Apple CEO Tim Cook comes out: “I’m proud to be gay”

Posted on 30 Oct 2014 at 8:57am

Tim CookApple CEO Tim Cook came out as gay in an essay published this morning, Oct. 30, in Bloomberg Businessweek:

While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.

It was the worst kept secret in the country. Named CEO of Apple in 2011, we reported it then. Cook has long been suspected as being gay, but has never brought up his sexual orientation. In 2011, OUT named him the most powerful LGBT person in the United States. A CNBC host accidentally outed him in June.

Cook spoke during his inauguration into the Alabama Academy of Honor, denouncing Alabama, his home state, for stalling on LGBT rights on this past Monday, Oct. 27, according to Business Insider.

The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce lauded Cook’s decision to come out in a statement: “[As] the business voice of the LGBT community, [we] commend Tim Cook for his moving and heartfelt coming out essay. While his story and success are unique, we are proud to say we hear about similar journeys every day from the LGBT Americans, including those who are part of NGLCC. Our goal is to expand economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. Tim’s words today will help us in that mission. They also serve as an opening of the door for other LGBT CEOs and senior executives to move forward in knowing there is a safe place for them in the business world.”

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Marriage equality updates from around most of the country … but not Texas

Posted on 29 Oct 2014 at 4:25pm

Marriage_Equality_MapSouth Carolina

After the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles refused to allow Julie McEldowney to use her married name on her driver’s license, she filed suit against the state. She had already changed her name legally with the Social Security Administration.

Nebraska

Those wacky Catholics who are following the Pope and not a bunch of out-of-touch cardinals and bishops.

Omaha’s Creighton University, a Jesuit school, will offer benefits to same-sex spouses of employees. The move comes after the local Catholic archbishop voiced objections to the decision. The archbishop objected but school president the Rev. Timothy Lannon said that Creighton must also meet the needs of its employees and remain competitive with other universities.

Arizona

Since marriage equality came to Arizona last week, county clerks in all 15 counties have issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. An estimated 300 licenses have been issued, meaning that roughly $20,000 has been brought to the state’s economy.

Montana

The Great Falls Tribune in Montana has published an editorial in favor of marriage equality.

“It’s time for the state of Montana to quit wasting taxpayers’ money and to accept gay marriage in Montana, even if churches can go their own way on this matter,” the editorial board wrote. “Some people still want to make political points with this issue, but we say, it’s too late for that. It’s all over.”

v.vember 20.

Kansas

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree has scheduled a hearing in the case challenging Kansas’ marriage ban for this Friday, Oct. 31 at 2:30 p.m.

Wyoming

Now that Wyoming is a marriage equality state, Equality Wyoming is working on adding sexual orientation to the state’s anti-discrimination law. While it’s legal to get married in the state, a marriage license can be followed by a pink slip.

Missouri

While Missouri is still not a marriage equality state, it does recognize out-of-state marriages. So the Missouri State Employee’s Retirement System decided to add equal benefits for same-sex spouses.

That contrasts to Dallas where the city’s Employee Retirement Fund and Police and Fire Retirement boards have put roadblocks in the way of treating its LGBT employees equally despite a Dallas City Council mandate. The head of the ERF even had the gall to claim the board was doing everything it could to change the regulations after voting against a policy change herself.

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ONGOING: Burton, Willis, others respond to anti-LGBT mailer

Posted on 29 Oct 2014 at 11:52am

The candidates for the open state Senate district 10, a swing district covering a portion of Tarrant County, have responded to an anti-LGBT mailer released by the mysterious group known as the “National Family Council.” I initially posted the responses from late Monday in ongoing updates here. But given both candidates have different takes on it, and other groups have since responded, I feel they warrant reposting. First, here are the mailers in question:

AFC Side 2AFC Side 1

Luke Macias, spokesperson for Republican Konni Burton, of Colleyville: “Our campaign is not affiliated with the group that sent this mail piece in any way. Throughout the campaign we have made it clear that the most important issues facing the people of SD 10 are securing the border, providing quality public education, and prioritizing transportation in our budget. We are unaware of who sent the mailer, as the group claiming credit has no website, no telephone number, and only a mailing address. We don’t plan for third-party mailers sent from Virginia to be a distraction in the final week of this race. Our campaign will continue to advocate for the issues the voters of SD 10 care about.”

