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South Texas Mayor Raul Reyes Joins Julian Castro And Annise Parker In Support Of Marriage Equality

by: Omar Araiza

Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM CST

Raul Reyes, Mayor of El Cenizo
Yet another mayor of Texas has come out in support of marriage equality, joining the group, Mayors for the Freedom to Marry.

Mayor of El Cenizo, Raul Reyes, came out in support of marriage equality this month, becoming just the seventh mayor in Texas to do so. Other leaders in the group are Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio and Mayor Annise Parker of Houston, who are among the co-chairs of the group.

"You don't have to be gay to sympathize with reality, and reality is that any Texan or any American in general should be allowed to choose who they want to spent their life with," Reyes said to Lone Star Q in an interview.

"And government, whether it be state or federal, should not dictate who they can be with. I think Texas sends a very wrong message to the rest of the country, when one of the most important states in the nation hasn't caught up to other states."

Read more below the jump, including the personal connection Reyes has to the LGBT community.

Reyes, who became mayor at age 21 and is now on his sixth term, has high hopes that other folks from South Texas and across the state will begin to be more vocal about their support for LGBT rights:

"You've got to realize that at the end of the day, our constituents are the ones who pay their sales tax, pay their property taxes and pay for their city services, and that's how we're able to operate our city government," said Reyes.

"The state Legislature should view Texans as just that - Texans. They shouldn't view them as whether they're gay, lesbian or transgender. They shouldn't have an opinion as to who they marry. At the end of the day, we're all taxpayers, we're all voters and we live in a country that is a democracy, and we should be allowed to marry who we want. I figured this would be a great time to start a local movement here in South Texas to gain public awareness and participation, so Texas won't be left out. There are already a lot of states that have allowed same-sex marriages, and it's just ridiculous with Texas being a big state and such an important state, that we're so far behind and closed-minded in that aspect."

Like many of us, Reyes has personal ties to the LGBT community. One of Reyes' uncles is gay, and had to recently travel all the way to New York in order to marry his partner. But until things change in Texas, our state won't even legally recognize their marriage.

Reyes feels as though supporting equal rights for everyone isn't exactly rocket science.

"To those who might criticize my endorsement, and my point of view, it really doesn't take a rocket scientist to know what's right, and I think as elected officials and as public servants, we're here to do what's right of the best interests of our community, and the nation as a whole," said Reyes. "As elected officials we take an oath of office to preserve and protect the constitutions of the state of Texas and the United States of America. I was able to defend why we conduct our City Council meetings in Spanish. I think I'll be in a good position to advocate for same-sex marriage."

More and more people and elected officials across the country are beginning to share Reyes' views of support. Two of our bordering neighboring states, New Mexico and Oklahoma, have already seen marriage equality reach their grounds. While the idea of marriage equality reaching Texas seems like a distant dream for many of us, the groundwork to make this soon a reality has already started in our state.

Equality Texas has partnered this year with Freedom To Marry to launch Why Marriage Matters - Texas, a state-wide campaign effort to increase the level of public support in Texas for the freedom to marry.

Texas' pending marriage cases challenging the state's constitutional marriage ban might also result in favor of marriage equality as we have seen on several other states, most recently Ohio and Oklahoma.

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