More than 100 mayors from across the nation have formed a coalition with Freedom to Marry called "Mayors for the Freedom to Marry." The notables include: New York City's Michael Bloomberg, Los Angeles' Antonio Villaraigosa, Chicago's Rahm Emanuel, Washington DC's Vincent Gray, Newark's Cory Booker, Philadelphia's Michael Nutter and Houston's Annise Parker, who is openly lesbian, and recently re-elected as mayor of the nation's fourth largest city.
Is your mayor for equality? The full list AFTER THE JUMP ...
The coalition was announced at the U.S. Conference of Mayors conference in Washington over the weekend, reports Michael Lavers at Windy City Times.
Villaraigosa, who chairs the campaign as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, spoke about growing up without a father as he highlighted the importance of family. He said the lack of marriage equality for same-sex couples has directly impacted members of his own family.
"I've seen the many faces of those hurt by the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 in California," said Villaraigosa. "They are members of my own family. They're our nation's own children who face daily bullying and violence because of who they are or who people think they are. They're the couples the joyous marriages I've had the honor of presiding over, whose special day was shared by friends and families before their rights were stripped away."
Parker spoke about the difficulties that she and her partner of nearly 21 years faced when they adopted their three children. A series of insurance, custodial and educational challenges followed suit. "One simple thing would have made a tremendous difference in the lives of my family and truly the lives of millions of Americans, and that is access to the rights and privileges of marriage," said Parker.
The coalition could become key in the coming months. Marriage equality legislation has recently been introduced in Washington and is expected to soon be re-introduced in Maryland and New Jersey.
Maine voters will decide in November on an initiative that will overturn the 209 referendum that overturned marriage equality legislation. Minnesota and North Carolina will also decide on constitutional marriage amendments.
The full list (so far) and video of the announcement AFTER THE JUMP ...