Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has announced
his support for allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, making him
the first Tennessee mayor to back such unions.
“I believe that all people should be
treated fairly and equally and that their individual dignity should
be respected,” Dean said in a statement. “Embracing and
celebrating our growing diversity makes our city stronger. Nashville
needs to continue in that direction, and it's my hope that joining
this effort will help us do that.”
Dean also announced he had joined
Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, a project of Freedom to Marry.
According to Freedom to Marry, the
Mayors for the Freedom to Marry program now includes mayors from all
14 Southern states.
“Joining mayors across the country,
Nashville's mayor today is standing up for families in his community
and speaking out in support of the freedom to marry,” said Evan
Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry. “Tennessee's denial of the
freedom to marry directly harms the state's more than 10,000 same-sex
couples and their loved ones, and by putting obstacles in the path of
businesses and families, drags everyone down. We welcome Mayor Dean
as another voice in favor of moving Tennessee, the South, and all of
America to the right side of history.”