City Council OKs resolution supporting gay marriage

Resolution by Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan passes 11-2


The Atlanta City Council on Monday voted 11-2 to pass a resolution endorsing marriage equality.

Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan, who represents gay friendly Midtown, Virginia-Highland, and Morningside, introduced the legislation after several weeks of consideration and conversations with his colleagues about the resolution.

“For some folks it was a slam dunk, no-brainer, ‘what can I do to help?” Wan, Council’s only openly gay member, told CL last night. “Others had questions, understandably, but knew why this was important to me... It’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for a while and it was just a matter of finding the right time and having the conversations I wanted to have with my colleagues.”

Since the city has no say so over marriage, the resolution was largely a symbolic gesture that lacks teeth. But it isn’t the first time Council’s taken a stand on LGBT issues outside the legislative body’s purview. In 2004, the Atlanta City Council voted 13-1 to state its opposition to the Georgia constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. And in 2006, Council voted 11-2 to support the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Councilmembers Howard Shook, who represents parts of Buckhead, and C.T. Martin, who represents parts of west Atlanta, voted against the resolution.

“I don’t want to talk about it because I have a choice,” Martin told CL when asked why he voted “no.” “And that’s what it’s about - choices. And I had a choice of voting ‘no.’”

We sent Shook an email last night and will update if we hear back. UPDATE, 3:04 p.m. Shook says in an email:

While I understand there are many heartfelt opinions regarding this issue, my duty is to represent 7th District voters who, like it or not, overwhelmingly opposed amending Georgia’s constitution so as to allow gay marriage.

Mayor Kasim Reed has faced criticism from LGBT activists and progressives for not supporting gay marriage. Wan says the resolution wasn’t directed at Reed and that he spoke with the mayor before introducing the resolution. Wan says he respects the mayor’s position.

“At the end of the day, the mayor will do what he wants to do,” Wan said. “But he understood my position and that I wanted to take a position on this.”

Lest you think Wan, who’s seeking another term on Council, introduced the resolution for publicity purposes, he says that’s not the case. He told the Georgia Voice last night:

Publicity was not the motivation. This is just the city council taking a position because it was the right thing to do. It was more important to me to reach this kind of consensus with the council without outside pressure,” he said.

“If the council were to feel pressured, it would be very different than had they arrived at this support on their own. This was council acting independently - because it was the right thing to do,” he said.

Text of the resolution follows after the jump.