Supreme Court has 7 marriage cases to look at during its first conference

Supreme-Court-building-permissionSeven marriage equality cases from five states — Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin — were distributed to the Supreme Court justices to be discussed at their first conference on Sept. 29. The first session of the court is the first Monday in October when the justices will begin announcing which cases they will hear in the 2014-15 session, according to Freedom to Marry.

With more seven cases already heard and decided by appeals courts, it’s more likely the high court will take up one or more of them during this session.

Earlier speculation was that the court would let the marriage debate play out at the appeals level for at least another year before taking up the issue.

If the court does not announce a marriage case on its docket after the Sept. 29 conference, the cases will remain on their list of possible cases at future conferences.

I read through one of the petitions. Utah has no new arguments, just seeks to dehumanize us. But their picture of straight people isn’t too hot either.

In its cert petition, the state of Utah talks about “Those who favor redefining marriage as the union of any two or more persons …” vs. “Those who wish to retain the opposite-sex marriage model [and] believe the government has no legitimate interest in formally recognizing mere loving relationships, whether opposite-sex or same-sex.”

In other words, same-sex couples believe in polygamy while straight couples don’t necessarily love each other, but are always breeding. And gays and lesbians don’t have kids.

—  David Taffet

Two out candidates win statewide Massachusetts primaries


Maura Healey

Maura Healey defeated Warren Tolman in the Democratic primary for attorney general in Massachusetts on Tuesday. If elected, Healey would become the first out attorney general in the country.

The Boston Globe reports that Healey is a political newcomer, while Tolman is a party insider.

Going into the fall election, Healey becomes the favorite in heavily Democratic Massachusetts.

Tolman had the support of the state’s popular governor, Deval Patrick, and Boston’s mayor.

The Boston newspaper credits Healey’s win on LGBT support as well as support from women and reports that Human Rights Campaign ran phone banks for her from its D.C. offices.

Steve Kerrigan, also openly gay, won the Massachusetts primary for lieutenant governor in a three-way race, according to the Boston Herald. Kerrigan is a former aide to Sen. Ted Kennedy.

—  David Taffet

Ninth Circuit hears three marriage cases

Supreme-Court(5)The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments for and against state marriage bans in Idaho, Nevada, and Hawaii — the first time the Ninth Circuit has revisited marriage equality since striking down California’s Proposition 8 in 2012.

Two of the three judges on the panel have ruled favorably on LGBT-rights decisions in the past.

Throughout the hearing, the panel of judges voiced skepticism over whether there is any compelling state interest in allowing state bans to remain legal, and pressed state lawyers to defend the rationale for the bans. At one point, Judge Marsha Berzon said to the lawyer defending two of the three bans, “You’re sending a message that these are less desirable families. That is what you’re doing.”

This is the first time a marriage case is being heard from a state that already has marriage equality. Hawaii became a marriage equality state last fall after Gov. Neil Abercrombie called a special session to deal with the issue. When the court rules in favor of marriage equality — which they’re very likely to do — Nevada officials have already said they do not plan to challenge the ruling and will allow same-sex marriage to begin. Idaho is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

—  David Taffet

Evangelicals for Marriage Equality is a real group


When I saw an article in Time magazine “Evangelicals for Marriage Equality: The Story Behind Our Launch,” it reminded me of the line from Airplane.

“Yes stewardess, I’d like something light to read,” the passenger says.

“How about ‘Great Jewish Sports Heroes,” the flight attendant responds and pulls out a pamphlet.

But Evangelicals for Marriage Equality is serious and group spokesman Brandon Robertson has some impressive statistics to back him up: A third of evangelicals 34 to 48 support marriage equality and 43 percent of those 18 to 33 support marriage equality, according to Robertson.

The group planned to launch with an ad that was rejected by Christianity Today. (see above).

“There are hundreds of verses in the Bible that talk about love. There aren’t any that talk about the definition of civil marriage,” the ad reads.

Whoa. That’s kind of racy for Christianity Today. How dare these evangelical extremists actually read the Bible.

Robertson wrote that he was struggling with that whole annoying “Love Thy Neighbor” thing when he realized he could reconcile marriage equality with his religious belief. Well, he didn’t call it annoying. But other evangelicals must be conflicted with trying to reconcile that commandment with the filth and hatred that regularly spews from their mouths.

And Robertson would take me to task for that previous paragraph. His group takes a middle ground and puts the blame partially on those supporting marriage equality. He wrote that those struggling with the issue are afraid to discuss it out of fear of being branded a bigot.

—  David Taffet

Dallas Voice sports authority David Taffet talks football on L.A.’s KPFK


David Taffet reporting from the Texas high school playoffs at the Cotton Bowl where the East Dillon Lions took the state championship.

If you had a radio talk show in L.A. and you wanted to talk football with someone in Dallas, who would you call? That’s right. Obvious call. You call Dallas Voice sports expert David Taffet.

OK, so maybe 5 million people in the Dallas area know more about football than I do, but few people who know less about football are as comfortable on a football field as I am.

That’s because I spent several season playing a sports reporter on NBC’s show Friday Night Lights. In just about every episode with a football game, I’m standing on the sidelines or in the end zone and am the only person on the field in a jacket and tie.

Sideline. End zone. See? I know the lingo. I spent one episode filming in the field house and in the locker room.

