Friday, February 13, 2009
Gay rights activists and supporters hold demonstration in Dallas while couple tries to get marriage license
Going to the chapel and we're, legally-not-gonna get maaaaaarried.
Approximately 20 GLBT activists and supporters gathered Thursday at the Dallas County Records Building in a demonstration to celebrate National Freedom to Marry Day and to demand that the government recognize gay marriage. The demonstration included a wedding ceremony between Kim Davis and Rose Preizler, followed by a procession to the marriage license desk.
Besides the “Marriage Equality Now!” signs peppered throughout the attendees, it was pretty much your regular wedding. A pastor officiated the service, vows were read, wedding bubbles were blown and there was even a champagne toast and bouquet toss. When it comes to weddings, the marriage license often tends to pop up as an issue, a point of stress on “the big day” that is usually looked back on in jest. Did we remember to get the priest to sign it? Did the Best Man (or God-forbid the groom) leave it lying somewhere forcing a mad rush back to said hotel-limo-bar to retrieve it? Oh, this trivial but important situation will be so funny in about a week. At this particular wedding, however, the issue was the simple act of obtaining the marriage license.
“I think it's important that everybody has the right and ability to protect their family legally,” said Davis (the bride), after referencing the recent case in Florida where a woman was refused visitation to her dying partner at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.
“I should legally be able to take care of us,” Preizler (the other bride) said.
After the ceremony, the crowd proceeded into the Records Building to the room labeled “Marriage License.” Davis and Preizler went to the desk to ask for a marriage license. After the clerk checked their ID's, they were denied on the grounds that under Texas State Law, marriage is defined as between a man and a woman.
Dallas County Clerk John F. Warren then came down to address the group of demonstrators and was promptly grilled by Blake Wilkinson, founder of Queer LiberAction. Wilkinson tried to get Warren to sign a marriage license for the couple illegally, citing San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's decision to illegally issue same-sex marriage licenses and referencing the pre-1967 days when it was illegal for interracial couples to wed. Wilkinson even accused Warren of upholding bigoted laws.
Warren reiterated that his job is to uphold the law, not write the laws. "The only thing I can do is my job that the state dictates to me,” he said. “We only fill our role as clerks, we leave our personal feelings at home.”
“Warren is a spineless coward in my book, upholding bigoted laws,” Wilkinson said after the group exited the building. “We were denied by a spineless coward.”
After the whole ordeal, Davis and Preizler weren't surprised about the outcome. “It went about how I expected,” Davis said, although she was happy the clerk went through the motions of checking their ID's.
“It was disappointing,” Preizler said, “but reality is that's the law.”
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