When people were advocating to have an elected mayor in Portland, whose job would be full-time, one of the big arguments in favor was that we could have a full-time lobbyist on Portland's key issues, whether regionally, in Augusta, or in any relevant scope or arena.
Since his election, Mike Brennan has advocated for Portland's need with Governor Paul LePage and state lawmakers. And now he's advocating for another issue important to many Portlanders.
He has always been a progressive politician, and today's announcement that he'll not only support same-sex marriage on the ballot in November, but that he's asking other municipal leaders to join the equality movement, comes as no surprise.
It's an issue that past mayors have led on also, with the city's longstanding domestic-partnership ordinance, and a history of tolerance. Now the current mayor is also on board. Here's the official announcement.
Mayor Brennan Stands Up for Marriage
Portland Mayor joins Mayors from across the nation in support of the freedom to marry
PORTLAND, Maine - Today, City of Portland Mayor Michael Brennan joined his Mayoral colleagues from across the country in pledging his support for marriage equality by joining Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, a broad-based and nonpartisan group of mayors who believe that all people should be able to share in the commitment of marriage. More than one hundred and sixty mayors hailing from culturally, racially and geographically diverse communities have signed a statement advocating for the freedom to marry and equal rights for all citizens.
"The strength and health of the City of Portland is enhanced when all families are protected and supported," stated Mayor Brennan. "Cities like Portland that celebrate and cultivate diversity are the places were creativity and ideas thrive. It fosters a quality of life attractive to businesses and entrepreneurs and helps our economy grow. Allowing same-sex couples the right to marry enhances our economic competitiveness, improves the lives of families who call Portland home and is simply the right thing to do."
The City of Portland has a longstanding history of advocating for civil rights for all. Twenty years ago, City of Portland voters passed the Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Ordinance, which ensured that all employees, gay, lesbian or straight working in the city could not be discriminated against in the work place. This policy was integrated within all city departments from Fire to Police to Public Services and has helped create the diverse workforce serving the city today.
"Gay and lesbian couples in committed, loving relationships are our relatives, neighbors, friends and colleagues. And, they deserve to be able to marry the person with whom they share their life. They deserve the recognition and extension of full equal rights granted by such unions including family and medical leave, tax equity, and insurance and retirement benefits - rights and protections my wife and I have been entitled to since our wedding day."
"As Mayor of Portland, I will work to bring marriage equality to all Maine families and I invite my colleagues in city and town halls across the state to join me in taking this important step toward building a community where all loving couples who want to make the life-long commitment can share in the joy and respect of marriage."