That gig really stretched my acting ability and built on roles I’ve played in the past. In the film JFK, I played a reporter and carried Gary Oldman, who was actually in the coffin, to Lee Harvey Oswald’s grave. (Director Oliver Stone was going for realism. Oldman was freaking out). My best acting in that film came in the scene where reporters are interviewing Marina Oswald. You can see my thumb holding a mike. You can tell it’s me, because I’m the only one in the scene who’s left-handed.

But I digress.

The show is IMRU, the gay show that’s L.A.’s counterpart to Lambda Weekly. Chrisanne Eastwood is the host who contacted me. She and I co-hosted a cable TV show with the always-beautiful Jack Jett for about six months. The topic is Michael Sam.

So to prepare for tonight’s appearance, I just looked up that the Cowboys lost yesterday. I’m very sad about that. Tony Romo turned in his worst performance ever. I’m apparently surprised about that, because he went into yesterday’s game as the best ranking, or best prepared or best looking quarterback in the NFL. And they played at AT&T Stadium. I have no idea where that is. I’ll just call it Cowboys Stadium.

I’ll be on Monday, Sept. 8 at 9 p.m. Central Time (7 p.m. Pacific Time). Click here to listen live.

—  David Taffet

Davis addresses Cathedral of Hope

Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Wendy Davis addressed Cathedral of Hope at its 9 a.m. service on Sept. 7 and received an award from the congregation.

Cathedral and Hope for Peace and Justice presented Davis an Advocacy Award “for speaking truth to power on behalf of women.”

In her address to the congregation, Davis said as governor she would always embrace the LGBT community.

“I will remember you, because I am one of you,” she said.

Republican candidate Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott has also been invited to address the church, but has not responded to the invitation.

—  David Taffet

Anti-Sam protest fizzles at Cowboys Stadium

Pro-EqualityOf the more than 3.62 million members of the American Decency Association claimed by organizer Jack Burkman that planned to protest the Dallas Cowboys game on Sunday, exactly none showed up.

Supporters, however, did show up with signs that read, “Thank you Cowboys” and “Love beats hate.”

Even the American Decency Association disavowed Burkman. On its website, they wrote, “We are not the group in Texas using the name ‘American Decency’ headed by Jack Burkman that is being targeted as planning a protest against football player Michael Sam in Dallas this Sunday.”

American Decency doesn’t claim to like Sam. After disavowing Burkman, the man who proposed a bill to Congress to ban gay players in the NFL, American Decency claims to support “Biblical, traditional marriage.” You know, where marriage is between a man and as many women and concubines as he can afford, but very often has one special wife.

They complain about the kiss between Sam and his boyfriend — which they put in quotes — and then summarize, “In saying all of this, I make this point: We are not the ones behind the protest, but we also do not condone the lifestyle of Michael Sam.”

So since American Decency is against everything that Michael Sam stands for, but they weren’t behind the threatened protest, they ask that people stop emailing them hate mail.

But let’s end on a better note. Here’s a message from a church that doesn’t preach hate and vitriole:




—  David Taffet

Gay DISD police officer fired after filing complaint

Jeremy+LiebbeDISD police investigator Jeremy Liebbe was fired by Mike Miles after Liebbe filed a complaint over improperly performed background checks, according to WFAA.

Liebbe was put on paid leave in July after opening an investigation into his supervisor. He was looking into claims she didn’t report having been on probation on her employment application.

Liebbe’s attorney, Peter Schulte, called DISD’s announcement “defamatory fiction.”

The termination letter said Liebbe ”acted outside the scope” of his role as manager of the Professional Standards Office.

We’ll be looking into this story and reporting more on it this week. We have open records requests in on this story.

—  David Taffet

First Mississippi city to offer partner benefits


Mayor Parker Wiseman

Coming out matters. Knowing someone gay makes a difference.

Starkville, Miss. Mayor Parker Wiseman announced his city will offer partner benefits to its LGBT employees. This is the first city in Mississippi to do so, according to the Jackson Clarion Ledger. Starkville, south of Tupelo and northeast of Jackson, has a population of about 24,000.

Wiseman is Paul Scott’s cousin. Scott is executive director of AIDS Services of Austin and former director of Equality Texas and Resource Center.

In May, Bay St. Louis, Miss. passed a nondiscrimination ordinance, the sixth one passed in the state. Starkville was one of the first make nondiscrimination its law.

—  David Taffet

CVS Health — not selling cigarettes since earlier this week

cvs-pharmacyLast week, CVS was selling cigarettes.

This week, not only have they stopped selling cigarettes, but they want you to think of them as a health care provider and go to one of their 900 new in-store clinics for all your primary care medical needs.


“We’ve stopped selling cigarettes,” isn’t the best reason to replace your doctor with your corner pharmacy.

How aggressive will these stores become in pushing their medical services? When I go to CVS or Walgreens, I often ask someone in the store a question if I’m looking for an over-the-counter medication. Will “Try this one” be replaced with “Maybe you should see our doctor first”?

Of course, CVS isn’t looking to replace your doctor. They’re looking to pick up business from the doc-in-the-box quick care medical clinics and from the millions of newly insured. They also looking to pick up some cash business from those who still don’t have insurance.

But “We stopped selling cigarettes last week” just shouldn’t instill confidence in their long-term medical experience. In fact, it says, “Practicing medicine since right after Labor Day.” Perfect — if you’re looking for someone who has days of medical experience.

So far, the new “CVS Health” (as the company has renamed itself) ad campaign reminds me that there are two Walgreens in the neighborhood. At least all their cashiers are trained to ask is, “Can I get you a flu shot with that?”

—  David Taffet