Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed announces support for gay marriage

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed attends NBC News Education Nation Job One Panel Discussion at Georgia Aquarium on May 7, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for NBCUniversal)

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed attends NBC News Education Nation Job One Panel Discussion at Georgia Aquarium on May 7, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for NBCUniversal)

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has just announced his support of gay marriage, reversing the position he held during his 2010 mayoral campaign.

Reed, who is the latest in a long line of African-American mayors in the predominately black city, released a press release Tuesday outlining his change of heart.

“Today marks an important day as I announce my support for marriage equality,” he wrote on his website.

“It is well known that I have gone through a good bit of reflection on this issue, but listening to the stories of so many people that I know and care about has strengthened my belief that marriage is a fundamental right for everyone,” he added.

In fact, Reed’s opposition to marriage equality has dogged him since the mayoral election. Now he said, “Loving couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, should have the right to marry whomever they want.”

In his statement, the mayor also referred to plans to sign a marriage equality resolution passed December 3 by the Atlanta City Council. The resolution was drawn up by Councilman Alex Wan, who is openly gay.

“By signing this resolution, I pledge my support to marriage equality for same-sex couples, consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

In an interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Reed said he changed his mind after dialogue with the city’s lesbian and gay communities. He also said his long-standing friendship with attorney Lee Schreter, who married her partner in New York last year, also played a part.

In May, President Barack Obama announced that he had “evolved” on the issue and had become supportive of same-sex marriage. At the time, Reed said he was “still wrestling with my own personal beliefs on the issue of marriage.”

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