Griggs says he has votes needed to pass measure backing same-sex marriage, employment protections, but mayor calls it ‘misuse’ of time
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is so frustrated that a resolution in support of marriage equality has been brought before the Dallas City Council that he doesn’t know how he’ll vote on the issue.
“I haven’t decided,” Rawlings told Dallas Voice on Thursday, May 2. “I’m so upset about this maneuver …”
The mayor said while he “unequivocally” supports marriage equality, he believes the resolution is a misuse of the council’s time because the city has no control over the issue.
“It’s not the council’s responsibility to opine on issues that are not in its jurisdiction, and ergo it’s a misuse of their time,” Rawlings told the Voice, doubling down on statements he made to the Dallas Morning News a day before.
“I’m a big believer in advocating marriage equality in the right way, but not from the debating standpoint and voting standpoint at City Council,” Rawlings said. “I am pro-marriage equality. I’m not for voting for it at the City Council.”
Despite his feelings about the resolution, Rawlings has no choice under city charter but to place it on the council agenda on or before June 12.
That’s because Councilman Scott Griggs, who authored the resolution, obtained the required five signatures from council members before filing it on Friday, April 26, triggering the deadline.
Griggs announced this week that he believes he has the eight votes needed for the resolution to pass — with or without the mayor’s support.
“I don’t believe it’s a misuse of council time at all,” Griggs said. “We have the required number of signatures, so we have other councilmembers who don’t believe it’s a waste of time, and we have eight votes, so that’s an indication that it’s not a waste of time.”
Griggs compared the resolution to proclamations and special recognitions that are issued regularly at the start of council meetings, taking up as much as an hour of the council’s time in a typical meeting.
In addition to marriage equality, Griggs’ resolution calls for a statewide ban on anti-LGBT employment discrimination. Griggs noted that Dallas has had an ordinance banning anti-LGBT discrimination in employment citywide since 2002. However, the city has never prosecuted a complaint under the ordinance — in part because there is no state or federal law to back it up.
“This is something the city has had in place for a decade, and if we can get some help from the state, it would be great,” Griggs said. “We can influence things that are going on at the state and national level just by taking a stand. If Dallas passes this, we’re really sending a strong message to Austin and D.C.”
Griggs said those who’ve committed to vote in favor of the resolution are Delia Jasso, Angela Hunt, Pauline Medrano, Monica Alonzo, Dwaine Caraway, Jerry Allen and Sandy Greyson.
He began working on the resolution in December, but said he didn’t want to bring it forward until he had eight votes. Until last Friday, only seven council members had indicated support for the resolution. Then Greyson came on board.
”I didn’t know I was going to be the deciding vote, and I do represent a conservative district, but given that it is a human rights issue and the right thing to do, I’m going to vote for it,’ Greyson told Dallas Voice.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 3, 2013.