Mayor Reed pressured to endorse same sex marriage

6:16 PM, May 14, 2012   |    comments
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  • Facebook page pressuring Mayor Reed to endorse same-sex marriage
  • Atlanta Gay activist Charlie Stadtlander
  • Photo of conservative religious and political activist Ralph Reed of Faith and Freedom Coalition during visit to 11 Alive studio today
  • Photo of Mayor Reed at previous news conference

ATLANTA - Three years ago State Senator Kasim Reed and Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood practically stumbled over each other courting the city's sizeable gay and lesbian vote in the mayor's race.

Reed ended up winning a squeaker by just over 700 votes.

Most observers believe he and Norwood split the LGBT vote.

But now some in that vocal and politically active community are threatening to vote against Mayor Reed next year if he doesn't follow President Obama's recent example and personally endorse same sex marriage.

"His refusal to come out and endorse same sex marriage in line with President Obama's endorsement of same sex marriage equality overshadows a lot of the great things that the mayor has done," LGBT activist Charlie Stadtlander told 11 Alive News on Monday.

Stadtlander has started a Facebook page to put pressure on the mayor.

He's also launched an online petition to get pledges from voters to oppose Reed in the 2013 campaign if he doesn't change his mind.

Mayor Reed is in France on a business trip, but his office issued a written statement.

In the statement, he points out many things he's done to support gay rights as a state senator and as mayor, such as voting for adoption rights and against a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

But he added, "...I am still wrestling with my own personal beliefs on the issue of marriage."

That's no longer good enough for some activists like Stadtlander.

Conservative political and religious activist Ralph Reed believes that President Obama's public change of heart has opened a political pandora's box for many politicians, especially Democrats.

"For a lot of voters this is an important issue that speaks to their personal values and in many cases their religious beliefs and I don't think anybody's going to be able to avoid speaking to it in either party," Ralph Reed told 11 Alive.

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