WAVELAND, Miss. — Waveland mayor David Garcia has announced his support for same-sex marriage, marking the first time a sitting mayor in the state of Mississippi has publicly supported marriage equality.
Garcia has added his name to “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry,” a nationwide effort consisting of more than 450 U.S. mayors advocating for marriage equality.
“We know many people in loving and committed same-sex relationships who are active participants in improving our communities and we’ve seen how important marriage has been for them and their families,” Garcia said, in a statement. “Because I believe in fairness for all American families, I support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples willing to take on that commitment.”
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Garcia said LGBT residents in Waveland help the economy and spend money like any other resident, and he would welcome same-sex marriages in the city.
In May, the Waveland city council passed an anti-discrimination resolution recognizing the “dignity and worth of all city residents” — including those who are LGBT — becoming the seventh of eight Mississippi municipalities to pass such a resolution. The others are Jackson, Starkville, Hattiesburg, Greenville, Magnolia, Bay St. Louis and Oxford.
This month, a “religious freedom” bill passed by the Mississippi legislature and signed by Gov. Phil Bryant came into effect; opponents say the measure effectively sanctions discrimination against Mississippi’s LGBT citizens.
In response, hundreds of businesses statewide have are displaying a decal informing LGBT customers that their business is welcome.