Just Hours After His Hearing for July Marriage Counter Sit-In, Major Jiminez Again Arrested for Demanding Equality
Minutes ago, Major Jiminez was arrested in Dallas, Texas, after being refused a marriage license with his partner, Beau Chandler. Major and Beau rose to national prominence a month ago when they first went to the marriage counter on July 5 and were refused a marriage license. Both men sat down in the line and refused to move, resulting in both being arrested. Today was their initial hearing in that case and, after the hearing, they returned to the marriage counter again.
Major and Beau, with the support of GetEQUAL Texas -- the Texas-based chapter of GetEQUAL, a national civil rights organization that uses direct action and civil disobedience to push for full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans -- went to court this morning for an initial hearing on charges stemming from their arrests on July 5. The men faced fines of up to $2,000 each and up to 180 days in jail. Their hearings this morning were pushed back to later dates, and the men returned to the marriage counter -- again requesting a license.
The men were again denied a marriage license, as the state of Texas maintains a state constitutional amendment barring same-sex couples from marrying. They were told to go to the lobby, outside of the service area, and that they would not be issued a license. While Beau elected to comply in order to ensure the he would keep his job, Major elected to sit down and refuse to move -- resulting in a second arrest. At this time, the charges against Major are not known.
"Yesterday, people came out in force to eat chicken and support hatred," said Major Jiminez. "Today, I am being thrown in jail because of who I love. How can our lawmakers and courts sit by and do nothing?"
Major's reference is to yesterday's anti-equality "Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day," started by Fox media pundit and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in support of a statement from Chick-Fil-A COO Dan Cathy that denigrated same-sex marriage.
Inspired by Major and Beau's action a month ago, activists in other communities across the country also went to marriage counters today to request marriage licenses. Actions took place in Tampa, FL; Albuquerque, NM; Columbus, OH; Akron, OH; and Bowling Green, OH. More marriage counter actions and protests are expected over the next few days in solidarity with Major and Beau.
"Today when I went to defy the constitution ban on my right to marry in Florida, I did so in solidarity with Major and Beau," said Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, Tampa resident and GetEQUAL national field director. "Hearing someone, to my face, deny my right to marry the man I love was a definitely a blow, but we are not going anywhere. We will keep fighting and keep organizing until we get equal."
All of the actions today were organized as part of GetEQUAL's newly-launched campaign, "Fight for the 14th," designed to draw attention to the immense discrimination that LGBT Americans face daily, despite the promise of equal protection under the law in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. You can see more about the "Fight for the 14th" campaign at www.getequal.org/pledge.