Scott G Winterton, Deseret News Archives
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.

SALT LAKE CITY — Mayor Ralph Becker has joined mayors across the country backing the Freedom to Marry petition.

The petition, which carries signatures from more than 350 mayors across 38 states, is a nonpartisan declaration that "all people should be able to share in the love and commitment of marriage," according to the Freedom to Marry website.

Becker is the second Utah mayor to sign the petition, following 12-year Park City Mayor Dana Williams, who did not seek re-election in November.

Becker was on hand to perform same-sex marriages at the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office in December when U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby ruled Utah's voter-approved definition of marriage was unconstitutional, briefly allowing the unions. The Utah Attorney General's Office is appealing the decision in 10th District Court.

"I can't remember ever encountering so much joy and so much love in one crowded, wonderfully chaotic space," Becker said.

Among those couples married by Becker were Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis and his partner of 27 years, Stephen Justesen.

During his time as mayor, Becker helped usher in Salt Lake City's mutual committment registry and nondiscrimination ordinance for housing and employment, the first of their kind in the state.