Mayor Jones Absent from US Conference of Mayors Push for Marriage Equality
The U.S. Conference of Mayors doubled down on its support for same-sex marriage, following their annual convention in Dallas this week. But absent from the event, and from the show of support, was Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones.
“The United States Conference of Mayors reaffirms its support of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples and urges the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, to speedily bring national resolution by ruling in favor of the freedom to marry nationwide,” stated the 2014 Resolution on the Freedom to Marry by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The resolution was passed by a majority, garnering support from many mayors of cities who reside in states which have yet to overturn their own same-sex marriage bans.
A part-time pastor, Jones has stated that he cannot personally support same-sex marriage.
“This is one issue that President Obama and I disagree on,” Mayor Jones said in a prepared statement released in 2012 after President Obama expressed support for same-sex marriage. ”Despite this disagreement however, I applaud the efforts and work of President Obama and his administration.”
In 2006, When Jones was a Delegate in the Va General Assembly, he voted in support of SB 526 which would become the Marshal Newman Amendment, Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. was a member of the VA General Assembly, he
“The Mayor has always made it clear that he will stand up for all laws that protect constitutional rights and that he does not believe that our laws should be discriminatory,” said Tammy Hawley, Mayor Jones’ Press Secretary, in a response to GayRVA’s questions about the Conference of Mayor’s letter. “He believes in is equal protection under the law for all persons.”
Jones’ statement echoes the support for equality he has shown in other facets of life.
In 2011, he issued an order which included a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity within any City of Richmond agency. The ACLU later criticized the order for lacking any real legal merit as long as state laws still excluded sexual orientation and gender identity from the list of protected classes.
Jones also showed his support by offering a proclamation for the 2013 Richmond Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Jones recently became the Virginia Democratic Party chair, however his bid for the seat faced scrutiny from both the democratic party and the LGBT community over his views on marriage equality. However, opposition to his nomination was withdrawn after LGBT democrats met with the mayor.
The U.S. Convention of Mayors sent the letter urging Federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court, to end marriage discrimination in the nation, as part of their annual national conference. About 200 mayors were in attendance. In 2009, a similar resolution was passed which endorsed the freedom of same-sex couples to marry.
This year’s resolution was drafted by Mayor Greg Stanton of Phoenix, AZ. “We are a stronger, more vibrant and more economically viable when we treat every person equally under the law,” said Stanton. “Because all people should be able to marry the person they love.”
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