UPDATE: Waveland mayor first in Missisippi to publicly support same-sex marriage
By Dwayne Bremer
Jul 18, 2014, 19:47
Mayor David Garcia
Waveland Mayor David Garcia made national news this week when he became the first mayor in Mississippi to publicly endorse same-sex marriages, joining more than 450 mayors nationwide who have done the same.
"I just believe that people should have a right to live their lives the way they want to within the limits of the law," Garcia said. "As mayor of the city of Waveland, I understand that the strength and health of our cities are enhanced when all families are protected and supported. We know many people in loving and committed same-sex relationships who are active participants in improving our community. I believe in fairness for all American families and I support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples willing to take on that commitment."
Last month, the Waveland Board of Aldermen passed a resolution denouncing discrimination of any type.
Although same-sex marriage is allowed in some states, it is still prohibited in Mississippi.
Garcia said he was not necessarily trying to make a political or social statement, just expressing his individual opinion when he was asked the question.
Garcia's announcement came during an interview with the Southerners for the Freedom to Marry project, which issued a press release on Wednesday.
The announcement has drawn praise from many, including the local LBGT group the Mississippi Gulf Coast Rainbow Center.
"Mayor Garcia has always believed all residents are the same and are to be treated equally," Rainbow Center Spokesman Jeff White said Thursday. "We are very proud of him for standing up for this. He will get other mayors to come out in support of same-sex marriage."
Not all, however, were pleased with Garcia's announcement.
One Hancock County resident on social media Wednesday called for residents to "stop spending money in Waveland."
Garcia said Thursday that he knew there would be those who are against his opinion.
"I understand that some people are not going to be happy that I support this issue, but so far, it has been overwhelmingly a positive response," he said.
White said his group will poll other Gulf Coast mayors in the coming weeks to see if they, too, are willing to support same-sex marriages.