Protesters attend lesbian couple’s wedding, go with them to request license in Freedom to Marry Day rally
They marched in singing "Chapel of Love," and they walked out chanting, "Equal marriage is our right! We have just begun to fight!"
After an elaborate wedding ceremony in Founders Plaza, about 20 protesters accompanied lesbian couple Kim Davis and Rose Preizler into the Dallas County Clerk’s Office on Thursday, Feb. 12, to request a marriage license.
The demonstration on National Freedom to Marry Day, an unofficial holiday to promote same-sex marriage, was organized by Queer Liberaction and Join The Impact-Dallas.
When the couple was denied a marriage license, the protesters asked to speak with Clerk John Warren, who explained that he couldn’t grant the license under Texas law, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
Following a lengthy, sometimes confrontational exchange with Warren, the protesters left the building peacefully, opting not to stage a sit-in that would have led to their arrests.
"Today I think we have seen the reality of discrimination — it’s been palpable," Queer Liberaction founder Blake Wilkinson told the protesters after they reassembled outside. "We made a statement."
The hourlong demonstration began with Officer Laura Martin, LGBT community liaison for the Dallas Police Department, laying out the ground rules.
"When you are asked to leave, you’ll need to leave, unless you’d like to be arrested," Martin told the protesters.
Wilkinson and two local pastors then addressed the crowd through a bullhorn, before Davis and Preizler arrived in the backseat of a black Jaguar, wearing a wedding dress and suit, respectively.
The couple exchanged vows, rings and finally a kiss in the ceremony officiated by the Rev. Daniel Kanter, senior minister at First Unitarian Church of Dallas.
After the ceremony, Davis, 33, and Preizler, 38, said they’ve been together for two years and were married last summer in Canada.
"We want to have the same rights here as we would have in a neighboring country," Preizler said.
She added that although the couple has obtained all the legal contracts available to them under Texas law, they could still be prevented from visiting each other in a hospital.
"I would be crushed if we went somewhere and she had a heart attack and I couldn’t hold her hand," Preizler said. "I can’t bear that thought."
Elizabeth Pax of Join The Impact later presented the couple with a "Second-Class Citizen Marriage License" from the "State of Oppression."
The certificate stated that the couple is authorized to "play house and pretend they have equal rights," but advised them to throw it away after filling it out because "it’s not worth the paper it is printed on."
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 13, 2009.