Queer Liberaction has to move Tax Day Protest off post office property, but organizer Wilkinson says he’s still pleased with event
Queer Liberaction’s Tax Day Protest at Dallas’ Main Protest got off to an inauspicious start as a U.S. postal inspector informed the group that they wouldn’t be allowed to gather on post office grounds.
But according to organizer Blake Wilkinson, their new location just east of the post office on the frontage road turned out to be an even better place.
"Later on, the traffic was backed up to where we were, and we could get up to the street easier to where the traffic was," Wilkinson said.
The main post office is situated just west of downtown Dallas on the I-30 frontage road at Sylvan Avenue. The post office stayed open late on Wednesday, April 15 to accommodate those procrastinators who had to get their federal income tax returns postmarked by midnight.
The postal service even had employees along the edge of the frontage road, leading up to the post office driveway, with baskets for motorists to drop their returns into so they didn’t even have to park and go in.
By 5 p.m., the cars were lined up along the frontage road, and the parking lot was overflowing.
And Wilkinson and five others were there with signs and leaflets designed to point out the inequities same-sex couples face at tax time. Marriage equality advocates have said that married heterosexual couples get more than 1,400 legal rights related to federal income taxes that same-sex couples, including those with legal marriages, are not entitled to.
The protestors had originally planned to gather just outside the post office to interact both with those people who were dropping off tax returns as they drove by and those who parked and entered the building.
But U.S. Postal Inspector Amanda McMurrey was there to tell them that federal law prohibited protests on post office property, even pulling from her pocket a copy of the regulations as proof.
"We don’t want to keep them from being visible, and they can move just down that way and have their protest. But we just can’t let them protest on post office property," McMurrey said.
Wilkinson said Thursday morning, April 16, that he was pleased with the outcome of the event.
"We eventually had about 15 people there to participate, and we stayed until about 8 o’clock," Wilkinson said. "Generally, we got every good responses. We got the occasional ‘faggot’ or ‘fuck you,’ but generally, it was very good.
"I was actually encouraged by the thumbs-up responses we got from a lot of the African-Americans driving by, considering all the talk about how it was the African-Americans who passed Prop 8 in California," he added. "The people who were shouting nasty stuff were the typical white rednecks."
Wilkinson said Queer Liberaction’s next event will probably be the rally planned for the Proposition 8 "Decision Day" — when the California Supreme Court issues its ruling in a lawsuit challenging the validity of that state’s anti-gay-marriage amendment.
"The court has until June 3 to issue the ruling, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes next week or the week after," Wilkinson said.
Queer Liberaction plans a gathering at 7 p.m. at the intersection of Oak Lawn Avenue and Cedar Springs Road on the day the court’s ruling is announced, regardless of whether that ruling upholds or overturns Prop 8.
The court normally files its opinions at 10 a.m. on Mondays and Thursdays, with notice of impending rulings announced the previous day.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 17, 2009.