Mayors for the Freedom to Marry celebrates year of enlisting 500+ Mayors
December 23, 2014
The strategy to build Mayors for the Freedom to Marry in 2014 has been incredibly successful. In this, the third year of the program, we increased the number of mayors from the mid-300s to over 500 Mayors and went from having mayors in less than 35 states to 45 states. By increasing these numbers in key states, we built strong grassroots support in non-freedom to marry states providing the voices of support needed for victory on the ground.
We also added new voices to our leadership team, with six Mayors providing strong support for the program. Currently, our Chairs include Mayors Kevin Faulconer from San Diego, Eric Garcetti from Los Angeles, Michael Nutter from Philadelphia, Annise Parker from Houston, Kasim Reed from Atlanta and Greg Stanton from Phoenix. All of these Mayors actively supported Mayors for the Freedom to Marry programs in their cities, states and across the country; for example, Mayor Faulconer marched in the San Diego Gay Pride Parade this year behind a banner that read, “Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. Mayors for the Freedom to Marry Chair. “
Our attention on Mayors for the Freedom to Marry focused on building in key places and with key Mayors. This included:
1. Enlisting mayors in states without Mayors for the Freedom to Marry: Most recently, we were able to light up Nevada when the Mayor of Reno joined Mayors for the Freedom to Marry. Our work, in collaboration with activists on the ground, allowed us to add new states throughout the year. Besides lighting up the states on our on-line map, we assisted in media attention to the announcements – providing positive messaging in these key states. We continue to work on finding mayors in our remaining 5 states – Alaska, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming. If you’re from one of these states, you can urge your mayor to support marriage for all with our Light Up the Map tool here.
2. Enlisting mayors in states where same-sex couples do not have the freedom to marry: We successfully added mayors and their voices of support in these states, which one by one became freedom to marry states this year. We continue this strategy and are working to find mayors in the remaining 15 states without the freedom to marry.
3. Finding new mayors from across the country: We have collaborated our work with other LGBT organizations and activists to help find new Mayors to join the Freedom to Marry. This included work with PFLAG and their state chapters, as well as working to build our nomination lists at conferences and organization meetings.
4. Deploying mayors as effective messengers for the marriage movement: Once we have Mayors supporting Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Marry works to utilize the more than 500 mayors in a variety of ways, including signing onto key amici briefs in court, writing Op-Eds, meeting with constituents and being strong, consistent voices for the freedom to marry.