Democrat Libby Willis, of Fort Worth, in a statement: “It’s unfortunate, but not surprising, that Konni Burton would resort to desperate, hateful attacks from out-of-state groups. That might be why the Star-Telegram said ‘it is not clear how well she would or could represent the diverse population of the district.’ I am proud to have the support of the Texas Equity PAC because in the Texas Senate, it will be my priority to work for every Texan.”

Other groups responded as well.

Texas Equity PAC president Eric Johnson, of Dallas, said: “An out-of-state, anonymous PAC has attacked because of our support. In these remaining days leading up to Election Day, real Texans and real Texas values will stand up for what’s right. They will support equality and shun extremism. The Texas Equity PAC supports Libby Willis because she supports not only LGBT Texans, but all Texans.”

The PAC mistakenly calls out Equality Texas for its support of Willis. Equality Texas does not endorse candidates. Texas Equity PAC does however–including Sarah Davis, a Republican state representative from Houston.

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said in a statement: “These kinds of hateful campaign tactics represent politics at its worst,” Miller said. “To smear a candidate because she supports equality for everyone is shameful and out of step with Texas voters who are leaving that kind of bigotry in the past.”

Texas Freedom Network is “a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who support religious freedom, individual liberties and public education” based in Austin.

 

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BREAKING: Houston Mayor Annise Parker withdraws sermon subpoenas

Posted on 29 Oct 2014 at 11:48am

Annise ParkerHouston Mayor Annise Parker announced this morning, Oct. 29, that Houston will withdraw subpoenas of five pastors in the lawsuit over the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Parker and the city came under national scrutiny when lawyers representing the city subpoenaed five pastors’ sermons in the lawsuit brought by pastors opposed to the ordinance. The request resulted in a national outcry. A  group of religious leaders sponsored by the Family Research Council plans to descend on Houston this coming Sunday, Nov. 2, to protest against the subpoenas.

Parker said at a press conference she met with national and Houston clergy members yesterday, Oct. 27, to “hear their concerns about religious liberties,” the Chronicle reports. But she did not indicate then whether or not she would withdraw the subpoenas.

“What is best for the city of Houston, not what is best for the litigation,” she said, but adding “I don’t want to have a national debate about freedom of religion” while trying to defend HERO.”

 

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New poll reveals Texans’ attitudes changing on same-sex marriage

Posted on 29 Oct 2014 at 11:22am

UT-TT-Polls-102214.010_1 A new poll from the UT-Austin and Texas Tribune reveals Texans’ attitudes are shifting on same-sex marriage and civil unions.

According to the Tribune, when asked if they support same-sex marriage, 47 percent of respondents said no, 42 percent said yes and 11 percent were undecided. When asked about civil unions, 39 percent say they would allow marriage, 28 percent would allow civil unions, 25 percent oppose both and 9 percent are undecided.

62 percent of Democrats would allow gay marriages, even with the alternative of civil unions available. Only 14 percent of Republicans would allow same-sex marriages over civil unions, but another 45 percent would allow civil unions. Voters who identify themselves as independents were closer to the Democrats on this question, with 53 percent approving of gay marriage and another 20 percent in favor of the civil unions option.

55 percent of frequent churchgoers say they oppose both marriage and civil unions for those couples. A majority of other churchgoers, including those who say they attend services once a week, would allow some form of unions.

 

The demographic breakdown reveals that “the culture war is a lot more complex than you think,” Daron Shaw, co-director of the poll and a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, told the Tribune. “The way in which you execute it does matter. What you really find is that people are subtle. They appreciate conditions and context.”

The internet survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted  Oct. 10–19 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points. Among 866 likely voters, the margin of error is +/- 3.33 percent. In the split sample on marriage, the margin of error is +/- 3.99 percentage points on the civil unions question and +/- 4.02 percentage points on the question about gay marriage alone. Numbers in the charts might not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.

The poll is part of a series of report asking likely voters about political issues which can be read here.

