Supports Affirmative Action
Authored landmark speech on Affirmative Action establishing new hiring practices and promotions for citizens of color, women and protected groups under the Civil Rights Act, creating the most diverse workforce in the history of Springfield.
Supports LGBTQ Rights
Councillor Albano, in 2002 was the Lead Plaintiff in a lawsuit before the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts [SJC-08702] challenging the Attorney General's certification of an initiative petition to amend the Constitution to provide that only the union of one man and one women shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Massachusetts.
Mayor Albano has a public record dating back to 1996 in support of gay rights. Included in his record is the following:
1/1/1996: First Mayor in Springfield's history to appoint a liaison to the gay and lesbian community.
1/9/1996: Authored and signed an Executive Order for "Extension of Certain Personnel Benefits" for Domestic Partners for City Employees, the first such Executive Order authorized by a Mayor in Massachusetts.
6/28/1996: Mayor Albano declares Gay Pride Day in the City, the first such recognition in the City's history.
12/5/1996: Accepted a State Grant creating the Gay/Straight Alliance at Central High School.
4/10/1997: Authored and signed an Executive Order "Extending Health Care Benefits" for Domestic Partners for City Employees, the first such Executive Order authorized by a Mayor in Massachusetts.
Last week, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the right of states to ban same-sex marriage. Hopefully, this will be last case in a long journey to insure the civil rights of the LGBT community.
In 2001, in the case Michael Albano & Others vs. Attorney General (SJC-08702) the legal process of achieving marriage equality began in Massachusetts and across the country. In this case, the Plaintiffs challenged the Attorney General's ruling of an Initiative Petition which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. And while the Court ruled against the Plaintiffs in that case, the conversation for equal rights began which eventually led to the landmark case of Goodrich v. Department of Health in 2003.
The Attorney for the Plaintiffs in both cases was Mary Bonauto, the same Attorney who argued the case before the Supreme Court last week. As the civil rights project director of the Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Bonauto first rose to national prominence in the Goodrich case when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in a 4-3 decision agreed with her argument that the State Constitution required Massachusetts to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
In Goodrich Chief Justice Margaret Marshall eloquently stated in her opinion:
"Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family.
"It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects.” Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition...
"That same-sex couples are willing to embrace marriage’s solemn obligations of exclusivity, mutual support, and commitment to one another is a testament to the enduring place of marriage in our laws and in the human spirit."
So, here we are at the final frontier in an epic civil rights battle that began in Massachusetts in 2001.
I am hopeful and confident Justice Anthony Kennedy will continue his support for gay rights. Kennedy has written the Supreme Court’s three prior gay rights decisions, including the 2013 ruling in United States v. Windsor, which struck down the national Defense of Marriage Act because it unfairly denied federal benefits to same-sex couples married under state law.
I am also optimistic that Chief Justice John Roberts will support Kennedy giving the LGBT community a solid 6-3 decision from the Supreme Court.
Historically, the public has moved in record speed on this critical civil rights issue. Forty states now recognize marriage equality.
The time is now for the United States Supreme Court to end this debate.
Michael J. Albano is currently a Member of the Governor's Council representing western Massachusetts. In 2001, at the time of the filing of the case against the Attorney General, he was the Mayor of Springfield.