Craig Watkins backs marriage equality, proposes domestic partner registry

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Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins addresses Stonewall Democrats of Dallas on Tuesday as President Omar Narvaez, right, and Jay Narey look on.

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins came out in support of marriage equality Tuesday and proposed that the county establish a domestic partner registry similar to one administered by Travis County.

Watkins, a two-term incumbent who is facing a possible challenge in next year’s Democratic Primary from former Judge John Creuzot, addressed Stonewall Democrats of Dallas during the group’s monthly meeting at Ojeda’s Restaurant on Maple Avenue. Watkins delivered what appeared to be his standard stump speech to the group’s membership, and he didn’t mention LGBT issues. But he spoke to Dallas Voice in an exclusive interview after the meeting.

“This is America, and we shouldn’t discriminate against anyone for whatever reason, and so I think it’s a disservice for us as Americans to say that just because you are a certain lifestyle, that you can’t have the same rights as someone else,” Watkins told the Voice. “I think it goes towards, you know, when we were going through the civil rights movement, issues that we dealt with back then, which, basically, I can understand very clearly because of who I am. … “

“It goes back to quality of life issues, and as a DA, I’m responsible for improving the quality of the lives of all of the citizens I represent,” Watkins said. “I’m the lawyer for everybody in Dallas County, and so I can’t be against something that will make your life better. So I’m for whatever we need to do in Dallas County to make the quality of life better, and in my opinion to have that —marriage equality and the registry — it makes lives better for citizens of Dallas County.”

—  John Wright

Dallas gay man gets 4 years probation in Swiss Ave. case

State District Judge John Creuzot sentenced Mark McCay to four years of probation today after being convicted of theft in June.

McCay also received a $1,000 fine and will spend 30 days in county jail. He faced up to 20 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of swindling Dallas socialite Mary Ellen Bendtsen into signing her house over to him and his partner Justin Burgess before she died in 2005.

Burgess’ trial date hasn’t been set yet.

McCay said he planned to appeal but that with the sentencing, he will have to reevaluate.

Burgess told Instant Tea Thursday that he is recovering from cancer treatment and wouldn’t know what to do if McCay was sent to prison and hoped he’d received probation.

McCay said he was elated and went out to celebrate the sentencing with friends Friday afternoon.

—  Dallasvoice