It's no secret that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has gone all in on gay marriage. He won't stop talking about it. But he's joined by a trio of mayors from across Georgia backing marriage equality in cities that might surprise you.
Since Reed came out in support of gay marriage in December, he took a victory lap, fought an unfair label of marriage flip-flopping and told gay news hunk Brandon Rudat that he was wrong to have limited his support of gay couples to civil unions. In June, he even joined a Freedom to Marry conference call with other mayors urging the U.S. Supreme Court to dump the Defense of Marriage Act, which it later did.
On Tuesday, he was introduced as one of five new co-chairs of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry. Reed and Julián Castro of San Antonio, Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Michael Nutter of Philadelphia and Greg Stanton of Phoenix join three co-chairs already in place: Michael Bloomberg of New York, Thomas M. Menino of Boston and Annise Parker of Houston. Reed is among five of the eight co-chairs who live in states that ban same-sex marriage.
With that, Freedom to Marry also announced a goal to expand its roster of supporters to reach 500 mayors in all 50 states. Some 370 mayors from 35 states and Washington, D.C. currently back the effort. The group unveiled an interactive Light Up the Map to help that highlights mayors supporting the effort and others that need lobbying to back gay marriage.
In Georgia, Reed joins three other mayors backing marriage equality: Kathie deNobriga of Pine Lake, Earnestine Pittman of East Point and James Thomas, Jr. of Hinesville. DeNobriga, a lesbian, was the first Georgia mayor to publicly back Mayors for the Freedom to Marry. But Pittman and Thomas are a bit of a surprise — Pittman's relationship with LGBT residents in East Point is strained and Thomas leads a south Georgia city not known for its progressive stances.
Freedom to Marry also asks Georgians to lobby other mayors on gay marriage, some in gay-friendly places like Jim Baskett of Decatur, Edna Branch Jackson of Savannah and Nancy Denson of Athens. Others on the list include Deke Copenhaver of Augusta, who has embraced that city's Pride celebration, Dorothy Hubbard of Albany and Teresa Tomlinson of Columbus.