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LGBT Leaders Ask Council to Help Mayor Rawlings Sign That Same-Sex Marriage Pledge

The leadership of the Thomas Jefferson High School student council (sniff), guests of Ann Margolin at this morning's meeting of the Dallas City Council, got quite the treat this morning: a parade of public speakers once again thoughtfully, kindly but also forcefully berating Mayor Mike Rawlings for not signing that same-sex marriage pledge to which dozens of other big-city mayors attached their names.

Rawlings has offered myriad reasons for why he didn't sign the pledge; he's met with gay-rights activists, explaining why he didn't sign the pledge. And yet they remain unmoved.

Rawlings knew they were coming; Cece Cox, executive director and CEO of Resource Center Dallas, said she was "not here as a surprise." And so, once more, she asked Rawlings to sign the pledge and asked the council "to support him." Said Cox, who is raising a 13-year-old son with her partner, Barbara Houser, Chief Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Texas: "This is a matter of standing for justice pure and simple. ...This is about equality, civil rights and justice for the sixth-largest LGBT community in the U.S." Cox, who said Texas "is a mean state for an out lesbian," asked the council to "take the courageous position and ask your mayor to do the same."

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Patti Fink, president of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, and Equality Texas executive director Dennis Coleman went one step further, asking the council to "empower your lobbyists to advocate" for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and marriage equality statewide.

And Daniel Cates of Get Equal Texas, who helped lead the protest outside City Hall last month and was part of the meeting with the mayor, told Rawlings: "I believe you are a good man, I believe you when you say you stand for quality. But where civil rights are concerned, there is no such thing as a neutral position. When good men like you remain silent, the sexists, homophobes and racists of the world win. When you do not speak up, the George Wallaces of the world are validated. When you remain neutral, liberty and justice for all are threatened. ... You do not have to be controversial. All we're asking is for you to sign a pledge ... to take a simple and powerful stand today."

Only Delia Jasso said anything to the speakers -- no surprise, perhaps, as it was she who formed the city's LGBT task force in 2009. "You have an advocate here," she said. "Please continue to communicate with me, and we'll see how many more of my colleagues can come over to this side."

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