AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin city council on Thursday adopted a resolution supporting marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, the first such measure from a Texas city.
Council members said the endorsement will land them on the right side of history and compared gay marriage to women’s suffrage and civil rights, reported the Austin American Statesman.
The unanimous vote was symbolic — Austin has no power to overturn Texas’ existing ban on same-sex marriage.
“It is a statement in support. We know from the civil rights movement that any act, direct, or indirect, that helps with ending discrimination is important and it matters,” said Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, who sponsored the resolution.
The city’s resolution reads, in part:
WHEREAS, all couples in loving and committed relationships should be given the opportunity to create stronger and more successful families through civil marriage; and
WHEREAS, it is the intent of civil rights organizations in the State of Texas including Equality Texas, the Human Rights Campaign, the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (etc…) to end discrimination in marriage based on gender and sexual orientation in Texas, to ensure that all persons in this state may enjoy the freedom to marry on equal terms;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF AUSTIN:
That we support marriage equality in the State of Texas.
The council’s endorsement of marriage equality came at the request of the advocacy group Equality Texas.
Chuck Smith, its director, said that when Texas voters approved the Defense of Marriage Act they “decided to put discrimination into the Constitution,” but said he thinks public opinion on the issue has since shifted, citing the endorsement of same-sex marriage by the mayors of several Texas cities, including Houston, El Paso, Galveston, Kyle, and San Antonio.
“This is part of a forward movement,” said Smith. “People are recognizing that it doesn’t make sense to exclude committed couples from the institution of marriage.”