President Barack Obama has openly endorsed same sex marriage, but Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is still “wrestling” with the idea in his head. According to the AJC, Reed has recently been rather quiet about his stance on the issue to prevent drawing attention to his possibly opposing views with the President.
There has been a barrage of poking and prodding by the public to get Mayor Reed to speak up about his opinion of same sex marriage. One teacher even used Facebook to get the mayor’s attention.
Charlie Stadtlander, a high school teacher, wasn’t supportive of Reed during the 2009 race for mayor. He refused to support Reed because of his opposition to same sex marriage. After Reed was elected, Stadtlander created the Facebook page titled “Mayor Reed, It’s Time to ‘Evolve’ on Marriage Equality.” The group has gained over 4,250 members.
Stadtlander plans on protesting at City Hall if he is not satisfied with the outcome of his meeting with the mayor later this week. With re-election coming up in 2013, Reed’s stance on same sex marriage may have an impact on the turnout in the election.
“You can count on LGBT voters not only to vote, but also to actively support candidates for all levels of office,” said Atlanta political strategist Beth Schapiro. She has estimated that about 15 percent of the city’s voters are a part of the LGBT community and Obama’s endorsement of same sex marriage may have caused those numbers to increase. “I think [marriage equality] poses a challenge for the mayor, because it’s not going to go away,” she added.
But not everybody is concerned with Reed’s stance on same sex marriage. Jeff Graham, the executive director of Georgia Equality, the most influential gay rights organization in Georgia, said, “We certainly are hopeful that Mayor Reed will come around, that he’ll realize that this is about a civil marriage license, not a religious ceremony.” As he went on Graham also admitted that Reed’s “evolution” on the issue “isn’t an issue that we’re actively working on.”
In Graham’s opinion, Reed’s support of same sex marriage wouldn’t prove to be very beneficial when the State Capitol is still in the hands of the Republican party. Instead of focusing on Reed’s same sex marriage stance, Georgia Equality has its eyes fixed on other goals: The group is trying to push legislation to stop bullying in schools, discrimination, and gain funding for HIV medication.