Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has
joined Mayors for the Freedom to Marry.
Ravenstahl's pledge to support equal
marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples comes two months after he
said he would not be joining the group.
Ravenstahl's spokesperson, Joanna
Doven, told a reporter in April that he does not support gay marriage
and would not join the group.
“My position actually changed well
before that,” Ravenstahl, 32, told the Pittsburgh
The mayor said Doven was referencing
his last public statement on the issue, which he made during a 2009
Mayors for the Freedom to Marry has
grown to include more than 200 mayors from across the country from
its original 80 members at its January launch.
“My mind has changed. My heart has
changed. I thought it was important to express that,” Ravenstahl
said, noting that he reversed course after speaking with gay friends
and staff and gay rights activists.
He said he was also influenced by
President Barack Obama's recent public endorsement of marriage
Members of Mayors for the Freedom to
Marry pledge to lobby state lawmakers to approve legislation
legalizing gay nuptials and to call on Congressional representatives
to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bars federal
agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples. The
group is helmed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.