Pride Month march was planned to prepare for Supreme Court rulings, but tone changes after Dallas council fails to take up Equality Resolution
In anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling in two marriage equality cases, three groups joined forces to stage a march from City Hall to the Razzle Dazzle Dallas Main Event at Main Street Garden on Saturday.
But after Councilwoman Delia Jasso withdrew her support of a resolution for employment nondiscrimination and marriage equality, and Mayor Mike Rawlings refused to place it on the June 12 City Council agenda, the rally has turned into a protest.
Rawlings said people can call or email his office, but he was not going to change his mind.
“If you don’t change your mind, we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing,” march organizer Cd Kirven said.
The march is sponsored by GetEQUAL TX, Love is Stronger and Hope for Peace and Justice.
Kirven said while the march retains its original theme, “Love is stronger,” the rally afterward at Razzle Dazzle will take on a different tone.
GetEQUAL organizer Daniel Cates said the removal of the resolution from the City Council agenda puts a stronger focus on City Hall than before. He said the issue brings up the question of what is an ally and what does that mean.
“It’s more than attending a few receptions and videotaping a Pride Month message,” he said. “We have to see action.”
He disputed Rawlings’ claim that he didn’t sign a pledge from Mayors for the Freedom to Marry last year because he preferred to do something substantive. That group of mayors filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in a case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act.
Cates said the LGBT community has a right to be upset.
“Mayors from across the country representing millions of Americans signed onto that brief,” he said. “But not Dallas.”
While Cates would still like to see the marriage and employment equality resolution passed by City Council this month, he called it too late to make a difference.
“We needed the help in January,” he said. “That might have helped get the [Texas] Fair Employment Act out of committee.”
He said, instead, activists were arrested trying to bring attention to the urgency of the legislation.
“In the absence of an openly gay city council member, we’ve got to hold their feet to the fire,” Cates said.
Hope for Peace and Justice executive director Lynn Walters said the march has the support of all of the clergy at Cathedral of Hope.
“At a time when kids are still being kicked out of their homes for being gay,” she said, “I think it’s important that people of faith who believe in marriage equality show up at the rally to show not all Christians are against equality.”
Walters is inviting the rally speakers, who will include the Rev. Carol West of Celebration Community Church, the Rev. Arthur Stewart of Midway Hills Christian Church and Rabbi Steve Fisch of Congregation Beth El Binah.
Love is Stronger, a photo campaign started by GetEQUAL TX, will participate in Razzle Dazzle Dallas to raise money for political action and help pay bail for those arrested in a protest at the Capitol earlier this year.
Cates said participants should wear a red shirt and will get a temporary tattoo of a red heart to display on the bicep. The photos are $15 for an individual or $10 each for group shots.
“We’re fighting hate,” Cates said.
He called love a weapon stronger than homophobia and hate.
“Love built the Oak Lawn community when we had nowhere else to go,” he said. “Love helped us get through the AIDS crisis.”
When purchasing Razzle Dazzle Dallas tickets online with the promotion code GETEQUAL, $1 of the price goes to GetEQUAL TX.
Marchers are asked to wear red and carry heart-shaped signs.
“I hope this becomes a story of how we fought City Hall and we won,” Kirven said.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 7, 2013.