On Thursday, about 10 same-sex couples gathered on the pavilion in front of City Hall for the sixth annual National Freedom to Marry Day. The couples cut a wedding cake and listened to speakers explain where same-sex marriages stand legally. It was a small but joyous ceremony.

Over the past few months, the issue of same-sex marriages has been pushed to the front-and-center of national politics. Last month, the Massachusetts Supreme Court told their state legislature that civil unions are not sufficient, and that same-sex marriages should be recognized as early as May.

In response to the Massachusetts court decision, President Bush has said he will support a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages. To ratify such an act, three-quarters of the states would need to vote in favor of it. 27 states have already banned recognition of same-sex marriages from other states.

But the issue has also inspired mayors around the country to step forward. Last Thursday, the newly elected Republican Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, began issuing same-sex marriage licenses. By issuing the licenses, Newsom is effectively putting up his dukes and begging for a legal battle. Newsom stated that, as the mayor, he was sworn to uphold the state's constitution, which affords equal rights to all its citizens. By the end of Friday, 489 couples had flocked to city hall to obtain a license. Also on Friday, an Arizona-based religious group filed a lawsuit to halt those marriages.

Last week, at the risk of alienating much of the city and state's deeply religious conservative base, Denver's Mayor John Hickenlooper stepped forward to denounce the proposed constitutional amendment which would define marriage as only between a man and a woman. The amendment is sponsored by Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, a U.S. Congresswoman from Colorado.

But in Portland, Mayor Vera Katz has thus far remained silent on the subject. Citing that the issue is a county matter (the county handles marriage licenses), her office stated she has not yet decided whether to offer a public comment on either her professional or personal viewpoint on the matter.

The Mercury asks that the mayor follow the example set in other cities and step forward to publicly support same-sex marriages. Furthermore, the mayor should lobby state senators from Portland to propose legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in Oregon.

Bonnie Tinker from Love Makes A Family, co-sponsor of Thursday's event at city hall, stated they have received "strong support from city and county officials."

Thursday's event was also sponsored by council member Erik Sten.

For more information about same-sex marriages and public education efforts, contact "info@lmfamily.org."