GULFPORT — This city will join a growing number of Florida communities when the City Council takes up the issue of marriage equality at Tuesday's meeting. In a resolution proposed by council member Yolanda Roman, Gulfport could express support for changing the state laws banning same-sex marriage.
In her presentation to the council, Romano noted the public's ideas toward same-sex marriage are changing.
"What we are witnessing across Florida and across the U.S. are court interventions shining the light on the unconstitutional nature of same-sex marriage bans," she said. "I feel strongly that this Gulfport resolution in support of marriage equality will continue to send the message across Pinellas and Florida that our city welcomes all citizens, has pride in the diversity among us, and will stand strong against any and all forms of institutional discrimination."
Noting the city's history with its human rights ordinance and record of being one of the first communities in Pinellas County to provide a domestic partner registry, Roman believes the time has come for Gulfport to "go on record" in support of marriage equality.
When the resolution was discussed at a City Council meeting this month, Mayor Sam Henderson stated his full support for marriage equality but wondered if a council letter of support might serve the same purpose.
The council disagreed on that second point, voting 3-2 in support of drafting a formal resolution.
"This issue is too important for just a letter," council member Michael Fridovich said. "Marriage equality is an issue of civil liberties. The resolution clearly makes that point."
Roman feels the resolution is well timed, particularly in light of the recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, of Tallahassee, that the state's continued ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
"Passing this resolution will continue Gulfport's role as a leader in civil rights and place us in the company of those who believe in the equality of all our citizens," she added. "Judge Hinkle's ruling validates our effort."
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