Before Mayor Mike's Meeting With LGBT Leaders, A Rally Outside City Hall Last Night

Categories: City Hall, Events

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Photos by Anna Merlan
Daniel Cates of GetEQUAL, who got angry with the mayor for not signing the same-sex marriage pledge. He was not alone.
Mayor Mike Rawlings has a closed-door, no-press-allowed meeting this morning with 25 LGBT community leaders to discuss something that's become, say, a small issue for him in the last week: his refusal to sign the "Mayors For Freedom To Marry" Pledge.

Earlier this week Rawlings also elected to back out of a long-planned neighborhood meeting rather than face protesters. So last night a coalition of community groups brought their dissatisfaction to City Hall, hosting a rally on the plaza. Around 70 people turned up, from GetEQUAL, Occupy Dallas, OccupyNOW, the Human Rights Campaign, the Stonewall Democrats, the Resource Center, the Dallas chapter of R.A.G.E. (Radical Alliance for Gender Equality) and even a few from the local International Socialist Organization . The rally was flanked by one or two uniformed Dallas Police officers and at least one plainclothes representative from the Criminal Intelligence Unit. At times the ralliers struggled to make themselves heard over a few counter-protesters -- a small but surprisingly noisy group of four guys with a portable microphone and a video camera, shouting some things about fiery pits, judgment and ... you get the picture.

"We have a message for the mayor," said Mark Reed-Walkup, a GetEQUAL board member who made headlines in 2010, his husband Dante by his side. "Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights. We're fighting for our dignity, and we're fighting for our families." The Dallas LGBT community, he said to a chorus of cheers and applause, "is loud, we're proud, and as Texans, we fight back. Mayor Rawlings, like Rick Perry, you really stepped in it on this issue."

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Meg Hargis of OccupyNOW encouraged those present to write letters to Rawlings, which will be hand-delivered at this morning's meeting. "We think the mayor's mailbox isn't quite as full as it should be," she said. She also gave out the phone number to the mayor's office. "You're gonna put this in your phone and you're gonna use it," she told the crowd. Everyone whipped out their cellphones obligingly and saved the number.

Daniel Cates of GetEQUAL spoke at first about coming out to his family at age 15. "I was absolutely certain my family would disown me," he said. "I was certain I would live my life as an outcast, but I did it anyway." He found, he said, "that the people I just knew would cast me aside came to understand me. ... Hearts were changed and minds were opened."

"Mayor Rawlings," Cates continued. "You've said you personally and privately support equality. Mayor Rawlings, you are a closet case. So we stand here tonight with two words for our mayor, two words from the citizens of the city of Dallas." The crowd roared along with him: "Come out! Come out!"

"Lives and communities are changing," he told the crowd. "This does not end here. We will continue to pressure our elected leaders, from Mike Rawlings to President Obama. We are going to be free. We are going to sit at the welcome table. Won't you join us?"

Cates told Unfair Park later he remains "very optimistic" that the mayor will ultimately sign the pledge. "I can't think of a reason why he wouldn't. There's obvious support for this issue." He said that some of those attending the meeting this morning would be long-time couples, together 30 and 40 years, who would bring their family photo albums to show the mayor.

"We want to put a human face on this," he said. "Civil rights and equality is not a partisan issue. It was a Republican senate in New York that voted in marriage equality last year. It's wrong to say that this doesn't matter to the majority of Dallasites."


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17 comments
Jane Phillips
Jane Phillips

Homosexuals are just looking for more free money from our government.

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

None of this matters until Wilonsky accepts my proposal. 

LGBT
LGBT

These people are self-proclaimed LGBT leaders.  They don't speak for me.  They don't lead me.

Roy T.
Roy T.

And it was just like the homophobic Dallas Morning News to congratulate the mayor on his refusal to take five minutes to sign a statement which would have supported the thousands and thousands of his constituents who are being denied a basic civil right -- the right to marry. The DMN said it was none of the mayor's business. After all, they're just a few queers, right? And there are potholes to be fixed.

Halldecker
Halldecker

"The past isn't dead.  Sometimes it's not even past."  William Faulker.

Early 80's,  Jack Evans,  President of Tom Thumb is elected mayor,  Speaks to the Dallas Gay Lesbian Political Caucus.  Newspapers find out about it.  Evans said he wouldn't have done it if he'd known they were a bunch of Queers.

Same Early 80's:  DPD Vice sits in a car at the MCC on Reagan Street,  copying down license plate numbers.   They're putting together an Official List of all the Queers in Dallas.

Just when you think the past is dead ...

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

Jane., I am very happy with my gay stipend but could always use more on my monthly government wardrobe allowance.  I am also a bit bummed that we no longer get our Amyl Nitrate free due to budget cutbacks. 

Jason
Jason

Jane - I know better than to feed the trolls 'cause it usually backfires and just frustrates me, so I was going to let this comment go.  But, I just took a look at your commenting history.  You seem to be a World Class Troll or have some deep rooted issues to deal with.  75% of your comments have been on articles dealing with LGBTQ stuff, and articles that are usually months old.  I just want to point out that you might want to seek some professional help in dealing with these issues you seem to have.  There are ways out and, indeed, it does get better.  Just know that even with the hate in your heart we'll be there for you when you need us.  

Jason
Jason

Oh, Sweet Jane...  You've found us out.  

Ericmaas
Ericmaas

really, this is where we are going with this discussion? I see noting in the words of either group that indicates this is a money issue. 

RTGolden
RTGolden

What a completely absurd statement.  Count up the free money from the government and employers that a heterosexual married couple can rake in.  Be certain to include employer matches on 401K's and Health Insurance.I support the Mayor here, he has no dog in the fight, it's a federal issue.  Personally I could care less if the LGBT get the right to marry, let 'em suffer like the rest of us.  If such a small percentage of the worlds population gaining access to some religious sacrement (which marriage isn't, but it is painted as such) can threaten the very fabric of God's Kingdom, then he isn't God after all and we shouldn't worry so much.

RTGolden
RTGolden

According to the article, they claim to be speaking for the "... citizens of Dallas...". Not just the LGBT community of Dallas, the Citizens of Dallas.  Kind of like Occupy speaking 'for' 99% of the nation.

Omar Jimenez
Omar Jimenez

Just like thoses self-proclaimed Hispainc Leaders. Some of them don't speak or lead me.

demandequality
demandequality

So LGBT you do not think that Mayor Rawlings should sign the marriage pledge that over 100 American mayors have signed? You think that LGBT Dallas citizens should not join forces to demand their rights? You could start your own organization and lead your own group of LGBT people. I have a name for your group - you could call yourself flaming assholes. 

Edgar
Edgar

He declined to sign his name in his official capacity to a letter speaking to something over which he, as mayor, has zero control.  The other 100 mayors should not have been reaching beyond their local bailiwicks into the business of an entirely different branch of government at the federal (non-local) level...they were the ones who did so out of political motives.  Noise from all people (including, perhaps, mayors in their unofficial capacities) might help accomplish your goals, but the mayor's position is not, and should not be, a bully pulpit.

Getting mad over this is like getting mad at the Pope for not supporting your opposition to the decision of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to revoke your hunting license.

Smokey Problemson
Smokey Problemson

THANK you!! My shrinking lesbo stipend checks are barely keeping me in combat boots these days.

Guest
Guest

Honestly, what is he doing at a convention of mayors anyway? He should be here fixing the streets (by hand).

The man should be in his office signing official proclamations and other symbolic awards and whatnot (or standing next to reality TV stars while she collects toys for a private hospital) rather than taking six seconds to sign his name to someone else's symbolic proclamation.

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