Mayor Kasim Reed asserted that Atlanta will continue to support its LGBT residents, a population he called a “great asset” and “essential part” of the city's diversity.
Reed's comments came Thursday as he delivered his final address to the State of the City Business Breakfast, an annual event before a large group of business, civic, faith and non-profit leaders at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta.
“Let me make one other thing clear: We will not hesitate to stand up for our LGBT community,” Reed said. “I could not be more proud to be mayor of the first city in the Deep South to achieve a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, not once but three years in a row.”
“We’re going to keep at it. The LGBT community is an essential part of Atlanta’s diversity, and this diversity is our greatest asset, one that should bring us together now more than ever,” he added.
The comments came near the end of Reed's speech as he expressed his ongoing support for people of faith, immigrants and women's rights. (Read the mayor's full remarks.)
In October, the city received its fourth consecutive perfect score on HRC's Municipal Equality Index. The annual report grades municipalities in five broad categories, including non-discrimination law, employment practices, the inclusiveness of city services, law enforcement and municipal leadership on equality issues.
Also in October, Reed again took part in the Atlanta Pride parade along with a large group of LGBT police officers and firefighters from the city. He also appointed the first transgender member of the Atlanta Citizen Review Board.
Last year, Reed denounced the gay bar massacre in Orlando as “unspeakable acts of violence and terrorism,” took part in a Midtown vigil for the victims and convened a meeting of LGBT business owners and activists to discuss public safety.
In the wake of North Carolina lawmakers passing an anti-LGBT law, Reed banned non-essential travel by city employees to North Carolina. The mayor also harshly criticized an anti-LGBT “religious freedom” bill passed in Georgia and later vetoed by Gov. Nathan Deal.
Last month, Reed joined with more than 200 mayors from 44 states to launch Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination. Other mayors in the coalition include Patricia Garrett (Decatur), Jannquell Peters (East Point) and Ted Terry (Clarkston).
The bipartisan group of leaders works to secure LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections.