“I have the power, of course, to perform marriage ceremonies,” Parker said. “I don’t.”
Dallas judge Tonya Parker says she won’t conduct any marriage ceremonies until she and every other gay person in Texas have the same right to marry. When she turns straight couples away, Parker tells them: “I’m sorry. I don’t perform marriage ceremonies because we are in a state that does not have marriage equality, and until it does, I am not going to partially apply the law to one group of people that doesn’t apply to another group of people.”
Parker passes the ceremonies on to other judges so that straight couples can get married.
“It’s kind of oxymoronic for me to perform ceremonies that can’t be performed for me, so I’m not going to do it,” says Parker.
Parker is the first LGBT person elected judge in Dallas County and is believed to be the first openly LGBT African-American elected official in the state’s history. As such, Parker said she takes into account the importance of her position to make members of the LGBT community feel comfortable and equal in her courtroom by “going out of my way to do things that other people might not do because they are not who I am.”