Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina has become the 500th to join Freedom to Marry's coalition in support of same-sex marriage, and his is a vital step. Columbia is the largest city, and the capital, of South Carolina, a state still highly opposed to same-sex marriage. Only one other S.C. mayor, Sarah Sherwood of Abbeville, has signed on to the coalition which began in 2012.
“It’s a great honor to be able to stand up and represent 500 mayors from all across this great nation standing together in the name of equality,” Benjamin said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “As Dr. King might say, I don’t know if that’s the historic, politic or popular thing to do. But I do know that it’s the right thing to do because we’re all Americans and if you are not free then neither am I.”
A bold and exciting statement to say the least, and one that could really affect change alongside 499 other mayors as the Supreme Court considers hearing same-sex marriage cases from around the country.
“From Alabama to West Virginia and from big cities and small, 500 mayors have now pledged to make the case in their communities for ending marriage discrimination,” said Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, in a statement. “Mayor Benjamin, like the hundreds of other mayors, knows that marriage strengthens families and communities…"
“The Supreme Court should listen to the bipartisan chorus of mayors who stand on the right side of history and bring an end to marriage discrimination in America once and for all,” [Solomon] said.