The Austin City Council made history Thursday, becoming the first group of city leaders in the deeply conservative state of Texas to endorse marriage equality.
The council’s strongly worded resolution (PDF) condemning the Defense of Marriage Act, the nation’s ban on same sex marriage, was supported by a diverse coalition of civil rights groups, including Equality Texas, the NAACP, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Anti-Defamation League and the Human Rights Campaign.
“I’m very happy that I live in a community that continues to demonstrate that it respects the equality and the value of all of its residents,” Chuck Smith, interim director of Equality Texas, told Raw Story. “It is consistent with the principles and policies of the City of Austin to ensure that everyone who lives here is treated fairly.”
The resolution says in no uncertain terms that the Austin City Council will no longer abide discriminatory practices that deny the “powerful and important affirmation of love and commitment” that is civil marriage. ”BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF AUSTIN,” the resolution concludes. “[We] support marriage equality in the State of Texas.”
“Texas is not different than the rest of the country in terms of its evolution on the freedom to marry,” Smith said. “The initial pushback we get from opponents is, ‘We settled this in 2005, what don’t you understand?’ And the reality is that 2012 is not the same as 2005. There are hundreds of thousands if not millions of people who have had some sort of personal evolution on this issue… who now recognize that the world is not going to end and [equal rights] will not affect their relationship.”
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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