In January of this year, hundreds of mayors from cities all across the country joined together to sign on to the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, a declaration endorsing marriage equality for all of their constituents. Although mayors have no direct governing effect on marriage laws, it was nonetheless a significant symbolic affirmation of the critical role that mayors play in advancing civil rights.
Mayors of cities large and small, from Maine to Texas, North Carolina to California, all declared their commitment to helping gay and lesbian citizens achieve equal treatment under the law, proudly proclaiming that all loving couples deserve to express their lifelong commitment through marriage. Although some naysayers contested that it was ineffectual and merely symbolic, the fact is, in the absence of equality, symbols matter.
Notably missing from the list was Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta, the gay capital of the South and the city of civil rights. He remains implacable on this issue, and though mayors from both parties across the country continue to join the chorus of support, Reed stubbornly drags his feet.
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