The Civil Courts building was wearing a rainbow of lights last night. A rainbow banner hangs beneath the City flag on the lawn outside my window. Crews are beginning to shape the route for a downtown parade and celebration. All, proudly.
This is the background against which I learned this morning of the United States Supreme Court's decisions striking down some of the barriers against full civil rights for gay and lesbian Americans. In 2009, I was one of the mayors who voted to commit the US Conference of Mayors to supporting marriage equality for same-sex couples so that such unions would have the same rights ' family leave, retirement benefits, tax equity, and constitutional protection against discrimination ' as heterosexual couples. Last year, I joined the mayors of nearly 100 US cities in a proactive campaign in support of the freedom of gay and lesbian couples to marry and to enjoy the full rights of married couples.
I said then, and I repeat it now: this is not only a matter of fairness (though it is certainly that). Cities are strengthened by their families. I want St. Louis to be the sort of diverse and open place in which all families, gay and straight, choose to live, create, and build businesses.
As residents of Missouri, we have some work to do. KC's Mayor Sly James is already an ally.
There will quite a party in St. Louis this weekend. We will be celebrating with PRIDE.