Seattle Mayor Ed Murray was in San Francisco for a mayors forum on urban parks Monday and is planning a June trip to Israel.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray was in San Francisco for a mayors forum on urban parks Monday and is planning another trip much farther afield.
Murray will visit Israel in June to deliver the closing keynote address at the 40 Years of Pride Conference, billed as the first global leadership summit ever held in Tel Aviv by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning movement.
The June 9-11 conference, according to a news release, “will bring together a diverse group of LGBTQ leaders from all corners of the globe where they will discuss the challenges facing the LGBTQ community in Israel and around the world, explore and experience Israeli culture, and celebrate 40 years of LGBTQ progress in Israel.”
The event’s organizers are The Aguda and A Wider Bridge, the release says. The Aguda is an Israeli nonprofit that works for LGBTQ rights and acceptance, while A Wider Bridge is a pro-Israel advocacy entity that targets LGBTQ North Americans.
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The conference, which will culminate with the Tel Aviv Pride Celebration, will include discussion of what Israel can learn from marriage-equality efforts in the United States.
Murray, as a state senator, was a leader in the push to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state, which succeeded in 2012.
The Israel trip won’t be his first sojourn to speak about the issue. During his first official overseas trip as mayor, last September, he made a speech about marriage equality at the University of Galway in Ireland. In December, Murray took part in an annual conference of LGBTQ elected officials in Washington, D.C.
The mayor’s Monday forum in San Francisco was part of Greater and Greener, a biannual event that brings together urban-park leaders and design professionals, along with advocates and funders.
The forum put Murray in discussion with the mayors of San Francisco, Fort Worth and Greenville, S.C., “to share insights about how parks and public spaces are helping to achieve broad-based, interconnected policy objectives and their role in creating successful cities — and how building support for the challenging and critical investments in urban parks is critical to the resilience and health of our urban communities.”
Murray and the Seattle City Council backed a successful ballot measure last year that created a new taxing authority for Seattle parks, the Seattle Park District.
He and the council are meanwhile pursuing new public-private partnerships for the city’s downtown parks.
Murray is due back in Seattle on Wednesday, according to spokesman Viet Shelton. He’ll meet with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on Tuesday, Shelton said. The City Parks Alliance of San Francisco is paying his hotel and airfare, the spokesman said.
Israel’s foreign affairs ministry is footing the bill for the mayor’s Tel Aviv trip, said Shelton. Murray is looking to put together a trade mission to coincide with his trip to the Middle Eastern nation; payment for that has not yet been determined.