Alice, did you encounter anything this strange in Wonderland? Half of Americans support same-sex marriage, but in Texas filing a marriage license can get a gay couple arrested.
In Maine 55 percent of those recently polled support same-sex marriage, while only 36 percent oppose it. Many U.K. Conservatives and U.S. Republicans have adopted supportive (or at least non-antagonistic) positions on the issue. The list on the “yes” side grows, while the “no” side loses steam. Unfortunately, not every state opposing same-sex marriage has figured out it is bucking a cultural shift.
In Dallas Mark “Major” Jiminez and Beau Chandler declared their independence from archaic laws on July 5th. Knowing they would be refused, they went to the County Clerk’s office, applied to change Chandler’s last name to Jiminez, and then applied for a marriage license.
They see their act as taking a stand in the way Rosa Parks did. Jiminez writes on their Facebook site:
My boy, Beau, and I are tired of giving in too. We are tired of being treated like second-class citizens and we are demanding change!
They were refused a marriage license, as they knew they would be. Then they donned handcuffs and sat in the spot that would have been next in line for a marriage license. The line moved around them.
The two men stayed put until they were taken away in a police car at the end of the day. Because they refused to leave until they were granted a license, they have been charged with criminal trespass and will appear in two separate courts August 2nd.
Friends photographed and videotaped everything. The officials they encountered held to the legal line but treated them respectfully. The two men were soft spoken and polite. In the video below you can see them putting on the handcuffs, sitting on the floor, and speaking gratefully to gathered friends.
Next: Gratitude and Next Steps
They have received dozens of supportive messages on their Facebook site. In gratitude, Jiminez wrote:
The support from around the world has been amazing. Everyone who cares about Marriage Equality should be Outraged! And we are asking that everyone post and share this open invitation to Free Major and Beau with all of their friends. We are aware that everyone does not live in the State of Texas. However, we do know that by people voicing their support by saying that they will be attending in person or in thought and spirit it will send a message. So please consider sharing this with your Facebook friends, ask them to share, and post it everywhere on the internet that you can think of.
This is not just about the two of us…. it is about ALL of us who are tired, like Rosa Parks was, and are finally saying NO! We will no longer just walk away from your unjust and unequal treatment of us just because we are Gay.
Jiminez and Chandler are just two people in love who want to commit to each other in the same way heterosexual couples do. Signing the petition below is one way to stand in solidarity with them. So is sending messages on Facebook, showing up in court, and contacting lawmakers for jurisdictions ranging from the municipal to the federal.
The American people have moved forward in their understanding of the social justice issues at stake. Now it is time for policy makers to do the same.
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Photo credits: Thinkstock