Nashville Mayor Karl Dean Throws His Support Behind Same-Sex Marriage

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Mayor Karl Dean has been promoting giving domestic partnership benefits to Metro employees since last year and recently signaled his support of gay marriage in general. Credit: Office of the Mayor

Nashville mayor Karl Dean went one step further in his support for same-sex marriage Thursday. He has officially joined the group Mayors for the Freedom to Marry — the first mayor in Tennessee to do so.

Dean signed a marriage equality statement that says allowing same-sex couples to marry is good for everyone. In a press release, Dean said he wants Nashville to respect “individual dignity.”

“Embracing and celebrating our growing diversity makes our city stronger,” he wrote. “Nashville needs to continue in that direction, and it’s my hope that joining this effort will help us do that.”

Nearly 500 mayors around the country have signed the statement so far, according to a spokeswoman from the Freedom to Marry group.

Last year and earlier this year, Dean was a leading proponent of a city ordinance to give metro employees domestic partnership benefits, meaning same-sex couples could share health insurance and pension plans. The Nashville council passed the ordinance in June.

Meanwhile, statewide, the issue of gay marriage has made its way to a federal appeals court. It will be deciding whether Tennessee must recognize same-sex marriages officiated out-of-state.

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