AUSTIN — More than 300 LGBT advocates stormed the state capitol Sunday evening in preparation for today’s Equality Texas Lobby Day.
Participants at GetEQUAL TX’s pre-lobby day event, Texas March for LGBT Justice, walked hand-in-hand, holding signs and chanting, “What do we want? Equality! When do we want it? Now!”
Several onlookers joined the mob as marchers made their way from Austin City Hall to the state Capitol a few blocks away.
GetEQUAL Dallas activate Cd Kirven encouraged the crowd to remain active in the fight for civil rights as she shouted from the Capitol’s steps.
“Don’t let this be the only time that you participate. Don’t let this be the only time lawmakers hear your voice,” she said. “Nothing is free. Justice has a price.”
Austin activist Sami-di Williams told the crowd that when she and her partner Amy began looking for other same-sex parents, she discovered that her daughter was friends with a girl who also had lesbian moms.
She then realized that her daughter hadn’t thought to tell her that her friend also had gay parents because it didn’t matter to her and she hopes one day it won’t matter in Texas either.
But until that day, being a gay parent in Texas still matters, she said.
“When Amy can’t sign documents for school, it matters. When she can’t take the kids to a doctor appointment without me, it matters,” she said. “When I’m not protected from discrimination whenever I volunteer at my kid’s school, it definitely matters. …When our family is looked at with disdain in public places, it matters.”
Daniel Williams, Equality Texas field organizer, spoke about the many monuments on the grounds of the Capitol that remind lawmakers what makes Texas great and what makes the state not so great.
But he stressed that there is no reminder of LGBT Texans. Not of the more than 19,000 same-sex couples raising children in the state or the 989 hate crime victims who suffered last year.
“You must be that monument. You must be the reminder, the daily sentinel to those Texas lives,” he said.
More photos from the march below.