GetEQUAL TX Will Occupy County Records Building Once a Month For Marriage Equality

Categories: Events

MarriageEqualityProtest.JPG
Photo by Anna Merlan
Hendrix Scott, left, and Jennifer McCluskey celebrate Valentine's Day by not being able to pick up a marriage license from Dallas County.
The bride wore a strapless dress in shades of blue and white. The other bride wore a battered leather jacket, a shiny, pale pink tie and a snug gray beanie. Hendrix Scott and Jennifer McCluskey rode up to the second floor of the Dallas County Records Building on Main Street this morning to ask John Warren, the Dallas county clerk, for a marriage license. To their absolute non-surprise, they were denied.

"I've been with my wife for seven years," Scott, the would-be bride in the gray beanie, said, her arm around McCluskey. For two people who were just told they couldn't be legally married, they still looked pretty happy. "I was hoping for more people here today," Scott added. "I think people in Texas are scared to stand up for this."

The couple and about 15 others were part of a demonstration at the county clerk's office this morning in favor of legalizing gay marriage. It was organized by GetEQUAL TX and accompanied by a large contingent from OccupyNow, the Occupy Dallas splinter group.

"This is an issue of separate but equal," said 21-year-old Kooper Caraway of OccupyNow. The occupiers, several wearing bandanas over their faces, applauded enthusiastically as McCluskey and Scott kissed bashfully for a photo.

County clerk John Warren told us marriage protests on Valentine's Day are a yearly tradition, and one with a predictable conclusion; yesterday, Warren told the Dallas Voice he still wouldn't be issuing any same-sex marriage licenses, at least until the state law is changed. Although he also told the Voice that as a Baptist, he's religiously opposed to same-sex marriage, he'd have no problem issuing a license to a gay couple, if it were legal.

But according to GetEQUAL, it's the state law that's the problem. Back in 2005, in a move apparently designed to outlaw gay marriage good and proper, a constitutional amendment was added to the clause. It reads.

Article 1, Sec. 32. MARRIAGE.
(a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

GetEQUAL TX maintains that part B of the amendment accidentally bans marriage for everybody, gay or straight. Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a lawyer from Houston and a former Democratic candidate for attorney general, agreed; she was widely quoted in 2009, saying that "whoever vetted the language in B must have been asleep at the wheel." Attorney General Greg Abbott, who, if you recall, also doesn't want any gay people getting divorced in his state, thank you very much, has maintained that the law is constitutional and doesn't prevent straight marriage.

"The law does not say that two men or two women cannot be married," GetEQUAL TX member Daniel Cates told Warren pleasantly. "And we'll be back again and again monthly until we get a 'yes' out of you." Warren replied that until the law changed, his answer would always be the same.

"He's a nice guy," Cates told us a moment later. "I bear him no ill will."

"We offer the services my office is required to by law," Warren told us. "But I understand their desire to keep their issue elevated and focused. Otherwise, you just disappear in a vapor." He said the protesters are always very polite. "Nobody's ever been crazy or had a riot."

"This may not happen in your lifetime," Warren told a group of demonstrators. "It may not happen in my lifetime. It may not even happen in your kids' lifetime." But, he added, public opinion was sure to change eventually.

"If you wait for popular opinion to sway in the direction of rights for minorities, you'll wait forever," one guy replied. He held a sign that read "I Don't Want Or Need Your Tolerance. I Want = Rights!" He tucked the sign under his arm and prepared to leave. "We just want the law to change."


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23 comments
New York City Hotel
New York City Hotel

Seeing that legal action is modifying, I have a sensation this law is going to be eliminated before later, as this is the city privileges concern of our era. Believe in me on this...It will be a significant problem in the next gubernatorial pattern and maybe even during the next display time..

Albert
Albert

Will there be MIC Checks?

Mike
Mike

The vote was 76/24 %, a broad based decision we likely not see on a controversial issue. Whites, blacks, Hispanics, rich, middle class, and poor voted the same way. Reversing it has a few more challenges than the Republican establishment. Reversal requires another vote.

Omar Jimenez
Omar Jimenez

As might as well GetEQUAL and LULAC get married together anyways.

dirtyrapscallion
dirtyrapscallion

I heard the rivers in Vermont were running with blood and that all the firstborn sons were dying in the night by some strange fog....and the locust. Oh dear lord! The locust! It's total chaos up there. You've all been FOREWARNED 

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

That should be me and Wilonsky in that photo.

RTGolden
RTGolden

There are two big problems with this issue: 1) Fundamentals aren't ready to accept it, and conservatives aren't ready to buck the fundamentalist trend.  2) The progressives, like DaTruth see it as one step in a series of steps to get rid of the GOP.

