Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt.
Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt.
Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt.

DALLAS, Texas — The U.S. Conference of Mayors has passed a resolution supporting the full right to legal marriage for same-sex couples at their national meeting on Monday. The resolution, among whose co-sponsors is openly gay Chapel Hill, N.C., Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, calls upon federal courts to fully resolve the issue.

“The United States Conference of Mayors reaffirms its support of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples and urges the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, to speedily bring national resolution by ruling in favor of the freedom to marry nationwide,” the resolution reads in part.

Phoenix, Ariz., Mayor Greg Stanton, a co-chair of Freedom to Marry’s Mayors for the Freedom to Marry coalition, led the effort to submit the resolution. Other co-sponsors included Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, among several others.

“From small towns to big cities, America’s mayors know that including gay couples in the freedom to marry does nothing but strengthen families and communities for all,” Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, said in a press release. “The U.S. Conference of Mayors has made it clear that it’s time for the federal appellate courts and the U.S. Supreme Court to follow the lead of numerous states and a wave of over 20 federal and state courts and bring an end to marriage discrimination nationwide. A year after the Supreme Court demolished the arguments propping up marriage discrimination, it’s time for the Court to finish the job and rule in favor of the freedom to marry once and for all.”

Kleinschmidt was the only Carolinas mayor to co-sponsor the resolution, though other regional mayors have signed on to Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, including Durham Mayor William Bell, Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter, Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle, Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, Creedmoor Mayor Darryl Moss and Franklinton Mayor Elic Senter. Only one South Carolina official, Abbeville Mayor Sarah Sherwood, is a member of the coalition.

Kleinschmidt was elected mayor of Chapel Hill in 2009 after serving on the Chapel Hill Town Council from 2001-2009. Chapel Hill is the largest city in the state with an openly gay or lesbian mayor.

Same-sex couples can marry in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Several lawsuits challenging state anti-LGBT marriage bans are currently working their way through federal district and appellate courts, including four separate lawsuits in North Carolina.

Kleinschmidt is assisting as counsel in one of North Carolina’s challenges. In April, he signed on to assist in the United Church of Christ’s challenge of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment. That case alleges the amendment and other state laws are an infringement of First Amendment religious protections.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.