Jiminez cites blackmail among reasons he decided not to file his petition to run for county clerk


DIAMOND RING | Now that he’s not running for political office, Mark Jiminez plans to continue his work as an activist and help bring about marriage equality. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer

You haven’t seen the last of him. Although Mark Jiminez decided not to run for Dallas County Clerk, he said he won’t stop working for marriage equality.

“You don’t understand how thick a skin you have to have to be in politics,” Jiminez said. “I’m not a politician.”

But he is an activist.

After Jiminez and his partner were denied a marriage license in July 2012, they refused to leave the Dallas County Records Building at closing time and were arrested. They attempted to get a license two other times in 2012 and once in 2013.

That experience prompted Jiminez to consider a run for county clerk. Since then, however, he said he’s been threatened with blackmail. A member of the leather community, Jiminez said, said he would expose elements of Jimenez’ personal life, and he also worried how those details would affect his partner’s job as an IT specialist.

Jimenez said he collected more than 700 signatures, enough to get him on the ballot, and he had supporters.

“I had people ready to give me donations,” he said.

However, Jiminez wasn’t certain he would have enough support to see him through a difficult election. Out Distirict Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons opposed Jiminez’ run for office, which led to a lack of support from members of the LGBT community, Jiminez said.

“They (political candidates) might want to actually find out what a county clerk does before running for the office so as to save the LGBT community the embarassment,” Fitzsimmons commented on a recent Dallas Voice article. “That and when you are politely asked to leave an establishment and refuse, it’s called ‘trespassing’ and yeah, you get arrested.”

Jiminez said that because politics in Dallas is controlled by a small circle of people, he didn’t see a way to break into it.

“I’m going back to the way I’m comfortable doing things,” he said.

Jiminez is referring to the attempts to obtain a marriage license and the subsequent arrest that made national news. Jiminez said Dallas County Clerk John Warren could have handled the incident differently but didn’t because he doesn’t support marriage equality. Warren has since said at political meetings he’s evolved on the issue and does support marriage equality.

“I don’t believe one thing John Warren is saying,” Jiminez said.

As part of his continued involvement in marriage equality issues, Jiminez said he will attend the San Antonio hearing on Feb. 12. Two couples, one from Plano and the other from Austin, are challenging Texas’ marriage amendment.

“The Plano couple basically did what we did,” Jiminez said, “but when they were denied their license, instead of getting arrested, they sued the state.”

Jiminez said he’s been contacted by a national marriage equality organization and will coordinate any presence at the hearing with them. In addition, he’s been asked to speak at a rally in Fort Worth two days before the hearing.

“That’s the way I know how to do it,” Jiminez said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 20, 2013.