Ted Cruz takes up fight for heterosexual privilege

Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-originally from Canada) has taken up the fight for heterosexual privilege and discrimination against same-sex couples. He introduced the so-called State Marriage Defense Act of 2014. His only co-sponsor is Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). Canada is a marriage equality country. Texas, which Cruz represents, and Utah both have marriage-discrimination laws that have been declared unconstitutional by federal courts.

The bill would force the federal government to consider a couple’s place of residence rather than place of ceremony and invalidate marriages as people cross state lines.

Cruz claims his law would make the federal government respect all 50 states. However, federal regulations simply take place of celebration into account and do not invalidate marriages as people cross state lines.

The regulations do not force states to recognize marriages of same-sex couples. For example, married couples must file their federal income taxes as married, but the regulations do not force states to allow couples married elsewhere to file as married.

If Cruz’s law were to pass and be signed into law, gays and lesbians who live in marriage-discrimination states would lose social security, disability and other benefits making those states’ residents poorer.

Since he joined Congress in 2013, no legislation — this doesn’t include resolutions and amendments — Cruz sponsored has passed and been signed into law.

—  David Taffet

Austin drag queen has a comeback for Obama that has him laughing

Obama Austin

Obama fist bumps Webb

When President Barack Obama and his entourage arrived in Austin from Dallas last week, they stopped at Franklin’s Barbecue, according to the Austin Chronicle.

When the president went to pay the bill, he met the cashier Daniel Webb who performs in drag as Drone Collins and Toyota Lopez. The president’s party cut in line, so he paid for the people they cut in front of.

At the register, Webb said to the president, “Equal rights for gay people.”

Obama asked Webb if he was gay.

“Only when I have sex,” he said.

The president laughed and gave Webb a fist bump that was caught on camera.

Webb, who works at Franklin’s part time said, “It was just a lucky day to be the register girl.” He added that if Rick Perry had been in the restaurant, he would have lost his job. “I would’ve taken that old queen to town.”

Webb is originally from Fort Worth.

—  David Taffet

Nixon tapes reveal he thought gays were born that way

NixonIn April 1971, Richard Nixon had a discussion in the White House with National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger and Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman. Kissinger had not yet become secretary of state.

“I am the most tolerant person on that of anybody in this shop,” Nixon said in newly released tapes that were secretly recorded during his administration.

Kissinger agreed but thought those kind of people should keep it a secret — especially the gays in his administration. Nixon may have actually been ahead of his time, though.

“They’re born that way. You know that. That’s all. I think they are,” Nixon said.

He said there were a number of intelligent people who were gay. The transcript was released by Vanity Fair.

The discussion must have been in relation to civil rights laws. In December 1971, Nixon issued an executive order requiring contractors to develop “an acceptable affirmative action program.” In 1972, Nixon endorsed congressional passage of the Equal Rights Amendment that would have put equal rights for woman into the constitution had it passed enough states. The Texas legislature was the first state to approve the ERA.

So the conversation seems to be in the context of what rights should be protected by national policy.

“It’s one thing for people to, you know, like some people we know, who would do it discreetly, but to make that a national policy,” Nixon said.

But Nixon was no champion of gay rights in public. In May, Nixon made this statement:

“I do not think that you glorify homosexuality on public television. You don’t glorify it anymore than you glorify whores.”

The Vanity Fair article, however, also quoted from a conversation in July 1971 where they discussed whether Kissinger should resign because of a Newsweek article discussing Kissinger’s religion. He is Jewish.

—  David Taffet

Spreading the Rainbow nationwide

Local LGBT LULAC pitching in to help with migrant children and in forming new gay LULAC chapters

lulac

NYC BOUND | Rainbow LULAC president, Juan Contreras, second from right, travels to New York this weekend for the national convention. (Courtesy Juan Contreras)

 

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer

County Judge Clay Jenkins put Dallas front and center in the immigration debate when he offered to shelter 2,000 migrant children from Central America who have crossed the border illegally.

“This is Texas, and in Texas, we don’t turn our back on children,” he told Mother Jones magazine.

Among the first groups Jenkins turned to for assistance was LULAC.

LULAC District III Regional director Rene Martinez said LULAC members would mentor, tutor and provide recreational activities for the children. He said everyone who volunteers, other than teachers, will have to go through a background check.

