Last week, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals received a letter signed by more than 50 Texas law enforcement officials who support same-sex marriage, according to the Texas Tribune. Among them was Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, the county's first Hispanic, first female and first lesbian sheriff.
When we heard the news, we had one question for the sheriff: Are there wedding bells in her future?
Valdez told us that she's in a fresh relationship right now and that the m-word has come up, but nothing's imminent. Ask her in a few years, she said, and maybe ...
Her real motive for signing the letter was basic fairness. An activist group approached Valdez and asked her to attach her name (not the sheriff's department) to the letter that states Texas doesn't give gay and lesbian first-responders "the equal dignity and respect they deserve." In the months to come, the 5th Circuit will hear arguments on the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Valdez said the time has come for gay and lesbian law officers, paramedics and firefighters to be treated fairly under the law.
If she were killed on duty, Valdez said, her partner wouldn't be able to receive any city or state benefits she's accumulated from her years in law enforcement. If she were straight, this wouldn't be the case.
"We're law enforcement," she said, "and we need to be fair to everybody. Why should the LGBT community be left out?"
Dallas County has the seventh-largest sheriff's department in the nation, Valdez said, and she's pretty sure that's why she was approached to sign the letter.
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