Jan 20, 2012  |  NYC.gov

Mayor Bloomberg's remarks as delivered today at the Freedom to Marry launch are below. For more information, visit freedomtomarry.org/mayors.

“Thank you, and good morning to everyone. It is my honor to stand with Mayor Villaraigosa and all of the other great mayors from around this country in support of a civil right whose time has certainly come – that civil right is the right to marry.

“My fellow mayors understand that welcoming committed gay couples to the rights and responsibility of marriage isn’t just the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do for the diverse, dynamic, forward-looking cities that we are all working to build.

“And I encourage more mayors to join us, because throughout American history, it has been the cities that have led the march of freedom. And I believe that the cities of America can do that again with marriage equality.

“For those who say it’s just a mountain too high, for those who say, ‘keep dreaming,’ let me just tell you a little bit about what we have accomplished in New York.

“The idea that gay and lesbian couples would be able to marry was almost unthinkable in New York City just a few years ago. But we made it a reality by bringing together Republicans and Democrats. And that’s exactly how it should be, because marriage equality is not a partisan issue.

“Liberals have always opposed discrimination against group identity and conservatives have always cherished individual freedoms and strong family values. So marriage equality is consistent with both philosophies.

“On average in New York City, 700 gay and lesbian couples are now getting married at City Clerks’ offices in New York City every month. That means every month hundreds of more parents and children are gaining the economic stability and protections that come with being a formal family unit.

“And New York City is gaining as well. Every wedding is a celebration that generates money for our restaurants, banquet halls, caterers and other small businesses. And with many couples and guests travelling to New York City from other states and countries, our hotels and tourist attractions benefit as well.

“As the Mayor of the largest city in the largest state in the union to have guaranteed marriage equality, let me tell you: The freedom to marry has only made New York stronger.

“Now, New Yorkers, I’m proud to say, have always been at the forefront of movements to tear down barriers and expand opportunity, and so we’ve taken great pride in being among the first to guarantee marriage equality. But this issue isn’t about one state’s traditions and values. It’s about our country’s traditions and values.

“There is just no basis in our Constitution – or in our civic values – to exclude one class of couples from a government license. When two people commit their lives to one another, government has no business standing in the way.

“And more and more people from around the country of all political stripes increasingly believe this to be true. In fact, young people increasingly view marriage equality in much the same way as young people in the 1960s viewed civil rights.

“Eventually, as happened with civil rights for African-Americans, they will be a majority of voters, and they will pass laws that reflect their values. So for me, the question is not if marriage equality will come to all 50 states, the only question is when.

“And with America’s mayors standing up for what is right for their cities; I believe that day will come sooner than most people think. Thank you.”

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