Cathedral of Hope marked the one-year anniversary of marriage equality with a program that included music, speakers, cake and lots of champagne on Sunday, June 25. The Turtle Creek Chorale performed at the beginning and end of the event.
The Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas said more than 300 marriages have been performed at the church since the Obergefell decision brought marriage equality to Texas a year ago.
“And they’re still together,” he said. “We didn’t tear apart the sanctity of marriage.”
He said it never get tiring saying the words, “By the power invested in me by the United Church of Christ, the state of Texas and the U.S. Constitution” when performing a wedding.
He noted LGBT opponents have tried to create wedge issues between segments of the community.
“We will not let that happen because we are stronger together,” Cazares-Thomas said.
On the issue of gun control, which Human Rights Campaign has taken on, he said, “Gays know how to get shit done.”
Judge Tonya Parker spoke about marriage equality day at the Allen Courts Building. She had been trying to conduct a normal day of business in her court, but Judge Eric Moye interrupted that as he walked into her courtroom while she was speaking to opposing attorneys at the bench. Moye just approached the Parker, walked around the bench and up to her and gave her a hug. He told her he wanted to be the first to celebrate with her.
All of the other judges in the building circulated an email and decided she would be the first to perform a wedding. When a couple arrived for her to marry, all of the other judges, dressed in their robes, sat in the jury box in solidarity to watch her officiate.
The message, Parker said, was that same-sex couples are welcome in Dallas County and that they don’t have to seek out the one judge who will perform their wedding. They’re welcome in any court. All will do weddings, name changes and adoptions, just as they would do for any couple.
Parker said she talks to couples before the ceremony and was asking them what term they prefer. She said she heard repeatedly couples were saying, “Partner is fine.” That frustrated her and when she hears that now, she tells them, “You know, today you can get an upgrade.”
County Judge Clay Jenkins told the crowd that he watched the marriage equality decision read on TV with his daughter Madeleine. Her reaction was, “Every child’s parents should be able to get married.”
“Kids get it,” Jenkins said.
He called the marriage-equality decision a victory for all children whose families would now be treated equally.
Texas marriage equality plaintiffs Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes called marriage equality day a year ago and their wedding day in November two of the happiest days of their lives. When the decision was announced, Phariss said, the couple was at Love Field waiting for a flight to Austin to speak at the Capitol.
When the decision was announced, Phariss said he began crying. As he blubbered, he was rushed through the security line. He was escorted onto the plane as he continued crying and was given what he described as extra special service as he continued crying uncontrollably during the flight. He said everyone must have thought he was going to a funeral, rather than a celebration.
Cece Cox called marriage equality decision day “my favorite day.”
She said the work isn’t done yet and called on the Dallas City Council to ban reparative therapy in the city of Dallas.
She called out Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for his “hate and lies.” On the morning of the Orlando massacre, Patrick tweeted out that people “reap what they sow.” Although he removed the tweet because of severe criticism, he never apologized for blaming the victims. Instead he blamed an aide for posting it.
Jennifer Campisi is the mother of a 9-year-old trans boy. She said when she was pregnant, she read all the parenting books. None of them, she noted, had even a paragraph on raising a trans child.
Equality Texas prepared a video that included marriage equality as well as the Oak Lawn attacks. Board President Steve Rudner said Texas Competes now has 1,000 businesses on board including 34 Fortune 500 companies with operations in Texas.
Chris Chism, the Cathedral’s choir and others performed as well. Cake and lots of champagne followed the program.