The matter was discussed on Monday before the Budget, Finance and Audit Committee. Mayor Mike Rawlings has classified the ongoing discussion as a “misuse” of the council’s time, although he has stated that he is “an unequivocal supporter of marriage equality.” Rawlings has participated in several pride parades in recent years, with the exception of this year’s event.
According to reports, Assistant City Manager Therese O’Donnell and Assistant City Attorney John Rogers spoke of the impact of the recent Supreme Court ruling surrounding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). O’Donnell stated that she believes the city needs to have an “open dialogue” about the matter due to the “really rapidly changing environment.”
Councilman Philip Kingston said that he didn’t want the city of Dallas to be behind while other cities across the nation are moving in the direction of accepting and facilitating those that identify as homosexual. He told his colleagues that there are over 15,000 homosexual and transgender residents in his district alone, and worried that they would go elsewhere—such as Austin or San Antonio—if they felt unwelcome in Dallas.
“We will be shooting ourselves in the foot if we are not the most open and inclusive city we can be,” Kingston asserted, according to CBS 11 News. “My personal perspective is it’s morally the right thing to do.”
Councilman Sheffie Kadane said that the matter is indeed a moral issue, but reached the opposite conclusion of Kingston and opposed the resolution. He felt the issue should be left alone since the city has nothing to do with the state constitution.
“I still believe it’s a moral issue,” said Kadane. “It’s a biblical issue. It’s a religious issue. With my religion it’s an issue. … I don’t know where we’re going with this.”
“Are we looking for a way around state law?” he asked. “It is totally a moral issue, and I don’t know why we keep fooling with this unless unless you’re looking at some reason for some way to try to change state law.”
The city has been mulling the matter since this spring and is still unable to come to a conclusion as to whether to vote on the resolution or shelve the matter. A resolution is simply a statement that announces a joint position on a matter, as opposed to a law that holds legal weight.
As previously reported, four homosexuals filed suit last week in an attempt to overturn Texas’ same-sex “marriage” ban. The state’s current marriage amendment was passed in 2005 with 75 percent of Texans approving of the measure.
“In Texas, Plaintiffs cannot legally marry their partner before family, friends, and society–a right enjoyed by citizens who wish to marry a person of the opposite sex. And should they become married in a state that has established marriage equality, Texas explicitly voids their marriage,” the legal challenge outlines. “There is no rational basis, much less a compelling government purpose, for Texas to deny plaintiffs the same right to marry enjoyed by the majority of society.”
It asserts that the ban violates the U.S. Constitution, namely the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
But Jonathan Senz, the president of Texas Values, said that he believes the suit would not hold up in court.
“This is a frivolous lawsuit,” he wrote in a statement released on Tuesday. “The only way that homosexual advocates win this case is if federal judges abuse their power, legislate from the bench and violate nearly every principle of law and policy in our state and country.”