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Laguna’s Mayor Takes Same-Sex Marriage Vow

Laguna Beach’s Mayor Jane Egly is the first in the county to sign a marriage equality pledge embraced by 175 other mayors nationwide as of March 20.

“That’s never been an issue for me. I’ve always supported that idea. It’s hard to be in Laguna and not have that sense reinforced,” said Egly, who in 2008 supported Laguna Beach’s filing of an amicus brief with the state Supreme Court, which legalized same-sex unions. The ruling was soon upended by Prop. 8, the voter-approved ballot initiative that banned same sex marriage in California.

“I’m just continuing Laguna’s tradition,” said Egly, who was urged to support the amicus brief by former Laguna Beach mayor Robert Gentry, the first openly gay mayor in the nation in 1989.

Egly joins the company of big city mayors such as Los Angeles’ Antonio Villaraigosa and New York’s Michael Bloomberg as well as Helene Schneider in Santa Barbara and Nick Tell of Manhattan Beach.

Egly was urged to add take the Freedom to Marry pledge by Alex Gill Gerards, an Aliso Viejo resident who works in Laguna. Gill Gerards, who thinks marriage equality should be part of the national debate, has yet to convince his own mayor to take a similar step.

Voters in Aliso Viejo as well as Laguna Beach and Irvine defeated Prop. 8 locally.

Freedom to Marry was launched in 2003 by Evan Wolfson, a civil rights attorney described as the architect of the national marriage equality movement. In the last decade, the group has worked for passage of same-sex marriage laws in six states and the District of Columbia. Forty-four states continue to exclude same-sex couples from marriage, and through the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), the federal government also refuses to recognize legally-wed same-sex couples, according to the group’s website.

 

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