Without fanfare or a formal announcement, Mayor Mitch Landrieu has quietly come out in favor of same-sex marriage — a change from his longtime position of supporting civil unions but stopping short of endorsing same-sex marriage. Landrieu's name now can be found on the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry website
, where more than 400 mayors of cities large and small have publicly supported the right to same-sex marriage.
Two years ago, the list was much smaller — around 80 mayors — and Landrieu was not among them
. At the time, spokesman Ryan Berni told Gambit
that Landrieu supported civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Today, in a statement, Landrieu spokesman Tyler A. Gamble wrote:
The Mayor has long supported ending marriage discrimination at all levels of government. As an employer, the City of New Orleans recognizes domestic partnerships and allows our employees’ partners to be eligible for benefits. The City has an interest in strengthening and supporting all caring, committed and responsible family forms, which is why the City signed an amicus brief in support of the Robicheaux case now pending in federal court. “Mayors for Freedom to Marry” is a bipartisan group of over 400 mayors who support upholding equal rights under the law for all citizens.
Same-sex marriage became a front-burner issue in Louisiana this week
when U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman heard arguments over Louisiana's refusal to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. Feldman surprised plaintiffs and defendants, however, when he announced he would not issue a "piecemeal" ruling and wanted more time not only to consider the question, but also to address the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, which was put into the state constitution by popular vote in 2004. Twenty states and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriage — yesterday, Indiana became the latest state added to that list after a federal judge struck down the ban there.