Just after posting the previous story about Freedom to Marry’s petition to have marriage equality added to Ohio’s 2012 election ballot, I learned that Columbus’ Mayor, Michael Coleman has just publicly signed the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry Pledge and the Ohio Elected Officials Freedom to Marry pledge.
Here’s the official announcement from Equality Ohio:
Equality Ohio is pleased to announce that Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman has signed the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry Pledge and the Ohio Elected Officials Freedom to Marry pledge supporting the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. We appreciate his willingness to discuss this issue with community leaders and reach the decision to support full marriage equality. Thank you Mayor Coleman, and we look forward to hearing your 200th anniversary State of the City speech and cheering for you as the Grand Marshal of the Columbus Pride Parade in June.
It’s been reported that Mayor Coleman has been dragging his feet on signing the petition after many mayors, both democrat and republican, across the state and the nation have already signed on. It was a move that was puzzling as Columbus is considered one of the country’s largest gay meccas and Coleman has always been very pro gay rights.
Many local gay rights leaders and organizations came together and put in many man hours to have petitions signed and meetings with the mayor to change his mind.
Whatever the motivations or reason the lag, I say thanks to Mayor Coleman for finally signing the petitions, your commitment to equality is a great example to the state and the nation! And special thanks to all those who tirelessly fought to make this happen!
UPDATE (2/16 at 2:11 p.m.): The Columbus Dispatch has picked up the story and includes the below quote from Coleman’s spokesperson, Dan Williamson, stating why the mayor changed his mind:
“One of the things that pushed the mayor over the top on this issue was a meeting he had with a city employee, a veteran who came back,” Williamson said. “He told the mayor he’s now openly gay, but he had to hide things from his fellow soldiers,” while the don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy was in effect. “He said he was overseas fighting for everybody’s rights but his own.”