After more than 27 years as a City and fighting each day for the rights of the LGBT community, the members of the West Hollywood City Council today expressed their profound elation that President Barack Obama has endorsed marriage equality.
The following are the statements from members of the West Hollywood City Council:
“President Obama has done more for LGBT equality than any other President in history – Mathew Shepard Hate Crimes, Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell, and now, marriage,” said West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang. “His record over the past 3 ½ years in office has demonstrated a strong commitment to equal rights for all Americans, including equal rights for the LGBT community.
“We, the LBGT community, must now show our strong commitment to ensure that he is reelected as our Nation’s leader,” added Mayor Prang.
“It has always been our hope that the President would come to view this as the civil rights issue that it is,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Abbe Land. “With continuing efforts to inject discrimination into state constitutions, as happened in North Carolina yesterday, it is vitally important that that the leader of our country makes a strong and clear statement about the importance of marriage equality.”
She added, “When more people understand what this is really about — and the real harm done to families when legal recognition is denied – then hopefully we can move forward as a country where everyone is treated equally and fairly and these discriminatory amendments and policies become things of the past.”
“Keith and I were married in 2008 after being domestic partners for 16 years and I am happy to report that the sky has not fallen. And as far as I know the sky has not fallen anywhere same sex marriage is legal,” said West Hollywood Councilmember John D’Amico.
“This was truly a moment of a ‘profile in courage’ by the President,” said West Hollywood Councilmember John Duran. “He took an extraordinary risk with his statement. We will now be alert in West Hollywood for potential political blowback from those who might retaliate against our community,” continued Councilmember Duran.
“Today President Obama demonstrated his commitment to equality for all Americans,” said West Hollywood Councilmember John Heilman. “He also demonstrated his leadership. This is a great day for our country. Now we need to continue the hard work to make marriage equality a reality,” continued Councilmember Heilman.
In 1984, the City of West Hollywood became the second city in the nation to create a domestic partner registry. In 1985, the City of West Hollywood adopted a Domestic Partnership Ordinance that provided equal rights for domestic partners and married couples in the City. This groundbreaking ordinance provided hospital and jail visitation rights for domestic partners, and protected renters from eviction or rent increases in the event of a partner’s death. In 1985, the City of West Hollywood successfully lobbied to change California state law so that the California Public City Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) would include domestic partners in benefit plans statewide.
The City of West Hollywood was one of the first cities in the country to pass a resolution in support of same-sex marriage. The City has been one of the most ardent and vocal advocates for the legal rights of same-sex couples and the right to marry, both in and outside its City boundaries. Since 1995, the City Council has passed almost a dozen resolutions supporting progressive domestic rights initiatives, and condemning the opposite, in various states and on the federal level.
The California Supreme Court ruled on May 15, 2008 that same-sex couples had the right to wed. From June 17 until November 4, 2008, the City of West Hollywood issued more than 1,000 same-sex marriage licenses and performed more than 600 marriage ceremonies. When Proposition 8 was passed by the state of California in November 2008, the law was overturned and same-sex marriages were no longer allowed.
In May 2009, the California Supreme Court made a devastating ruling that upheld Proposition 8 and reinstated the ban on same-sex marriage in California and halted all same-sex marriages in the state. The marriages granted during this time period, however, remain legally recognized.