By: Sharon Aron Baron
Mayor Beth Talabisco signed the “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry,” a nonpartisan coalition of mayors who believe that all people should be able to share in the love and commitment of marriage. This was a surprising change from the city commission meeting just weeks earlier.
On March 27th, “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry” was met by Vice Mayor Harry Dressler’s staunch disapproval of it, not because he isn’t for equal rights, but because he felt the issue was too “partisan” for our city commission. Coincidentally, this coming months after Mayor Talabisco signed “Mayors Against Illegal Guns.”
Since July, Tamarac Talk has written about the coalition and formally presented it back in February. In March, when I did not see it on two subsequent agendas for discussion, I approached the commission. Unfortunately, the statement had never been read before a decision had been made to declare it to be too partisan.
“I had not seen the actual document until Sunday, said Dressler. “When I read it, I said to myself, this is a personal statement from the Mayor. Nowhere in here does it say ‘City of Tamarac says’ or ‘agrees’ or ‘wants.’ My original position that the city of Tamarac shouldn’t take partisan positions remains the same, but given this pledge, which I interpret to be personal…she should be able to express that fundamental right.”
Commissioner Diane Glasser, a strong proponent of equal rights, who has many friends in the gay and lesbian community expressed her support for gay rights and for equal treatment in other areas, however was accused of politicizing the issue by the Vice Mayor. Both Commissioners Bushnell and Atkins-Grad were also in favor of it, so Tamarac will join the other national Mayors like Michael Bloomberg of New York City and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles as well as other Broward County Mayors and agreeing on the goal of securing the freedom to marry and upholding equal rights for all citizens.
Broward County Mayors that have signed “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry”
Broward County Mayors signing the pledge included: Former Mayor Marilyn Gerber of Coconut Creek, Former Mayor Debbie Eisinger of Cooper City, Judy Paul of Davie, Joy Cooper of Hallandale, Peter Bober of Hollywood, Former Mayor of Pam Donovan of Margate, Lorie Moseley of Miramar, Frank Ortis of Pembroke Pines, Former Mayor Anne Sallee of Oakland Park, Michael Udine of Parkland, Ashira Mohammed of Pembroke Park, Mike Ryan of Sunrise and Gary Resnick of Wilton Manors.