On the first issue, conservatives (I AM a conservative, although I'm not a Republican) will have to someday come to the realization that they can't have it both ways.  They cant expect a religion free from government influence and meddling AND expect to religiously meddle with government.  They have to learn that their relationship with their god, whichever one it may be, is a personal issue, applicable in their case, to themselves only.  My beliefs, values and morals are necessarily different than anyone else's because these are highly subjective personal convictions.  I cannot, with a fair mind, hold out one, a dozen, or the entire catalogue of my convictions and say that all men must adhere to them.  Christian fundamentalists, of all people, should understand this.  The basic foundation of Christianity is that it must be freely chosen to be viable.  You can't dictate to a person the principles of salvation and expect them to be 'saved'.  That person has to, of their own free will, accept the salvation of Christ.

My only issue with the principle of 'getting rid of the GOP establishment' is that it comes dangerously close to the kind of intolerant thinking that has lead, in the past and present, to such things as the Inquisition (religious intolerance), slavery (racial intolerance), the Holocaust (political, racial and religious intolerance), and, most personal to me (as I had an ancestor who walked it) the Trail of Tears (racial intolerance abetted by racial and religious elitism).  Anytime one group of people sets out on a goal of 'getting rid' of another group of people, no matter their justification for it, it is but a short step from advocating genocide.  A true progressive (as rare as a true conservative) would seek to enlighten those in opposition, not eradicate them.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

That's pretty interesting... The way the law is worded, it would indeed seem to ban ALL marriage.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Seeing that public opinion is changing, I have a feeling this law is going to be removed sooner than later, as this is the civil rights issue of our era. Trust me on this...It will be a major issue in the next gubernatorial cycle and maybe even during the next ledge session..

DaTruth
DaTruth

We pointed out section B of the amendment in 2005 before the vote to ban marriage equality, long before Barbara Ann Radnofsky brought it up or GetEqual even existed. Voters simply did not care about the wording. The fact is the right wing nut jobs simply had a better GOTV plan than did equality proponents. There is a need for events that orgs such as GetEqual holds, but I wish they would spend as much time working on campaigns for progressives so we can get rid of the GOP establishment.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Same sex marriages should be a foregone conclusion.  It is going to happen, eventually.  The only question is, How much wailing and gnashing of teeth and how many millions of wasted hours and dollars is this country going to pour down the drain trying to stop it?

Hell, let 'em get married.  If you really want to 'defend' marriage, get the state out of it altogether.

Albert
Albert

I'm from Vermont.

It's no longer really Vermont, it's a Tax monster and quaint tohy for upscale progressives.

Everyone else is having to move.

Daniel
Daniel

You guys are welcome to join us next month!

jfpo
jfpo

Progressives aren't trying to get rid of the GOP, we're to keep them and Christian fundamentalists from imposing their will on people's private lives. Your fear of intolerance and tyranny from "progressives" leads me to believe you've watched way too much Glenn Beck.

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

I really hope a divorce lawyer noted that.  That will be some brilliant litigation.

Albert
Albert

"... civil rights issue of our era."

How ironic.

The great majority of blacks oppose gay marriage.

catbird
catbird

GOTV only works when voters are motivated by the issue on the ballot and I'll guarantee you that the GLBT community in 2005 was PASSONATELY against the issue.

The next time there will be a chance for gay marriage in Texas will be some time after our current generation of voters passes away.

One less thing to worry about this election year! :-)

RTGolden
RTGolden

Perhaps you should read what I wrote, instead of skimming it.  Your half-assed retort didn't address any points I made, in fact, you didn't even recognize any of the points I made.The 'getting rid of the GOP' you're trying to claim progressives aren't trying to do, was stated clearly in the post I was commenting on.  I hold no fear for either the progressives or the staunchly conservative, both extremes are too far out of touch with the greater population to gain much traction.  Believe it or not, intolerance and tyranny are not the monopoly of the right, the left has been known to practice both as well.  It is prudent to be watchful of it from either side.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

But it is perfectly fine for Progressives to practice Social Engineering, right?

RTGolden
RTGolden

I hold the position that both sides are bad because both of them are.  Neither side offers up any sort of positive policy or consideration of the other, and both of them heartily ignore the vast majority of the population, which holds views closer to the center than either right or left.  I'm a moderate, sorry if you're sick of that position.

jfpo
jfpo

Just to be sure, I re-read your entire post, Tolstoy. You still sound like a loon on the progressives issue to me, even though you try and temper it with the "both sides are bad" tactic. Frankly, I'm sick of that position. Have you paid attention to the Republican primaries (not to mention what's going on in Texas)? You have the far right, the extreme right and the bat-shit crazy right which have frightengly become the Republican mainstream.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Read "Confidence Men" and note the sections where Rahm the Great and Powerful (and others) comment that financial policy is a strong opportunity for Social Engineering.

jfpo
jfpo

What are you talking about? I don't speak "Fox."

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