Ravenstahl signs pledge supporting gay marriage
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After a spokeswoman for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said in April that he does not support gay marriage and would not sign a pledge supporting the right of gays and lesbians to marry, his signature Tuesday on a Mayors for the Freedom to Marry pledge showing his support for gay marriage seemed to be an about-face.
"My position actually changed well before that," Mr. Ravenstahl said Tuesday. He said his spokeswoman, Joanna Doven, was referencing his last public statement on gay marriage -- from a debate in 2009 -- when she told a reporter in April that Mr. Ravenstahl does not support gay marriage and would not sign the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry statement.
Mayors for the Freedom to Marry launched Jan. 20 at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. Initially, 80 mayors signed a statement on the group's website, and since then, more than 200 Democratic, Republican and Independent mayors from across the country have signed the statement in support of the freedom of same-sex couples to marry.
Mr. Ravenstahl said he made up his mind after speaking with gay friends and staff, as well as members of his LGBT task force.
"My mind has changed. My heart has changed. I thought it was important to express that," he said.
He said President Barack Obama's support of gay marriage was one of the reasons he decided to express public support for gay marriage.
"I felt it was important for me to express what my personal belief was," he said.
He said he expects some constituents to be upset with his support, but said he doesn't make decisions based on whether people agree or disagree with him.
"It's good to see Luke change his mind on this issue," said city Councilman Bill Peduto, a likely challenger to Mr. Ravenstahl in next year's election. "Pittsburgh now joins nearly 250 other cities that believe equal rights belong to everyone."
First Published June 8, 2012 12:00 am