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|UPDATED: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed still 'wrestling' over support of gay marriage|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|May 10, 2012 16:07|
A Facebook group is urging Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to "evolve" and come out in support of gay marriage as President Barack Obama did Wednesday.
But in a statement, Reed said he is still "wrestling" with his support of full marriage equality. His full statement:
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.
Gay Atlanta teacher Charlie Stadtlander started the Facebook group that now has more than 2,100 members.
"We all know that the Mayor's heart is in the right place, yet as with President Obama, he simply needs to feel that the time is right to make his position known. Your support of this effort tells the Mayor that once he stands up for marriage equality, our community will be behind him 100%!," said Stadtlander in a posting for the Facebook group that is named "Mayor Reed, It's Time to 'Evolve' on Marriage Equality.'"
Added Nico Stoerner of Atlanta on the Facebook page, "Come on Mayor Reed. It has long since been agreed upon that this is the right thing to do. Follow in the footsteps of Barack Obama, our POTUS and help make history for Human Rights! It is as similar to Civil Rights as it is possible to be!"
Reese McCranie, the openly gay spokesperson for Mayor Reed, issued a statement as a private citizen about Obama's support of gay marriage. McCranie was also recently elected to be a Georgia Delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
"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 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," he added.
Reed has said in the past his position on same-sex marriage was similar to President Obama's. He took some heat from gay Atlanta voters during his campaign in 2009 when he said he did not support full marriage equality. His opponent at the time, Mary Norwood, supported gay marriage.
Reed has also continued to stress he has worked against LGBT discrimination — when he served in the Georgia General Assembly for 11 years and worked on such issues as a hate crimes bill and against the state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. In 2004, Georgia voters overwhelmingly approved the constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman.
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