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Wedding Cake Liberation Event (2005)

Happy Foundation

Sound | 2005

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  •  Heath Riddles, director of development at the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, talks about Texas Proposition 2 and what it means for the state’s LGBTQ community 
  •  Elena Guajardo, the first openly gay candidate to win a seat on San Antonio City Council 
  •  Gene Elder, founder and archive director of the Happy Foundation, advocates for the personal curation of LGBTQ materials 
  •  Toby Johnson describes the efforts made by him and his partner, Kip Dollar, to achieve legal recognition of their relationship by the state. On March 27, 1991, the couple appeared at the Travis County Courthouse alongside another same-sex couple, Danalynn Recer and Pamela Voekel, to apply for marriage licenses. County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir denied the request, but used the occasion to publicly support legislation then under consideration that would remove gender from the state’s marriage laws. Two years later, Austin City Council voted to change the definition of “spouse” in the city’s personnel policy, thereby extending some benefits to domestic partners of non-married city employees and mandating the creation of a Travis County domestic partners registry. On October 11, Johnson and Kip became the first male couple to register as domestic partners in Texas. (Voters repealed the benefit extensions by referendum in 1994, but the registry remained.) After Obergefell v. Hodges enacted marriage equality in 2015, the couple wed on March 16, 2018—their 34th anniversary.  
  •  Dollar warns of the legal repercussions of the proposition’s ultimate wording 
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In 2005, the 79th Texas Legislature narrowly approved a ballot measure proposing a statewide ban on same-sex marriage. Proposition 2, or the Definition of Marriage Act, would add a provision to the Texas Constitution recognizing marriage as a “union of one man and one woman” only. Voters would approve or reject the measure during an election on November 8. This home video captures an anti-proposition event organized by the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas (LGRL) and the Happy Foundation. On June 16, 2005, a crowd gathered at the Joan Grona Gallery in San Antonio’s Blue Star Arts Complex for a ceremonial cutting of the wedding cake by a same-sex couple, Toby Johnson and Kip Dollar. Johnson and Dollar were the first male couple to register as domestic partners in Texas in 1993. LGRL Director of Development Heath Riddles kicks off the event by talking about what Proposition 2 means for the state’s LGBTQ community. Attendees next hear from Elena Guajardo of the San Antonio City Council. Guajardo was the first openly gay candidate to run for and win a seat on the governing body. Following an introduction by Happy Foundation archives director Gene Elder, Johnson and Riddles then describe their years-long effort to achieve legal recognition of their relationship. Trinity University Professor Harry Haines finishes the program with a performance of his satirical song, “Breeders Anthem.” Voters ultimately approved Proposition 2 by more than a three-to-one margin. Marriage equality would not exist in Texas until the 2015 US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.
The Happy Foundation is a non-profit archive dedicated to the preservation of San Antonio’s LGBTQ history. Founder and curator Gene Elder began collecting materials in 1988, ultimately moving the collection to a back room of the downtown gay nightclub Bonham Exchange. The organization is named after Arthur “Happy” Veltman, a San Antonio entrepreneur who died of AIDS in 1988. In addition to owning multiple gay bars, including Bonham Exchange, Veltman was also involved in the development of the San Antonio River Walk and Blue Star Arts Complex. 
Elected on June 7, 2005, Elena Guajardo was the first openly gay candidate to run for and be elected to the San Antonio City Council. Her dedication to protecting the environment and supporting working families while in office earned Guajardo the “Environmental Hero” award from the Sierra Club and “Elected Public Official of the Year” recognition by the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Despite several reelection attempts, she served just one term as the representative for District 7. Following her time on Council, Guajardo joined the executive boards of Planned Parenthood and the Children’s Association for Maximum Potential.