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BearDance presents check to AIDS Arms

Posted on 29 Oct 2014 at 10:36am

BearDance Pride check presentation 2014BearDance presented a check to AIDS Arms a check for $4,100 as proceeds from its Pretty in Pink Pride Parade watching party at TMC: The Mining Company in September.

BearDance presents Daddy’s Locker Room, a Halloween dance, on Friday, Oct. 31, at Dallas Eagle to benefit Resource Center.

 

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Van de Putte holds rally in Oak Cliff

Posted on 29 Oct 2014 at 10:02am

More than 150 supporters welcomed Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Leticia Van de Putte to Oak Cliff on Tuesday, Oct. 28.

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, state Sen. Royce West and DISD school board President Miguel Solis were on stage to encourage the group to vote early and bring friends to the polls. West said part of the strategy to win is getting 300,000 votes for Van de Putte in Dallas County.

“I’m going to be home this week and I want to see all of you ringing doorbells,” Johnson said. “We got it if we get em out.”

Van de Putte was endorsed by every major newspaper in the state except for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. For the Wichita Falls Times Record News, this was its first endorsement of a Democrat in almost three decades.

“My momma always said, ‘If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all,’” Van de Putte began, as she addressed the crowd. “Well, my momma’s not here.”

She then lit into Patrick’s record of voting against equal pay for women, against funding education and against supporting veterans.

After the speech, she took time to take pictures with everyone there and extra time to talk to each child who had come to see her.

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Man arrested for fight at DFW Airport has record of theft, abusing horses

Posted on 28 Oct 2014 at 5:22pm
14-4670 Mugshot - Benham

McCleish Christmas Benham

DFW Airport Police arrested a man Thursday, Oct. 23, after the suspect called another man a faggot, punched him and kicked him in the crotch. McCleish Christmas Benham, 27, of Shelbyville, Tenn., has been charged with public intoxication and simple assault. (You can see video of the fight below.)

According to police reports, the problem apparently started when Benham got angry with an American Airlines gate agent who was trying to help him with his flight arrangements. He “became belligerent and began cursing at her.” Another passenger, described in reports as an “older white male” but whose name was not released by police, said he had seen Benham “verbally assaulting” the gate agent. He said he told Benham that police were on their way, and that he needed to calm down. Benham, instead of taking that advice, reportedly called the man a “San Francisco faggot” and punched him in the eye.

Benham then started to threaten  a different male passenger when the first man again warned him to calm down or the police would arrest him. At that point, Benham “kicked him in the groin and punched him in the head.”

That’s when a group of “approximately three to five male passengers” decided to take matters into their own hands. They tackled Benham to the floor and held him there until Officer Derrick Niblett arrived. “i intervened to control the situation,  but the subject in question [Benham] continued to struggle with me and the unidentified passengers while he was on the floor.” A second officer arrived and the two policemen were able to subdue Benham and handcuff him. “The subject continued to be belligerent as Officer Mister and I assisted him to his feet. As the subject was talking, I noticed his speech was slurred. I also noticed that he had glossy, blood shot eyes,” Officer Niblett wrote in his report. “The subject was deemed to be a danger to himself and to others and was placed under arrest for public intoxication and simple assault.”

A quick Internet search shows that this isn’t “Mac” Benham’s first brush with the law. He was jailed on Sept. 19, 2013 in Bedford County, Tenn. (where Shelbyville is located) on charges of property theft. Another report indicates that in October 2012, also in Bedford County, Benham was arrested for “failure to appear.”

He has also been in trouble with the US Department of Agriculture at least twice for violations of the Horse Protection Act for allegedly mistreating Tennessee Walking horses he was supposed to be training. He was charged for “soring” a horse named Major General’s Ritz in the 43rd Annual National Walking Horse Show held March 18, 2011 in Shelbyville, and again for doing the same to a horse named “Willie Twilight” on Aug. 31, 2012, at the 74th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, also in Shelbyville.

Benham was disqualified from showing horses for six months, from Feb. 21 to Aug. 20 this year, because of the “soring” charges against him.