Martinez knew without doubt that Rainbow LULAC, one of the area’s most active and fastest growing chapters, would pitch in to help.

Rainbow LULAC President Juan Contreras said that Jenkins’ chief of staff had “approached us and asked if we’d like to volunteer.” Contreras added that he already has about 200 volunteers lined up, but is still looking for more bilingual volunteers.

Right now things are still in the planning stage in Dallas County. But once the children arrive, LULAC is ready to jump into action.

“The council is waiting for direction,” Contreras said. “Catholic Charities will provide training.”

The training will be for directly working with the children, but Contreras said they’re already planning toiletry and toy drives, too.

When the migrant children and teens up to age 17 begin to arrive in Dallas, Contreras said Rainbow LULAC be looking for any LGBT youth among them and providing extra assistance in the form of mentoring and advice on asylum claims.

He said those youth could face heightened risk if they are returned to the violence in their home countries.

Headed to NYC
Contreras has more on his plate, as well. This weekend, he will represent his council at the national LULAC convention in New York, where he’ll bring a resolution to the floor to add a national LGBT liaison.

That resolution passed at the district convention that Rainbow LULAC chaired in April.

Contreras will also be at the New York convention as a resource for delegates from around the country interested in starting their own rainbow councils.

The Dallas group began in 2006 and was the only LGBT council in the country for several years. But despite its singular presence, Dallas Rainbow LULAC has had a national impact since its inception.

At the 2007 national convention, the council held a diversity session to discuss LGBT acceptance. In 2008, LULAC passed a resolution supporting the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

In 2010, the Dallas Rainbow Council was recognized as council of the year. And within a week of President Barack Obama evolving on the issue of marriage equality, LULAC put out a statement also supporting the right to marriage.

LULAC has supported including LGBTs in hate crimes laws and workplace anti-discrimination laws, and giving bi-national same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples.

Contreras said Dallas is no longer the lone LGBT LULAC chapter. Houston, San Antonio and Orange County now have LGBT groups. He said El Paso is talking about forming a chapter as well.

Dallas has always been an incubator for LGBT groups. From Human Rights Campaign’s Black Tie Dinners, which now take place across the country after starting in Dallas, to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which was founded by a former Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance president, Dallas has been successful in creating groups that go national.

The regional LULAC district can take credit for the group’s success as well and Martinez talks about the group’s success with pride.

“We were the first district,” Martinez said. “Not only did we encourage it, but we expanded it from adults to young adults.”

Indeed, Dallas now has two rainbow councils, the newer one for teens and young adults.

For information on Rainbow LULAC in Dallas, visit www.lulac4871.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 11, 2014.

—  David Taffet

UPDATE: Colorado’s pro-marriage equality decision stops marriage equality

MorkMindyHouse

Mork and Mindy’s house in Boulder, Colorado. About 100 same-sex couples have married in Boulder in the last few weeks. Could marriage equality lead to humans marrying aliens?

UPDATE:

A ruling by the district court in Boulder County that followed the state court’s ruling allows the county clerk to continue issuing marriage licenses.

ORIGINAL POST:

In the most ironic decision on marriage equality since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act a year ago, a state judge ruled Colorado’s marriage law unconstitutional.

Normally that would be good news, but the ruling actually stopped same-sex marriages in the state.

After the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the Utah marriage ban, several county clerks in Colorado began issuing marriage licenses. Because Colorado is in the same circuit as Utah, those Colorado county clerks reasoned the Utah ruling applied to them as well.And because the stay specified Utah, they reasoned the stay didn’t apply to them.

The county clerk in Boulder County continued issuing licenses despite threats from the state attorney general. So the AG took the matter to court where he lost yesterday.

Good news? Normally. But while the judge ruled that Colorado’s marriage law is unconstitutional, he placed a stay on his ruling pending further appeal.

Since the stay this time applies to Colorado, the county clerk in Boulder must stop issuing licenses.

About 100 licenses have been issued in Boulder and a separate hearing will be held to determine if those marriages are valid. In cases in other states where licenses were issued before a stay was placed on a legal decision, those marriages have been upheld and recognized.

