Tale of Two Dallases: Lesbian Judge Won’t Marry Couples; Senate Candidates’ Anti-Gay Remarks
A Dallas County judge is supporting LGBT rights in a unique way. Judge Tonya Parker says she won't marry straight couples until gays and lesbians can legally tie the knot, local news station 5NBCDFW reported.
Parker, an open lesbian, told Stonewall Democrats of Dallas during a meeting earlier this week that she refuses to perform legal marriages until everyone has the right to marry.
"I use it as my opportunity to give them a lesson about marriage inequality in this state because I feel like I have to tell them why I'm turning them away," Parker said. "So I usually will offer them something along the lines of, 'I'm sorry. I don't perform marriage ceremonies because we are in a state that does not have marriage equality, and until it does, I am not going to partially apply the law to one group of people that doesn't apply to another group of people.' And it's kind of oxymoronic for me to perform ceremonies that can't be performed for me, so I'm not going to do it."
"I do not, and would never, impede any person's right to get married. In fact, when people wander into my courtroom, usually while I am presiding over other matters, I direct them to the Judges in the courthouse who do perform marriage ceremonies," Parker said in a statement.
In 2010, Parker became the first openly gay woman to be elected as a county judge in Dallas.
Although Parker's actions aim to progress LGBT rights in the state, which does not recognize any kind of legal relationship for same-sex partners, two Texas Republicans running for senate made anti-gay comments and slammed the former Dallas mayor for participating in gay pride parades, Think Progress reported.
Craig James, a former NFL player and Ted Cruz both criticized former Dallas mayor, Tom Leppert (R), during a debate and claimed that he was trying to appear pro-gay.
"What I am saying is that when a mayor of a city chooses twice to march in a parade celebrating gay pride, that's a statement - and it's not a statement I agree with," the former NFL player said.
"I think right now in this country, our moral fiber is sliding down a slope that is going to be hard to stop if we don't stand up with leaders who don't go ride in gay parades," James said. "I can assure you I will never ride in a gay parade. And I hear what you're saying, Tom, but leaders - our kids out there people need to see examples."
The moderator asked James if he believes being gay is a choice.
"I think it's a choice, I do," he said.
"It's not in the genes," the moderator asked.
"I think that you have to make that choice. But in that case right there, they are going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions," James replied. "We should not give benefits to those civil unions."
Although Leppert claims he is against same-sex marriage, he said as mayor, "I had the responsibility to represent everybody, but everybody understood where my faith was. I will tell my role as a Christian is to reach out and touch everybody."
Watch the part of the debate below: