Petition Urges Orlando Mayor to Support Marriage Equality
An Orlando man hopes a petition he posted to Change.org will spur the city’s mayor to support marriage for same-sex couples.
More than 170 people have signed Mat Trent’s Change.org petition since he posted it last week. Trent applauded Mayor Buddy Dyer for supporting the city’s domestic partner registry that opened in January, but he told EDGE that the mayor’s support of marriage for same-sex couples would send an even more powerful message to the city’s LGBT residents.
"Orlando is such a staple in the Florida for the gay community because we have Disney and hospitality," said Trent, a flight attendant who moved to the city from North Carolina two years ago. "When the city of Orlando’s mayor cannot even come out and say you should have the right to marry, it’s kind of a slap in the face of the community."
Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe, West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, Tallahassee Mayor John Marks and Key West Mayor Craig Cates are among the 175 mayors from across the country who have joined a coalition of mayors who have pledged their support of nuptials for same-sex couples.
"It was really disheartening when I was looking at all the mayors who signed," said Trent. "I was like, you know, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t come out and support the freedom to marry."
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who chairs the Democratic National Committee, is among those who have endorsed a proposal to add marriage for gays and lesbians to the Democratic Party’s 2012 platform. And while Florida voters in 2008 approved a constitutional amendment that bans nuptials for same-sex couples, Trent stressed that Dyer could influence other mayors across the state if he were to support marriage equality.
"If Orlando’s mayor came out (for it,) it would set the stage for other mayors," he said.
Dyer’s office declined to specifically comment to EDGE on Trent’s petition or marriage for same-sex couples. It said in a statement, however, that the mayor’s office is "incredibly proud of the steps" that include the city’s domestic partner registry that have made Orlando "one of the most inclusive cities in America."
"We remain committed to working with our LGBT community to develop policies which extend equal rights to all people regardless of their sexual orientation," said Dyer’s office. "We actively work with our local LBGT community to solicit input and guidance about the policies the city of Orlando develops and issues the city addresses."
Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, remains optimistic that other mayors will endorse marriage for the state’s gay and lesbian residents.
"We are proud of the Florida mayors who have taken a stand for full equality and we encourage their colleagues across the state to stand on the right side of history," she said.