—  David Taffet

Anti-gay factions challenge Houston equal rights ordinance

Parker

Mayor Annise Parker during the HERO debate

Opponents of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance turned in 50,000 signatures to get the issue on the November ballot. Only 17, 269 are needed. The city secretary’s office has 30 days to validate the signatures.

The ordinance passed on May 28. The Houston city charter allows a recall election on an issue if 10 percent of voters in the last election sign a petition. A recall against a mayor or council member requires 25 percent of voters in that election to sign a petition.

Until HERO was passed, Houston was the only major city in the United States without an equal rights ordinance of any sort. In addition to protecting the LGBT community, the ordinance puts into place protections based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, genetic information or pregnancy. None of these categories were protected by the city before the ordinance was enacted.

The anti-HERO forces have claimed the law allows men to dress as women so they may enter women’s restroom and attack little girls. There is no mention of bathrooms in the ordinance.

The city plans to defend the ordinance.

“The Houston I know does not discriminate, treats everyone equally and allows full participation by everyone in civic and business life,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “We don’t care where you come from, the color of your skin, your age, gender, what physical limitations you may have or whom you choose to love. I am confident voters will soundly defeat any challenge to the ordinance.”

—  David Taffet

This Week in Marriage Equality

UNUnited Nations

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced the organization will recognize the same-sex marriages of its employees and offer all benefits given to opposite-sex spouses. The change covers 43,000 United Nations employees but does not cover the employees of affiliated organizations like UNICEF or UNESCO. Those organizations will continue to discriminate against their gay and lesbian employees.

In addition, the United Nations continues to adopt anti-gay measures and promote anti-gay perpetrators. The UN General Assembly recently elected the Ugandan Foreign Minister as its next president. Saudi Arabia, which executes gays, was elected to the UN Human Rights Council.

Florida

Newspapers in Florida are lining up behind marriage equality. The Tampa Bay Times was the first.

The attorney general “should follow her counterparts in Nevada, Virginia and Pennsylvania who have refused to defend their states’ same-sex marriage bans. The law once upheld slavery, denied women and blacks the right to vote, segregated schools and banned interracial marriage. In time, the courts will continue to act as they did in those situations and overturn all discriminatory same-sex marriage bans. It makes no sense to defend them, and Florida should abandon a fight it cannot win legally or morally.”

Next was the Miami Herald.

“The fight to defeat a ban on same-sex marriage in Florida is picking up steam,” the Miami Herald wrote. “Progress is slowly, but steadily, being made.”

Today, the Sun Sentinel, which serves Broward and Palm Beach counties came out in favor of equality.

“Florida shouldn’t be digging in its heels against committed gay couples who seek only the same recognition and benefits as straight couples. And Florida shouldn’t be wasting time and money pursuing the right to discriminate,” the paper editorialized.

Bypassing trial

Both sides in two Arizona marriage equality cases requested the judge bypass a trial and issue a ruling. Both cases are scheduled in the same court and all parties agree the judge can rule based on briefs that will be filed.

Plaintiffs in the South Dakota marriage equality case asked the judge to rule without a trail as well.

This is an indication the opposition is running out of stupid, indefensible arguments.

Pennsylvania

Marriage equality came to Pennsylvania on May 20 when a judge overturned the state’s marriage ban and the governor decided not to appeal. However, a Pennsylvania clerk has asked the Supreme Court to stay the ruling while she appeals on behalf of the state.

If a stay is granted, this would make Pennsylvania the fifth state that issued marriage licenses after a judge ruled and before a court ordered a halt until appeals have been completed. The other four states with couples whose marriages are limbo are Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Utah.

When Pennsylvania became marriage-equality state No. 20, it became the first state that doesn’t have employment nondiscrimination laws. So couples may have to choose between getting married and getting fired for getting married.

—  David Taffet

Republicans choose to be Hot in Cleveland in 2016

Cuyahoga

At least the Trinity has never caught fire like Cleveland’s Cuyahoga did in 1969.

Rather than spend a nice cool week in Dallas in July 2016, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced today the 2016 Republican Convention will be held in Cleveland.

Dallas was one of two finalists for the event. The convention would have been held at the American Airlines Center with one event at Cowboy’s Stadium in Arlington.

Instead, the convention will be held in swing state Ohio. No Republican has won the White House without Ohio. Both Cleveland and Dallas are Democratic strongholds.

