Gay marriage came to the forefront of the 2012 presidential campaign last week when President Barack Obama said on ABC's Good Morning America that he personally supported gay marriage.
"You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently," Obama said in the interview with ABC.
Obama's support for gay marriage came one day after North Carolina passed an amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, the Huffington Post Reported.
Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney has said that he does not support gay marriage or civil unions. "My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not," Romney said to Denver Fox KDVR-TV. Romney has signed a pledge to support a marriage protection amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Politico reported.
Locally, gay Atlanta teacher and LGBT activist Charlie Stadtlander says Atlanta's Mayor Kasim Reed should follow the president's lead and endorse same-sex marriage. Stadtlander has started a Facebook page to put the pressure on Reed. It reads:
PLEASE JOIN THIS GROUP AS WE PETITION ATLANTA'S MAYOR REED TO FOLLOW PRESIDENT OBAMA'S LEAD AND ENDORSE MARRIAGE EQUALITY!!!
In the wake of President Obama's historic announcement today in support of marriage equality for loving LGBT families, Atlanta's Mayor Reed should follow suit!
Mayor Reed has previously said that his views on marriage equality are similar to those of the President. Today, the President stepped up his game and Mayor Reed should do the same. President Obama demonstrated immense courage in becoming the first sitting U.S. President to endorse marriage equality. As the Mayor of one of America's "gayest" cities, Mayor Reed should affirm the rights of loving LGBT couples to honor their relationships by getting married.
Almost all LGBT Atlantans know that Mayor Reed stands shoulder to shoulder with us in our fight for equality. Mayor Reed now has the opportunity to "bring it home," by endorsing marriage equality for LGBT families and showing the world that Atlanta "loves its gays!"
Reed, who is in France on a business trip, has issued a statement, indicating he is "wrestling" with his support of same-sex marriage. Reed's statment reads:
I respect President Obama’s decision to stand in support of marriage equality. I have fought hard for the rights of gays and lesbians my entire political career from protecting adoption rights for gay and lesbian families, to voting against Georgia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage as a state senator, to serving as the state house sponsor for the only hate crimes bill ever passed in the state of Georgia.
While I am still wrestling with my own personal beliefs on the issue of marriage, I deeply appreciate the contributions gays and lesbians make to our city every single day and I remain committed to Atlanta’s vibrant and diverse LGBT community.
Reed's spokesmen is the openly gay Reese McCranie, who last month was one of seven people elected to represent the 5th Congressional district at September's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
"President Obama's support of marriage equality is nothing short of historic and it represents a watershed moment for the LGBT community," McCranie said as a private citizen in a statement release. "As a gay man with a loving partner, I hope to one day marry the man I love and be viewed as an equal citizen under the eyes of the law. I am proud of our President and all that he has done for gay rights and furthering equality. Now more than ever, we must re-double our efforts to ensure he wins a second term."
The Facebook page started by Stadtlander also provides a link to where former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin endorses same-sex marriage equality.