Last-minute tax filers encountered two opposing groups while driving toward the Main Dallas Post Office on Monday: about a dozen queer activists protesting anti-gay tax laws, and an equal number of Kingdom Baptist Church members protesting the queer protesters.
The gay group’s hand-painted posterboards read, “Equal Taxes, Equal Rights,” “Love Knows No Gender,” and “With Liberty and Justice For ALL.”
Kingdom Baptist’s professionally printed signs read, “REPENT ABORTION AND MURDER,” “TURN OR BURN” and “GAY IS NOT OK.” Over bullhorns the church members yelled ceaselessly about sin and sodomy while the gay folks occasionally shouted back about a loving God and the separation of church and state.
As it currently stands, federal law makes it illegal to lie on tax forms. But the Defense of Marriage Act requires legally married same-sex couples to file as two separate single individuals, which is, well, a lie. A recent campaign called “Refuse to Lie” urged wedded gays to file as married couples. Married gay couples pay higher taxes for filing separately and risk a potential IRS audit if they try to file as a married couple.
According to protest organizer Daniel Cates, “Today in America [marriage] brings with it 1,138 rights on a state and federal level. That’s what we’re after. We’re not asking [for people] to change what they believe religiously or to even to endorse our marriages in their churches. But we are asking for equality under the law.” The gay protesters want to reform the tax law through a DOMA repeal and full LGBT equality nationwide.
“It’s wicked what’s going over here,” said a male Kingdom Baptist congregant from Venus, Texas. “Basically [the gay protesters are] thinking they should get equal rights to have man lie with man and woman with woman. They think they they should get equal tax benefits because of their lifestyle. Their lifestyle shouldn’t enter into the equation at all, it’s a moral issue.” Kingdom Baptist pastor Joey Faust said the government has an interest to discourage homosexuality because social acceptance of the gays leads to in increase in immorality, godlessness and disease. Plus, it puts our society on a slippery slope to pedophilia, bestiality, and eventually cannibalism, he said. For Faust, it’s not about fighting for tax benefits, but avoiding the wrath of God.
Texas A&M grad student Natalie Saladino pointed to homosexual animals as proof that humans are naturally born gay. But Faust said humans shouldn’t justify their behaviors by comparing themselves to beasts. Gay ex-military preacher Timothy Beauchamp noted that more faiths like the Episcopal Church are welcoming gays into the fold. But Faust replied says in “the last days” some churches “will not endure sound doctrine” and “shall depart from the faith.” He then went on to elaborate about the “mark of the beast,” a one-world dictator, and natural disasters.
A Kingdom Baptist member said their church only wanted to help the gay protesters recognize and renounce their sins. But if their plan involves screaming at homos with a megaphone about burning in Hell, it’s probably not going to work. Protesting for LGBT equality in a red state where gay marriage seems as far off as the second coming can seem equally futile. But self-proclaimed “lover” America Tarin said she hoped her attendance would encourage other gays to become politically active and said that if her group encouraged even one driver to begin thinking about gay rights, then that would be enough.