But how does Cleveland compare with Dallas for natural beauty? If you think the Trinity is a filthy stream of mud, at least it never caught fire like Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River did in 1969.

The site committee’s recommendation will be finalized by a vote in August and the July start date announced at that time.

Dallas last hosted a national convention in 1984 when Ronald Reagan was nominated for his second term in office. That convention is best remembered by people in Dallas at the time for closed highways in and around downtown.

Gregory Lee Johnson was arrested outside the Dallas Convention Center during the convention for burning a flag. His case went to the Supreme Court, which invalidated all flag desecration laws.

Although a political convention brings a lot of media attention and millions of dollars of revenue to a city, most people in the LGBT community in very blue Dallas reacted with relief.

“DAMN! I had my picket signs all ready,” activist Todd Whitley wrote on his Facebook page.

“Thank God,” wrote Old Oak Cliff Conservation League former President Michael Amonett.

“There is a God,” Scott Cantrell wrote.

 

—  David Taffet

Police make arrest in Oak Lawn murder

Tubbleville.Joshua

Murder victim Joshua Tubbleville

Police arrested Deric Madison, 24, in the May 30 murder of Joshua Tubbleville. Madison is being charged with capital murder.

Tubbleville was killed when Madison robbed him in his car and he crashed at the Shell station on the corner of Lemmon and Oak Lawn avenues.

A police spokeswoman said DNA evidence in Tubbleville’s apartment linked Madison to the crime. She said Madison had no criminal history that she knew of and declined to comment on what evidence was found in the condo linking Madison to the crime.

A video taken from inside the Shell station showed a black man exiting Tubbleville’s car immediately after he crashed at the station.

The two had met the night before outside Tubbleville’s building. Madison had a drink and spent the night in Tubbleville’s condo and in the morning, Tubbleville was driving Madison home.

Police called it a crime of opportunity, not a hate crime. After his arrest, Madison gave police multiple versions of what happened that night.

No evidence links Tubbleville to the gay community.

—  David Taffet

Study shows children with two moms or two dads are healthier and happier

familyChildren of gays and lesbians are healthier and happier than those in the general population, according to a new study done in Australia.

Simon Crouch, the lead researcher in the study, found children of same-sex couples scored higher on family cohesion, which led to better health.

He found that in same-sex relationships, partners take on parenting, home and work roles more suited to their skills than to gender stereotypes. That leads to a more harmonious family and greater well-being, he said.

The Australian census counted more than 33,000 two-parent families with same-sex parents.

The study took into account age, educational and other disparities between same-sex parents and opposite-sex parents. Same-sex couples have to plan to become parents. They don’t find themselves suddenly pregnant because their birth control didn’t work or because they got drunk one night and woke up the next day and found they had hired a surrogate.

But the researchers took those differences into account and compared the children of gay and lesbian couples with children in the general population with parents of similar incomes, age and economic backgrounds. Children of same-sex couples still scored 6 percent higher.

The higher score came despite findings by the research team that children of same-sex couples face greater social stigma and are often bullied. Same-sex parents said they make sure their children are more resilient than other kids.

The study debunks arguments some states have been making to derail same-sex marriage rulings that continue to be issued across the country. In the recent Kentucky case, the state argued that the birth rate would drop if the court ordered marriage equality. Other states have argued children are better off being raised by a mother and a father, citing the discredited University of Austin’s Mark Regnerus study. That study, however, compared children raised in “failed heterosexual unions” to those raised by heterosexual parents in healthy relationships. One of the parents in each of the failed relationships had a romantic relationship with a member of the same sex at some point, but didn’t raise children in stable two-parent relationships.

This study not only refutes Regnerus and those state arguments that children are better off being raised by a mother and a father, but counters those arguments. When pushed on the issue by the other side, plaintiffs could use this study to actually argue that gays and lesbians make better parents and children are better off with two moms or two dads than with a mother and a father.

Right-wing detractors in Australia claim only parents whose children are doing well volunteered for the study. If that’s true, then only straight parents whose children aren’t doing so well volunteered their children for the study. Doesn’t that sort of prove gays and lesbians are at least smarter parents, if not better parents?

Those detractors also wonder what happens to those well-adjusted children once they reach adulthood. Hmmm … don’t well-adjusted children tend to become productive, well-adjusted adults?

—  David Taffet