77th Annual Meeting

EQUALITY AND CIVIL RIGHTS FOR GAY AND LESBIAN AMERICANS

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution in 1984 calling for the legal protection of gay and lesbian rights at all levels of government, and within two years dozens of cities had adopted anti-discrimination policies or executive orders; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has long supported granting the protection of federal hate crimes laws to all citizens, including lesbian and gay communities, and adopted its first resolution calling for increased vigilance in preventing hate crimes in 1991, citing statistics compiled by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; and

WHEREAS, subsequent hates crimes resolutions were adopted by the Conference in 1992 and 1994, designed to strengthen protections for all communities; and

WHEREAS, the Conference of Mayors, in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has awarded nearly $12.6 million in HIV/AIDS prevention grants, and the Conference took the lead in issues affecting gay/bisexual men of color, conducting a national HIV prevention needs assessment as well as 48 local HIV prevention project; and

WHEREAS, hundreds of mayors have been at the forefront of the battle for marriage equality, from the historic leadership of Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco in early 2004 granting marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, to a paradigm-shifting news conference by Mayor Jerry Sanders of San Diego in 2008, to Mayor Adrian Fenty of Washington DC in 2009 signing legislation to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states; and

WHEREAS, then-Conference President Wellington Webb of Denver spoke on behalf of the nation's mayors at the Millennium March for Gay and Lesbian Rights in 2000 calling for federal action on hate crimes, employment discrimination protection, repeal of don't-ask-don't-tell, and marriage equality; and

WHEREAS, current Conference President Manuel A. Diaz of Miami co-chaired the statewide campaign against marriage discrimination in 2008, and incoming President Greg Nickels of Seattle issued an executive order recognizing same-sex marriages; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has a long record of leadership in advancing civil rights and equality for all, answering President Kennedy's call for national mayoral action in support of the civil rights movement at the Honolulu annual meeting in 1963,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors endorses the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, the Uniting American Families Act, and the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports marriage equality for same-sex couples, and the recognition and extension of full equal rights to such unions, including family and medical leave, tax equity, and insurance and retirement benefits, and opposes the enshrinement of discrimination in the federal or state constitutions.