Mayor says he has decided not to focus on issues that are “partisan and social in nature”
A group of demonstrators gathered outside Dallas City Hall on Friday night to protest the mayor’s refusal to sign a pledge supporting same-sex marriage.
Mayor Mike Rawlings’ office said he supports gay equality and would further discuss his reasons for not signing the pledge during a meeting Saturday with about two dozen leaders in the gay community.
About 50 people with signs chanted, “Sign the pledge.”
“I am not here asking for equality,” activist Meg Hargis said. “A mayor can’t make me equal, paper can’t make me equal, a signature can’t make me equal. I was born equal. All we are asking is for Mayor Rawlings to acknowledge our validity and our equality as human beings — not just citizens, but human beings.”
“I don’t know about you, but I’m not very happy with our mayor right now,” activist C.D. Kirven said.
One person showed up to protest Friday night’s protest. The exchanges were spirited but peaceful.
The Mayors for the Freedom to Marry statement has been signed by a bipartisan coalition of more than 100 U.S. mayors, according to Freedom to Marry’s website.
In Texas, the mayors of Houston, Galveston, Austin, San Antonio, Shavano Park and Castle Hills have signed the pledge.
On Jan. 19, Rawlings posted this message regarding the request on his Facebook page:
“Upon taking office, I made a conscious decision to focus on issues that create a healthy, viable city and not on those that are partisan and social in nature. I was asked to pledge my support to “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry” in an effort to pressure state and federal entities to legalize marriage for same-sex couples. I decided not to sign onto that letter because that is inconsistent with my view of the duties of the office of the mayor.
To be a world class city, we must be inclusive towards all citizens, including the LGBT community. Personally, I support the LGBT movement and its efforts for equal rights that they deserve.”
Supporters of the pledge have left hundreds of comments on the mayor’s page urging him to join the mayors from other cities who have already signed the pledge.
In a statement issued last week, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said she also would not sign the pledge.
“The issue of same-sex marriage is one for the state, not local government,” she said.
Price expressed support for the gay community during her campaign and served as grand marshal of the city’s Gay Pride Parade last year.