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Dallas Gay Marriage Resolution Could Get New Life With New Council

BJ Austin

The Dallas City Council did not take up a gay marriage equality resolution at City Hall today – as originally planned. But that didn’t stop leaders of the LGBT community from speaking on the issue.

Cece Cox is CEO of the Dallas Resource Center, which provides services for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.  She made her disappointment clear to council members.

“Leadership requires action, not just words," Cox told the council during the public speaker portion of the city council meeting.  "To say that one supports the LGBT community and the 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.”

Councilwoman Delia Jasso scuttled the resolution last month when she removed her support, leaving it without the necessary five signatures to call a vote. Mayor Mike Rawlings declined to move it forward, saying marriage equality is not a city issue.

But, council members generally agreed they would take it up in committee and likely send a marriage and workplace equality resolution to the next council, which will be sworn in June 24.  

Council member Jerry Allen said he would be pleased to introduce it in the budget, finance and audit committee, which he chairs.

But Sheffie Kadane called for a citywide vote. He says many of his constituents may not support gay marriage.  Kadane says he doesn't based on his biblical beliefs.

Council member Angela Hunt says the issue is a question of civil rights. Hunt is leaving the council because of term limits, and says she regrets she won't be able to vote "yes" on the resolution.  

The two candidates vying to replace Hunt as the District 14 council member in Saturday's runoff election were seated with the LGBT speakers in the audience in a show of support.

Jasso is also leaving the council. She was defeated by fellow incumbent Scott Griggs after redistricting put the two in the same North Oak Cliff district.  Griggs is the council member who originally offered the marriage equality resolution.  He predicts it will pass once it makes it onto the council's voting agenda.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.