500th mayor signs on to bipartisan coalition of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry
September 23, 2014
This week, Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina signed on to Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, becoming the 500th in the country to do so.
Mayor Benjamin said:
As a man of faith, I believe in the enduring power of love. I support the freedom to marry because all families deserve to be treated equally and fairly, because everyone's love deserves respect, and because it is simply the right thing to do
Mayor Benjamin’s signature marks a significant goal for Mayors for the Freedom to Marry. Last September, Freedom to Marry launched Light Up the Map, encouraging 500 mayors in states across the country to sign on to Mayors for the Freedom to Marry. Mayors for the Freedom to Marry was launched in 2012, and the robust bipartisan coalition now includes mayors from 45 states who are making the case for marriage in their cities.
In just the past few months, as national momentum for marriage continues to surge, more mayors than ever have joined the coalition. From Nashville, TN to Wakeville, MS and in other cities across the South, elected officials are speaking out for basic fairness in their cities.
Mayors for the Freedom to Marry range from geographically diverse cities both large and small, in states with the freedom to marry and in states where marriage cases are pending in the courts. Recent mayors to sign on to the campaign include Dick Moore from Elkhart, IN; Zachary Vruwink from Wisconsin Rapids, WI; and Robert Garcia from Long Beach, CA.
Marc Solomon, National Campaign Director of Freedom to Marry, explained this week:
From Alabama to West Virginia and from big cities and small, 500 mayors have now pledged to make the case in their communities for ending marriage discrimination. Mayor Benjamin, like the hundreds of other mayors, knows that marriage strengthens families and communities. As long as South Carolina and 30 other states deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry, those couples and their children are subject to hardships and indignity. The Supreme Court should listen to the bipartisan chorus of mayors who stand on the right side of history and bring an end to marriage discrimination in America once and for all.
This announcement follows the resolution from the U.S. Conference of Mayors on June 23, in which the Conference launched a renewed call for an end to marriage discrimination.
Encourage your own mayor to speak out for marriage with our interactive Light Up the Map tool – and learn more about Mayors for the Freedom to Marry here.