As part of the Mayors for Freedom to Marry Campaign, Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined mayors from other big cities across the country in Washington Friday to push for same-sex marriage nationwide. NY1’s Erin Billups filed the following report.
With a united front, Democratic and Republican mayors from across the country are trying to build momentum in the fight for same-sex marriage.
"Let me tell you what gay marriage is not about. It is not about what you want to believe or what you think is right or wrong. It's also not about what organized religion should or should not do," said Bloomberg.
With just six states and the District of Columbia legally recognizing gay marriage, "Mayors for the Freedom to Marry" will push for the legalization of gay marriage in the remaining 44 states. Those like Bloomberg who have already helped pass gay marriage in their states will work on lobbying Washington lawmakers to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
"We've got to reach out to our Congress people, you got to work on your governors, your state legislatures. The United States Conference of Mayors is a powerful force," said Tom Cochran, CEO and executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
"80 mayors from 25 states around the nation—it's just a matter of time," said Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles.
Lending her personal story to the fight, Houston's first openly gay mayor Annise Parker spoke of her family’s struggles.
"One simple change would have made a tremendous difference in the lives of my family and truly the lives of millions of Americans," said Parker.
The mayors say they want nothing less than full rights for gay couples, including family and medical leave, tax equity and retirement benefits.
And just as Bloomberg did during the State's battle last year to legalize same-sex marriage, he again pledged to financially support those who vote in favor of gay rights.
"I've always thought that I should support people who do what I think is right,” said Bloomberg. “I certainly plan to continue to support, regardless of party and regardless of where in this country, those people that I think advance this country and give freedom to everyone."