Cities across the country support same-sex marriage
March 18 2004 1:00 AM ET
In a mostly symbolic vote, the Sebastopol, Calif., city council on Tuesday night unanimously adopted a nonbinding resolution endorsing same-sex marriages. The council urged the Sonoma County clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and asked the board of supervisors to support civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples. The resolution also called a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex marriage "discriminatory against gay and lesbian families." The vast majority of the more than 150 people in attendance supported the council's decision, with only a handful of people speaking out against same-sex marriages. Sebastopol, located about 60 miles north of San Francisco, offers domestic-partner health benefits to same-sex couples over age 18 and opposite-sex couples over age 62.
Leaders of the longtime gay-friendly city of Key West, Fla., on Tuesday passed resolutions supporting same-sex marriage and decrying President Bush's proposed constitutional amendment banning the unions. The measures are largely symbolic because Florida law allows only counties--not municipalities--to issue marriage licenses. Mayor Jimmy Weekley plans to ask the county clerk whether the city can issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Monroe County clerk Danny Kolhage said
Monday that he is bound by a Florida law that explicitly bans same-sex marriage. But gay rights activists say that by officially supporting such unions, Key West would place itself at the forefront in defining how the issue takes shape within the state. "Really, Key West is leading the way in getting their city's resolutions together," said Brian Winfield, a spokesman for Equality Florida, a Tampa-based gay rights group. "It sends a loud message to the rest of Florida: If other places in the state are considering this, they're not alone."
Saying a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages in Michigan could have a devastating effect on some residents, the Ann Arbor city council voted 10-1 on Monday to pass a resolution opposing such a measure. The American Civil Liberties Union said the city is the first in the state to take a stance against such an amendment, The Ann Arbor News reported. City council member Chris Easthope introduced the resolution, saying a ban on same-sex marriages could jeopardize some benefits currently extended by the city to partners in gay unions. He said gay partners could lose health insurance if the ban were approved. Last week the Michigan house of representatives didn't have the necessary votes to place a measure on the ballot this summer that would have amended the state constitution to limit marriage to one man and one woman. The house voted 65-38 on that resolution, short of the 73 votes needed to send it to the senate.