Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell has joined dozens of mayors in support for same-sex marriage.
“I’m proud to stand with the gay and lesbian community and defend their right to equal marriage,” Leffingwell says in a press release. “The tide is changing in America and I hope that by joining this loud chorus, I can play a small role in helping set us on a path to full marriage equality in our country in my lifetime.”
Leffingwell is one of several officials listed among the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry. An offshoot of the broader Freedom to Marry campaign, founded in 2003 by Evan Wolfson, some 80 American mayors have signed a pledge in support of gay marriage. Houston Mayor Annise Parker is one of the five mayors comprising the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry board. She’s joined by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa .
A statement from the mayors group reads in part:
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.
The City of Austin has revised their policies regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender employees several times: In 2006, voters approved a City Charter amendment allowing domestic partner benefits for same sex couples, and in 2009, City Council passed a resolution calling for the city’s non-discrimination policies to apply to city contractors as well.