Gay rights was the big topic at Wednesday’s Dallas City Council meeting, even though it wasn’t on the agenda. LGBT activists came out to voice their anger with council members, after a gay rights resolution was kept off the agenda.
It’s basically politics that killed the resolution. Dozens of gay rights supporters, dressed in red, showed up to speak at the meeting anyway. They wanted to make sure council knew they’re not happy about how things went down.
“Leadership requires action, not just words. To say that one supports the LGBT community and right for employment equality and marriage rights, but then to take no action on these issues, is not leadership. It is passivity. It is nothing,” said Cece Cox, CEO of the Dallas Resource Center.
“You’ve proved this week that your welcoming ways are a smoke screen,” said activist Michael Lo Vuolo.
Councilman Scott Griggs proposed the resolution for marriage equality and LGBT employment protections. It would not have made gay marriage legal in Dallas, it would have been a symbolic gesture of support.
“Part of it was joining in on the right side of history and joining in with our voice on the council resolution on what should be done,” said Griggs, after the public comment period closed.
Knowing that it’s more symbolic, councilman Sheffield Kadane said “it’s not an issue for us to be voting on and passing to the legislature. I don’t know why, the folks that are for this, why haven’t you sent your letters down to Austin?”
“What this truly is, is a civil rights issue, and that is worthy of city time and support,” said Cox.
Three council members (Jerry Allen, Dwaine Caraway, and Carolyn Davis) said they didn’t feel the resolution was brought forward the way it should have been. They felt it needed more discussion.
“It was just given a letter and there it is. That is not fair, to put us in this situation and make us the bad guys. I am hurt, as if I’m the bad guy,” said Davis.
Caraway said he resented the way the gay rights supporters were condemning Dallas City Council’s inaction on the resolution.
“This is an issue that we need to discuss and then, this too, could possibly go to the next level, but don’t hold me hostage when we disagree, or whatever the case is. That is a sign that is not positive,” said Caraway.
“Just as they walk out, that does not make me feel good about being supportive of this issue,” said Caraway.
“They’re trying to make themselves turn into the victim. How we’re attacking them and making them the victims. Uh-uh. I’m not going ot have that, and I wasn’t going to get escorted out by the sheriff’s deputies. So, I walked out,” said Mark Jiminez.
Caraway and Allen promised to bring the issue to council committees, to further discussion.
“Resolutions, typically, do not go to committees. If someone would like a resolution to go to a committee, they can have that request. No requests were made,” said Griggs, defending how the resolution was handled.
“I think discussion is good, but, friends, this is a simple issue. You either support civil rights or your don’t,” said councilwoman Angela Hunt, the resolution’s most vocal supporter Wednesday.
Griggs, said he’ll wait to see what happens with the supreme court’s decision on the defense of marriage act, before he proposes the resolution again.