As Freedom to Marry surges forward in its Roadmap to Victory to win marriage in all 50 states, our recent re-launch of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry is a crucial part of that work. We started Mayors for the Freedom to Marry in January 2012 with the support of eighty mayors and today that number expanded to more than four times its original size. Over 370 mayors from 36 states and the District of Columbia have publicly stated their belief that all loving and committed same-sex couples should be free to marry, and they have pledged to make the case for marriage in their communities.
We recently introduced five new co-chairs of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry: Julián Castro of San Antonio, Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, Kasim Reed of Atlanta and Greg Stanton of Phoenix. They join current co-chairs Michael Bloomberg of New York, Thomas Menino of Boston, and Annise Parker of Houston, in taking the lead in making the case that the freedom to marry benefits cities across the country. Four out of five of our new co-chairs live in states that exclude same-sex couples from marriage, including states like Pennsylvania and Arizona, which are the next battlegrounds of the marriage movement.
In mid-September, Freedom to Marry launched Light Up the Map, a new online campaign that makes it possible for marriage supporters to directly engage their mayors and ask them to support the freedom to marry. The campaign features an online map showing the cities and towns across the country where mayors have stated their support for the freedom to marry. If marriage supporters don't see their mayors listed, we created a simple and easy for people to petition their mayor to join the campaign.
The petitions are aimed at engaging mayors in every state. Constituents are able to send emails to their mayors asking them to show support for gay and lesbian couples in their communities by publicly supporting marriage. In addition, constituents are able to nominate their mayors to be petitioned to join the campaign and constituents are provided a writing template to send to them.
In the first week of the campaign, hundreds of supporters called on their mayors to join Mayors for the Freedom to Marry and hundreds more nominated their mayors to be petitioned to join the campaign.
In just the first two weeks of the campaign, fifteen new mayors have joined Mayors for the Freedom to Marry as a result of outreach from our supporters. In a show of growing support in all regions of the country, we added a new mayor from South Carolina, the first from that state.
As digital director for Freedom to Marry and an on-the-ground organizer, I know how eager our supporters are to get involved and I've seen the impact of their work. I also know that not everyone can go to their statehouses or major metropolitan cities to join phone banks, signature-gathering efforts, or lobbying efforts. By using the online tools provided through Light Up the Map, they can play an important part in building public support for the freedom to marry.
We have a goal of engaging 500 mayors who hail from all 50 states with Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, but we can't do it without you.
Is your mayor a part of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry? Find out here, and help us light up the map!