The list of mayors who have signed on to Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, grew to 500 as Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina joined the list. Two Utah mayors — Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Park City Mayor Jack Thomas — joined the list earlier this year.
Last September, Freedom to Marry launched the list in the hopes that 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.
Here is the statement they signed onto:
Mayors for the Freedom to Marry Statement
As mayors of great American cities, we proudly stand together in support of the freedom of same-sex couples to marry. We personally know many gay and lesbian people living in our cities who are in committed, loving relationships, who are active participants in the civic life of our communities, and who deserve to be able to marry the person with whom they share their life.
We are proud that at its 2009 annual meeting, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously approved a resolution stating 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.”
Our cities derive great strength from their diversity, and gay and lesbian families are a crucial part. Studies have shown what we know through our hands-on experience—that cities that celebrate and cultivate diversity are the places where creativity and ideas thrive. They are the places where today’s entrepreneurs are most likely to choose to build the businesses of tomorrow. Allowing same-sex couples the right to marry enhances our ability to build this kind of environment, which is good for all of us.
We stand for the freedom to marry because it enhances the economic competitiveness of our communities, improves the lives of families that call our cities home, and is simply the right thing to do. We look forward to working to build an America where all people can share in the love and commitment of marriage with the person with whom they share their life.