According to the USDA website, “Soring is a cruel and abusive practice used to accentuate a horse’s gait. It is accomplished by irritating or blistering a horse’s forelegs with chemical irritants (such as mustard oil) or mechanical devices. Walking horses are known for possessing a naturally high gait, but in order to be more successful in competitions their natural gait will often be exaggerated. The exaggerated gait can be achieved through proper training and a considerable time commitment, but some horse exhibitors, owners and trainers use improper and inhumane training methods to shortcut the process.”

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Oral arguments set in Texas and Louisiana marriage cases

Posted on 28 Oct 2014 at 11:09am
Attorney General Greg Abbott

Atty. Gen Greg Abbott pandering in front of the 11 Commandments monument at the Texas Capitol. Yes, I know there are 10, but look closely at the monument and you’ll find 11 listed, which makes this among my favorite fake religion monuments.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will hear the Texas and Louisiana marriage equality cases on Jan. 5.

In September, Judge Martin Feldman in Louisiana became the first federal district court judge to uphold a state’s marriage ban since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last year.

Texas’s marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional by San Antonio District Judge Orlando Garcia in DeLeon v. Perry. His decision is stayed pending appeal.

In his appeal, Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott resorted to using the “pedophile, incest and marrying farm animals” defense. Because underpopulation has been a worldwide plague, Abbott uses the responsible procreation defense that’s been thrown out by court after court.

What we found most interesting was his inclusion of a story from Dallas Voice written by Anna Waugh about a case from Fort Worth that is still pending before a trial court. Two Fort Worth men who claim they are heterosexual would like to get married in Texas.

From the brief (pages 23-24):

Not all persons who wish to marry a same-sex partner will have a homosexual orientation. The plaintiffs in McNosky v. Perry, No. 1:13-CV-00631-SS (W.D. Tex.), have publicly admitted that they have a heterosexual orientation and plan to marry each other as a statement of solidarity with same-sex couples. See Anna Waugh, Tarrant County Marriage

 

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ONGOING: Konni Burton supporters resort to homophobic mailer against opponent Willis

Posted on 27 Oct 2014 at 3:56pm

UPDATE: Burton and Willis campaigns respond to controversial mailer

I reached out to both the Burton and Willis campaigns regarding the mailer distributed by a group known as “National Family Coalition.”

Konni Burton spokesperson Luke Macias in a statement: “Our campaign is not affiliated with the group that sent this mail piece in any way. Throughout the campaign we have made it clear that the most important issues facing the people of SD 10 are securing the border, providing quality public education, and prioritizing transportation in our budget. We are unaware of who sent the mailer, as the group claiming credit has no website, no telephone number, and only a mailing address. We don’t plan for third-party mailers sent from Virginia to be a distraction in the final week of this race. Our campaign will continue to advocate for the issues the voters of SD 10 care about.”

Libby Willis in a statement: ”It’s unfortunate, but not surprising, that Konni Burton would resort to desperate, hateful attacks from out-of-state groups. That might be why the Star-Telegram said ‘it is not clear how well she would or could represent the diverse population of the district.’ I am proud to have the support of the Texas Equity PAC because in the Texas Senate, it will be my priority to work for every Texan.”

I spoke with Eric Johnson with Texas Equity PAC about the mailer. “An out-of-state, anonymous PAC has attacked because of our support. In these remaining days leading up to Election Day, real Texans and real Texas values will stand up for what’s right. They will support equality and shun extremism. The Texas Equity PAC supports Libby Willis because she supports not only LGBT Texans, but all Texans.”

The PAC mistakenly calls out Equality Texas for its support of Willis. Equality Texas does not endorse candidates. Texas Equity PAC does however–including Sarah Davis, a Republican state representative.

ORIGINAL STORY:

The Dallas Voice has learned a group under the name “National Family Coalition” has sent a homophobic mailer blasting Libby Willis, the Democratic opponent candidate for state Senate 10, for having the backing for the Equality Texas PAC.

The only information found about the National Family Coalition is where it was registered.

Her Republican opponent is Konni Burton, a Tea Party Republican from Colleyville.

Burton and Willis are locked in a tight race to replace Wendy Davis, who has represented the district since 2008.

The district is the only swing senate district in Texas.

To ask Burton to denounce the mailer, call her campaign office at 817-228-1805 or post on her Facebook page.

More to follow.

AFC Side 2
AFC Side 1

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