Roy Williams, 74, one of two men who sued the city of Dallas over the make-up of its city council, has died.
Williams’ lawsuit brought an end to citywide and at-large districts and resulted in the 14-1 plan requiring 14 single-member city council districts and one mayor elected citywide.
The lawsuit allowed black and Hispanic candidates to be elected to the council regularly, but it also had the unintended consequence of allowing gay candidates to be elected.
In the creation of the single-member districts, Oak Lawn was divided in half, with the district line running down the middle of Cedar Springs Road. City officials’ intention was to disenfranchise the LGBT community. Instead, Chris Luna ran in District 2 and Craig McDaniel ran in District 14 — and both won. Other LGBT candidates followed and some candidates, like District 14’s Angela Hunt and Veletta Lill, wouldn’t have won without the support of the LGBT community.
Williams ran for city council several times, but was never elected. However, minority representation on the council went from 25 percent before 14-1 to about 40 percent today. Williams died on March 18 at the Dallas VA Hospital. Funeral services are pending.