in attitudes toward marriage equality in the last four years as in the previous eight, and that states with higher levels of early support changed the most - possibly due to more gay people being "out" and visible in those states. [Link]

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Voice for Equality: Joe Bruno

Joe Bruno is a businessman and Republican politician. He was the Temporary President of the New York State Senate and its majority leader.

Bruno, in an interview in June of 2009 about the freedom to marry bill pending in the New York legislature, said, "It's time. Now. For the government to back off, let people make their own life decisions, and about who they care about and who they don't care about...."

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Focus on Freedom to Marry Stays on State Fights

Associated Press
May 27, 2009
California's status as a guardian of gay rights slipped this week when its highest court upheld a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, even as other states extended the institution to gay couples. The focus, however, remained on working though state legislatures and voters to win marriage rights, said Evan Wolfson, executive director of New York-based Freedom to Marry.
"Winning marriage in more states is crucial not only for the families living in those states, but for creating a comfort level that sets the stage for a national resolution," he said. [link]

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After California Ruling, Will More States Favor Marriage Equality?

May 26, 2009

CNN.com's Ed Hornick examines the political and cultural shifts toward marriage equality, noting advances this year in Iowa, Vermont, Maine and the District of Columbia, as well as growing support from moderate Republicans. [Link]

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Gay Legislators Plant Seeds for Rights Gains

Detroit News
May 13, 2009
Deb Price: "When the gay marriage suddenly burst into full bloom across much of New England and in Iowa this spring, I immediately thought of my sweet peas: When conditions are right, some seeds produce very quickly. Others take a bit of time. The really good news is that years and years of spadework have created the right conditions in much of the nation." [link]

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ACLU Pushes for Marriage Equality Nationwide

May 11, 2009
Ending discrimination in marriage for gay couples throughout the United States remains a top ACLU priority, said Anthony Romero, 43, the first openly gay person and, first Puerto Rican, to head the 89-year-old ACLU. Acknowledging marriage equality faces an uphill battle in many states, Romero said, "We are used to being David to the government's Goliath. We've done a pretty good job with our slingshot so far." [link]

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Marriage Equality Debate Fades in Massachusetts

Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette
May 10, 2009
At the time of the first weddings by gay couples in Massachusetts, the debate was red-hot – protests were frequent, expectations ran high that legislators would allow a referendum on whether to overturn the court ruling ordering an end to marriage discrimination. Now there is overwhelming political support for the freedom to marry. [link]

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