Emanuel to join 75+ mayors today in support of marriage equality

Fri. January 20, 2012 8:45 AM by GoPride.com News Staff

rahm emanuel at center on halsted in jan. 2011

photo credit // anthony meade
Washington, D.C. - Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is among a bipartisan coalition of over 75 U.S. mayors that today will announce support of marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

"We're launching this effort at a time when more Americans than ever support the freedom to marry," said Marc Solomon, National Campaign Director for Freedom to Marry, the group backing the effort.

The coalition known as Mayors for Freedom to Marry will officially launch this morning at 10 a.m. (ET) during a press conferences during the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual gathering in Washington, D.C., where Emanuel is set to speak.

Emanuel told reporters Thursday in Chicago, "Marriage is recognition of love and the state should not be in the business of discriminating."

Each mayor in the group, which includes Emanuel, Mike Bloomberg of New York City and Republican Jerry Sanders of San Diego, has pledged an organized effort to support full marriage equality while opposing discrimination in the federal and state constitution.

Locally, Equality Illinois (EQIL) has taken the lead in the joint effort to sign on Emanuel and Mayors Elizabeth Tisdahl of Evanston and Robert Sabonjian of Waukegan as early supporters of the campaign. EQIL indicated more mayors from across the state have expressed interest.  

"The bipartisan panel of mayors from every corner of the country standing up in support of marriage equality just underscores the strength of the movement," EQIL CEO Bernard Cherkasov told ChicagoPride.com.

According to Freedom to Marry, participants at today's press conference also includes Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston, Mayor Annise Parker of Houston, Mayor Marilyn Strickland of Tacoma and Tom Cochran, U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director.

The group's position on marriage equality could put increased pressure on President Barack Obama when it comes to same-sex marriage.