Mike Rawlings

The Dallas Morning News published this editorial today praising Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings for not signing a pledge in support of same-sex marriage last week:

“A city’s elected officials must take the lead on some controversial matters for the good of their communities,” the newspaper wrote. “But there are other hot-button issues that are not fundamental to a city’s operation, and a city is better served staying out of them. … Good streets. Economic development. Code enforcement. Those are the kinds of basics Dallas must muster. Marriage laws, as important as they are, don’t belong on that list. States set marriage laws, and, to a lesser extent, Washington has a voice in them. Cities do not.”

There are several major problems with the DMN’s editorial, but the biggest one is that their whole premise is fundamentally flawed: By not signing the pledge, Rawlings has hardly managed to side-step a hot-button issue. If that were the case, why would the daily newspaper feel compelled to write a big fancy editorial about it? On the contrary, by refusing to sign the pledge, Rawlings has accomplished just the opposite by thrusting himself right smack into the middle of a hornet’s nest.

If Rawlings had quietly signed the pledge, it’s highly doubtful we would still be talking about it a week later. He would merely have been doing the same thing as the mayors of every city in the U.S. that’s larger than Dallas. He also would have been taking the same position as a majority of Americans and undoubtedly a majority of Dallas voters, who have elected and re-elected a lesbian sheriff and almost elected a gay mayor. Perhaps most importantly, if Rawlings had signed the pledge, it would have been consistent with his own position on the issue.

That’s right, as the Morning News notes in today’s editorial but failed to report in a news story last week, Rawlings supports same-sex marriage. And guess what, no one seems to give a damn about the fact that he does. The only reason anyone cares is because he refuses to sign a pledge saying he’ll stand up for his stated beliefs and for the LGBT community.