ATL City Council, not mayor, backs gay marriage
Gay Atlanta City Council member Alex Wan quietly introduced a resolution supporting gay marriage on Monday. It passed. Crack open the cheap wine! But don’t tell marriage equality wet blanket Mayor Kasim Reed.
Wan developed the resolution out of the public eye, consulting with Georgia Equality and other activists to develop it and present it to the council. But after the vote, Wan announced its passage on Facebook:
Proud to share with everyone that the Atlanta City Council just passed a resolution supporting marriage equality!!!
The resolution cites the growing acceptance of gay marriage across the U.S., as well as Atlanta’s place as the progressive bastion of the Civil Rights Movement – though not as progressive as you’d think – with one of the largest concentrations of LGBT residents in the country. It also refers to a 2004 resolution passed by the Council opposing a proposed amendment to the state Constitution – later passed and ratified by voters – banning gay marriage in Georgia.
“The City of Atlanta has a rich history in the civil rights movement and is rightfully considered one of the most progressive cities in the country regarding its policies protecting equal rights for all citizens,” the resolution states. “Now, therefore, be it resolved by the City Council of City of Atlanta that the Atlanta City Council supports marriage equality for same-sex couples.”
Just not all of the council. The vote was 11-2 in favor of the resolution, with Council members C.T. Martin and Howard Shook voting against it. Martin wasn’t at all defensive in explaining his no vote to Creative Loafing. Not one bit.
“I don’t want to talk about it because I have a choice,” Martin told CL when asked why he voted “no.” “And that’s what it’s about - choices. And I had a choice of voting ‘no.’”
Council members Ivory Young and Kwanza Hall did not attend Monday’s meeting. Hall, who marched in the Atlanta Pride parade and represents the heavily-gay District 2, was a co-sponsor of Wan’s resolution. Other co-sponsors included Council members who have courted LGBT voters in the past: Carla Smith, Felicia Moore, Michael Julian Bond, Lamar Willis and Aaron Watson.
“Mayor Reed respects the decision of the Atlanta City Council in passing a resolution supporting marriage equality.”
Oddly, the resolution references the U.S. Supreme Court affirming that marriage is a basic civil right, though the high court still hasn’t decided which, if any, of several gay marriage cases it will hear in its current term. And Atlanta’s resolution carries no legal impact, since gay marriage is illegal in Georgia. But it certainly won’t hurt that Municipal Equality Ranking next year.
“Folks in the community have been asking and encouraging me to do something. And with Atlanta being the city it is and having such a large LGBT population, I really wanted us to be one of the leaders in the discussion on marriage equality,” Wan tells the GV voice. “This was also very important to me.”
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