A Most-Wanted List: Mayors Not for Marriage
Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, a project of Evan Wolfson's Freedom to Marry organization, asks city bosses to sign a pledge backing marriage equality. So far, 154 mayors have signed the pledge, with 25 coming from the top 50 most populous U.S. cities. But that means there are 25 big-city mayors who still haven't signed.
Among them are Mike Rawlings of Dallas, who angered many with the following explanation: "I'm a bit pledge-phobic. I think America has got too many pledges out there and I think it's simplistic and not substantive. I'm a mayor that wants to be substantive."
What do other mayors on the most-wanted list have to say for themselves? Click next for statements that The Advocate has gathered from some of the other major holdouts.
"Anyone who knows me knows that I surround myself with people who
reflect the entire spectrum of the community, from all walks of life.
It's the quality of the person that matters to me. I support anyone who
wants to help make this a better community, and I have no objection to
people's personal choices. Anyone who suggests otherwise is
disingenuous, at best. Here at City Hall, we adopted a domestic
partnership policy in 2006, one of the first for a government entity in
the state of Nevada. Anyone who wants to change that needs to approach
the legislature. It is not an issue the mayor's office has the power to
change." —Carolyn Goodman, Las Vegas
"Though Mayor Fischer has not signed on to the Freedom to Marry
coalition, he is nonetheless a strong supporter of GLBT rights. There
are several openly gay people in key leadership positions in his
administration, and he signed an executive order within six months of
taking office extending health care benefits to domestic partners of
city employees. He also has been a supporter of the local Fairness
Campaign, a Louisville nonprofit that advocates for GLBT equality in
our city." —Chris Poynter, communications director for Mayor Greg
Fischer of Louisville, Ky.
"This issue is being discussed actively at the state and federal levels. Because Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, localities derive their authority directly from the Commonwealth. Because it is not a local issue, we must defer to both state and federal officials." —Toni Guagenti, communications coordinator for Mayor William Sessoms of Virginia Beach, Va.
"Given other public statements he has made, a signature is not
expected." —Michelle McGurk, senior public information officer for Mayor
Chuck Reed of San Jose, Calif.
"I do not sign national petitions on various topics, because I believe it limits debate and discussion on all sides." —Mayor Gregory Ballard of Indianapolis
"I remain focused on the business of the city of Fort Worth. The issue of same-sex marriage is one for the state, not local government." —Mayor Betsy Price of Fort Worth, Texas, in a CBS 11 interview.
No comments were received from the mayors of the following big cities:
- Arlington, Texas
- Charlotte, N.C.
- Colorado Springs, Colo.
- El Paso, Texas
- Fresno, Calif.
- Jacksonville, Fla.
- Memphis, Tenn.
- Mesa, Ariz.
- Oklahoma City
- Raleigh, N.C.
- Tulsa, Okla.
- Wichita, Kan.