Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (File photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for NBCUniversal)
ATLANTA -- On Wednesday, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed came out in support on same-sex marriage.
In a press release Reed wrote, "Today marks an important day as I announce my support for marriage equality."
"It is well known that I have gone through a good bit of reflection on this issue, but listening to the stories of so many people that I know and care about has strengthened my belief that marriage is a fundamental right for everyone," he added.
Thursday, on MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts, Reed had an opportunity to further explain his stance. Reed says he has been an ally of gay rights for years. He, in fact, has several gay friends.
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"I'm not new to supporting LGBT rights and interests," Reed said.
"I think it's [about] listening to people I know and care about. That's how authentic and genuine change occurs...there is a difference between marriage and civil unions and rights that come with marriage. And if you really believe in equal protection, then gay and lesbian couples deserve the same equal protection under the constitution as I do or you do."
Reed's state of Georgia has a specific amendment passed in 2004 that states Georgia does not perform nor recognize same sex marriage or civil unions between LGBT couples.
Reed feels his stance on the matter is the first step toward change.
"I think it sends a significant signal," Reed said. "It will take time, but I believe this is the first step."