Rawlings, 12 other council members to ride in parade

Dwaine Caraway’s office says he’ll be at gay Pride despite Cowboys game, leaving Vonciel Jones Hill and Sandy Greyson as only 2 who won’t

POLITICS AND PRIDE | Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and other council members throw beads from the city float during the 2011 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer

Mayor Mike Rawlings, City Manager Mary Suhm, Dallas Police Chief David Brown, and 12 Dallas City Council members are scheduled to appear in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, according to Michael Doughman, executive director of the Dallas Tavern Guild.

“I am excited to participate in this symbolic event where LGBT pride is honored and celebrated,” Rawlings said in an email statement this week. “But I am also proud to work side by side on the issues that are important to the community.”

Two city council members, Vonciel Jones Hill and Sandy Greyson, are not scheduled to appear in the parade.

A message left in Hill’s council office went unreturned. In 2009, Hill told Dallas Voice, “I won’t be participating [in the parade], and based on my present beliefs, I won’t be participating in the future. There’s no reason I should be castigated for that.”

Asked what those beliefs are, Hill said: “I believe that all people are loved by God, all people are created equal under God, but there are acts that God does not bless. It does not mean the person is any less God’s child. I’m entitled to stand for what I believe, and I don’t appreciate anyone castigating me for standing for what I believe.”Greyson, who was elected to the City

Council in 2011 after a previous stint on the council that ended in 2006, didn’t ride in the parade last year due to a scheduling conflict.

Greyson’s assistant said she believes there’s another scheduling conflict this year.

Greyson signed a letter from city officials that appears in this year’s guide to Dallas Pride, distributed inside this week’s issue of Dallas Voice. Hill refused to sign the letter.

Councilman Dwaine Caraway has missed the parade in the past when a Cowboys game conflicted, but this year he plans to attend.

“The parade’s the only reason he’d ever miss a game,” Caraway’s assistant, Sloan Anderson, told Dallas Voice this week.

The parade starts at 2 p.m. The Cowboys play at 3:05 p.m.

The mayor will appear for the second time. He is the first mayor to ride on the float two years in a row since since Laura Miller. Rawlings is only the third Dallas mayor, after Miller and Tom Leppert, to participate in the parade.

Leppert, who served as mayor from 2007-11, appeared in the parade in 2007 and 2009.

City officials have participated in the Pride parade since the early 1990s when openly gay council members Chris Luna and Craig McDaniel represented Oak Lawn.

Earlier, Sgt. Earl Newsome, a police officer assigned to Oak Lawn who became an unofficial liaison to the LGBT community, marched in the parade and in 1987 was named grand marshal. He was the first city official to participate in the Pride parade.

Dallas Tavern Guild Executive Director Michael Doughman said gay former Councilman Ed Oakley’s goal when he was elected was for the mayor and entire City Council to appear in the parade.

When Oakley joined the council in 2001, he began talking council members into riding in the parade. By his second year on the council, he had most members on board. Each council member rode in his or her own car.

“It became such a long string of cars as he added members, we put them on a float,” Doughman said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 31, 2012.

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