Goodman Refuses to Sign Marriage Equality Pledge
Freedom to Marry has garnered a lot of media attention and hope with their current campaign that features mayors from across the country who support nuptials for gays and lesbians, but area activists are upset that Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is not among them.
Freedom to Marry contacted the Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada and other organizations last month to help persuade Goodman to reconsider her stance after she did not respond to its request for a meeting.
More than 100 mayors have already joined the "Mayors for the Freedom to Marry" campaign since Freedom to Marry formally unveiled it at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20. The non-binding pledge is seen as a historic step in the advancement of marriage for same-sex couples in the United States.
Mayors from both major parties, as well as independents have signed on to the pledge. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; Houston Mayor Annise Parker; New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee and almost every other big city mayor have all signed the pledge, which is also seen as a welcome gesture to LGBT families, businesses and visitors.
Neither Goodman nor her office returned EDGE's repeated requests for comment.
Derek Washington, chair of the Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada and a long-time Las Vegas resident, said he is ready to see city officials stand behind its LGBT residents and visitors. He stressed that if Goodman were to sign the pledge, it would "show the world that Las Vegas stands with the vast majority of major U.S. cities in providing a welcoming environment for LGBT residents and visitors" alike.
"This city lives and dies on tourism and our Convention and Visitors Authority spends millions to attract LGBT tourists," said Washington. "Signing this would be one more easy and free bit of positive advertising to bring in those LGBT dollars that everyone wants to attract."
Washington stressed that Goodman's refusal to sign onto Freedom to Marry's campaign is the latest in a series of missteps she has made with regards to LGBT issues.
"When I was first approached to ask her about it I said that I would not waste my time," added Stonewall Democratic Club spokesperson Laura Martin. "During the campaign for mayor she made a few devastating missteps when it came to her positions on gay rights, including using the word 'tranvestite' and stating that if gay Nevadans want to get married, they should move to another state. She's hidden behind her religion as a reason not to support marriage equality but that excuse is just no longer valid, for anyone."
Are LGBT Democrats Looking to Settle a Political Score with Goodman?
Log Cabin Republicans of Nevada and other LGBT groups have urged those who are protesting Goodman's refusal to sign the pledge to reconsider their criticisms.
"With all due respect, what do you have against this lady?" asked Chuck Vanage, president of the Log Cabin Republicans of Nevada, in a recent QVegas.com article about the controversy. "By writing this article you're probably making Las Vegas a less LGBT-friendly metropolitan area. I recommend you cut the mayor some slack."
Washington feels differently.
"It's time to step into the here and now and realize that an overwhelming number of Americans support marriage equality and she does not want to find herself on the wrong side of history," he said.
Nevada voters in 2002 approved a constitutional amendment that bans marriage for same-sex couples, but the state's domestic partner registry law took effect in 2009. Governor Brian Sandoval last May signed three bills that ban discrimination based on gender identity and expression in employment, housing and public accommodation.
"Judging by all [the] transgender equity bills that were signed into law during our last legislative session, I'm sure if the gay marriage vote was held again today, we'd have a different outcome," said Washington.