Dallas Leather Couple Fights for Marriage Equality

Beau and Major Jiminez of Dallas. (Photo by John Edward Fink)

Beau and Major Jiminez of Dallas. (Photo by John Edward Fink)

DALLAS – While a lot of attention in the fight for marriage equality has been in the four states where marriage activists won in November, the fight goes on in other states.

On July 5, Dallas, Texas residents Major and Beau Jiminez staged a sit-in at the Dallas County Clerk’s Office after being denied a marriage license. They were arrested for criminal trespass, a class-B misdemeanor under Texas law. They staged another with Major remaining and getting arrested on August 2. The two cases were split and Beau’s charges were dismissed in November and as part of the dismissal he needs to perform 40 hours of community service. Major is still facing a possible trial.

The two still held a marriage ceremony in August. The two are also prominent members of the Dallas leather community and Major works at the Dallas Eagle as a bartender.

Beau took the time to respond to some questions from the Chicago Den.

Why did you choose to do the sit-in when you did?
The day after July 4th, Independence Day, seemed like the perfect day to express our desire to pursue to our life, liberty, and happiness together. So we did what any loving couple who are willing to make a permanent commitment to one another would do. We thought the date was nicely symbolic of our reasons.

Video courtesy of the Dallas Voice

What has the reaction of the general Dallas community been?
Most people have been very supportive, whether straight or gay. There have been a few who have said, “The records building (marriage license counter) isn’t the right place to protest.” Well, we live in Dallas, that’s the counter that issues the licenses, so it seems perfectly appropriate to us in that it raises awareness of the inequality issue when people do what we’ve done. Of course, I don’t give those people much credit, since they seem to have all the ideas, but aren’t actually doing anything.

What support have you gotten from the Dallas gay community?
The Dallas Voice, David Taffett and Anna Waugh, particularly, have covered the story from the very beginning. GetEqual TX and the local DFW Sisters have also been vocally and monetarily supportive. Our wedding reception was well attended and the performers that volunteered for the event raised some money for a couple of our favorite local charities (we did this in lieu of gifts, since we have almost everything we really need). Many times that we’ve gone out (and often while Major is at work) people that we don’t even know will thank us for what we’re doing. It feels good to get that kind of support, and it makes us feel like we didn’t go to jail and go through all this for nothing.

Supports of the couple after the November 27 hearing where Beau's charges were dismissed.

Supporters of the couple at the Frank Crowley Criminal Courts Building in Dallas after the November 27 hearing when Beau’s charges were dismissed.

Can you talk about your other activities in the local gay and leather communities?
Well, for my community service, on Dec. 27, I am having a public flogging at The Dallas Eagle, where you can flog me twice for a $1.00 donation. The ticket you purchase with a dollar will also be entered into a raffle for a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 16gb WiFi tablet computer, with Bluetooth keyboard and carrying case. One hundred percent of all proceeds will go to YouthFirst Texas– one of our favorite local charities- and on announcing this event, we received an immediate $1,000 donation that is already in the hands of the charity. We’re hoping to raise some more money on the 27th. There is a Facebook announcement on that, open to the public.

Any idea why they split you into two separate cases?
That’s typical of any legal case. Though we committed the crimes together, and they are the same crime, in Texas, each person must answer for their individual crime.

What could happen if Major’s case isn’t dismissed?
First, we will go to a full jury trial. It’s our right and if they want to blow this out of proportion, we can certainly help them out with that. We’re pretty good at being vocal, and obnoxiously so if we’re pushed (laughs). If he loses the jury trial, then at that point, he could be sentenced to 6 months for each charge, and a $2,000 fine per charge. This could also be compounded and increased because the two incidents occurred so closely together.

 Are you worried about what could happen if the charges against Major aren’t dismissed? What are your plans then?
If his charges aren’t dismissed, we go to full jury trial. We’re only accepting a dismissal. If they take it to a jury trial, then I believe they will have a hard time finding 12 people who all agree that what we did was deserving of punishment.

Is there anything you want to say to supporters across the country?
Thanks for standing by us and doing what you can on your side. We are getting closer every day to reaching equality, but we can’t rest yet. Flood your politicians and leadership with calls and mail. Remind them that we vote, live your life outside the closet and be visible. The more people realize that we’re just people who want to be happy, the more they’ll realize how equal all humans are at heart. Don’t be “tolerated,” be Equal.

pup ruff
Chicago Den