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More Florida Mayors Sign Gay Marriage Pledge, Miami’s Regalado and Fort Lauderdale’s Seiler Still Haven’t

by Gideon Grudo
Friday Jun 29, 2012

Of Florida's 410 cities, town and villages, 21 have signed the Mayors for Marriage pledge.

It's a national effort from marriage advocacy group Freedom to Marry, asking mayors to sign a petition showing their support for equal marriage rights based on both civil rights and economic reasons. Of the 21 who signed, 19 hail from South Florida. But that majority doesn't mean all of South Florida is on board. In South Florida's tri-county area, there are three majors cities: Miami (Miami-Dade County), Fort Lauderdale (Broward County) and West Palm Beach (Palm Beach County). Only West Palm Beach's mayor signed the petition, while Mayor Jack Seiler of Fort Lauderdale and Mayor Thomas Regalado of Miami have notSFGN reached out to both of these mayors since the middle of May in an effort to get the rationale behind their decisions. Neither mayor responded back.

"I hate to say it, but parts of Florida are pretty backwards," said David Levy, mayor of Palm Beach Gardens. "I hope this is an issue we can soon put behind us."

Wilton Manors mayor Gary Resnick said that it's important for mayors to sign this petition since they're so close to their constituency, adding that most people know their mayors and the nation's president name by heart.

"People associate the mayor as someone they know very well - we see people around town and they know us. Our names are out there a lot - probably more than other elected officials," he said. "It's a process - it's mayors night out for this. Mayors in major cities might make people take a look at this and realize that gay marriage would cause the world to stop turning or the sky to fall."

Here's what some other mayors had to say on why they signed the petition:

Anne Sallee, Oakland Park: "It was a no-brainer. It bothers me that we even have to go through this. As soon that I saw this, there was no question in my mind that I would sign it."

Isaac Salver, Bay Harbor Islands: "I would like to move our community forward to ensure all facets of our population feel comfortable living and working in our small town."

Philip Stoddard, South Miami: "If two people love each other and are committed, they should be able to get married. The possible exceptions I might draw might have to do with incest. A lot of times change starts at the municipal government level. You don't typically see it starting at the top. Politicians at the top are following the local lead."

Pam Donovan, Margate: "I believe in it. I have a lot of gay friends who are in committed relationships - many of them are better off than other friends in straight relationships. Anyone who wants to get married should be able to get married."

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