Cathedral of Hope participates in Good Friday walk

Posted on 18 Apr 2014 at 10:21am
Jim-Mitulski

The Rev. Jim Mitulski

On Friday starting at 10 a.m., the Dallas Area Christian Progressive Alliance (DACPA), a non-partisan alliance of grassroots Christians, clergy and theologians seeking to promote the teachings of Jesus, sponsors the 8th Annual Good Friday Walk through downtown Dallas.

The walk this year focuses attention on issues of economic justice, in particular the need for a living wage, the sin of greed and serving wealth, and the related issue of immigration (“welcoming the stranger”). As in 2013, the group will also acknowledge a major teaching of Jesus, his opposition to violence, by reciting the prayer of the mother of Ana Marquez Greene, a young girl killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in a stop in the park in front of the Federal Building.

The walk will begin near First Presbyterian Church, 1835 Young Street, the corner of Young at Harwood. The route then follows Main Street west to the Rosa Parks statue at the West End station, the northeast corner of Elm and Lamar, with a stop at Pegasus Plaza, Main at Akard streets. The walk will then proceed toward the last stop, Dallas City Hall Plaza, pausing on the way at Belo Park in front of the Federal Building to pray for an end to gun violence. The walk is scheduled to end around 11:45am.

Reflections will be provided by:

• Rev. Kerry Sumpter Smith, Pastor, Greenland Hills United Methodist Church

• Rev. Jim Mitulski, Interim Pastor, Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ

• Rev. Gregg Alan Smith, Associate Pastor & Director of the Community Outreach Center, Oak Lawn United Methodist Church

• Rev. Jeff Hood, Southern Baptist Pastor, Prism Church in Denton

• Rev. Lisa Coleman

Reflective and inspirational music will be provided by Kristi Hassell, Music Minister, Greenland Hills United Methodist Church and the Gospel Choir from Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ.

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Gay Realtor calls out Texas PAC for backing anti-gay candidates

Posted on 18 Apr 2014 at 9:16am
Bob.McCranie

Bob McCranie

The Texas Association of Realtors and its funding arm, the Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee, have long endorsed and funded anti-LGBT candidates. But one Realtor is hoping to change that in the coming years, if not sooner.

Bob McCranie, owner of Plano-based Texas Pride Realty, has grown tired of the Texas organizations endorsing and funding anti-gay candidates, including the four at the top of the ticket this year who oppose marriage equality: Greg Abbott for governor, David Dewhurst for lieutenant governor, Glenn Hegar for Texas comptroller of public accounts and George P. Bush for Texas land commissioner.

McCranie isn’t on the endorsement board but has donated to the PAC in the past. He said marriage equality is a Realtor issue because marriage involves property rights, but when he’s brought up his objections to the endorsements in the past, he’s told  Texas is a red state so not many candidates support LGBT equality. The endorsement board even has openly gay members.

“What I’m told is ‘You won’t change Texas’ Texas is a very red meat state,’ but I want my associations of realtors on the local, state and national level to let their candidates know that this is an important topic for us,” he said. “I want them to be aware that they are standing beside candidates that are adamantly homophobic who ring the fire alarm of homophobia to get their voters out. And we just blindly endorse them.”

The endorsement for attorney general hasn’t been announced yet, likely pending the runoff between state Sen. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, and state Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas.

Branch, who represents Oak Lawn, co-authored Texas’ 2005 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and he filed a brief in a gay divorce case before the Texas Supreme Court last year defending the state’s amendment and requesting the court to overturn a lesbian couple’s divorce.

Paxton, along with anti-gay state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, filed a bill last year to put the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the state Constitution. The act, which the Legislature passed in 1999, prohibits local or state agencies form allowing people to express their religious beliefs, including discriminating against LGBT people. The recent bill never made it to the floor for a vote.

Campbell, who filed an anti-transgender marriage bill last year, also was endorsed. But out state Rep. Mary Gonzalez, D-El Paso, was also endorsed this cycle.

McCranie said the recent bill by Paxton and Campbell goes against the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics, which requires that everyone be treated equally. And he hopes the Texas PAC doesn’t endorse Paxton or anymore anti-gay candidates in the future.

“These laws break the code of ethics,” he said. “Why are we endorsing candidates who support this? No matter what the party is.”

The Realtors Political Action Committee funded Mississippi legislators who authored the state’s Religious Liberty Bill, which RPAC-endorsed Gov. Phil Bryant later signed. RPAC is the National Association of Realtors’ PAC.

NAR President Steve Brown, who’s openly gay, recently called McCranie to discuss his concerns and gave him a statement on religious freedom bills.

“Attempts to authorize and encourage discrimination in housing or real estate services under any banner are ethically wrong and wholly inconsistent with the fundamental principles of the REALTORS® Code of Ethics,” the statement reads in part. “It’s unquestioned that where the Code of Ethics and the law conflict, the Code must give way to the law. But we will continue to tell the public, and legislators should be on notice, that the Code’s duties, which often set a higher bar than law or regulation, do and will continue to prohibit discrimination in providing real estate services despite what the law may permit.”

The statement pleased McCranie, who said he’d continue to advocate for more inclusive candidates in the future and encourage others in the real estate industry to do the same.

“My perspective is LGBT Realtors and real estate professionals are hounded all the time to donate to the industry PAC,” McCranie said. “And the industry PAC doesn’t seem to consider LGBT property rights and discrimination to be an issue, and so I’m really trying to raise the conversation in the industry about this.”

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Vigil planned for Dallas man murder near Beaumont

Posted on 17 Apr 2014 at 3:53pm

Kevin-Moyer

A vigil and balloon release honoring Kevin Moyer will take place Saturday in Lee Park.

Moyer was brutally murdered on April 3 while traveling on business. Two suspects have been arrested. The third man is still at large.

The vigil will take place at Lee Park’s atrium at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

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Oak Lawn library’s Angie Bartula named Librarian of the Year

Posted on 16 Apr 2014 at 4:01pm

BigDReads.113821Oak Lawn Library’s branch manager Angie Bartula was named Dallas Librarian of the Year.

“She won talent, swimsuit AND personality,” North Oak Cliff branch manager Ray Sablack said.

To celebrate, D Magazine is staging a festival at the deck park downtown.

“On the 26th, we are having a huge festival at Klyde Warren Park celebrating storytelling of all forms,” said D Magazine’s Community Engagement Manager Krista Nightengale. “It’s a free event that’s open to the public.”

Bartula encouraged people to bring a book to the park and spend the afternoon reading.

However, in the event she’s unable to fulfill her reign as Dallas Librarian of the Year …

“Hey,” Bartula objected. “Why wouldn’t I be able to fulfill my term?”

Absolutely no reason at all.

Since becoming Oak Lawn’s librarian, she’s expanded the LGBT section at her branch and encouraged other branches to begin LGBT sections as well, which Sablack has done in North Oak Cliff. She recently partnered with Dish, at ilume across the street from her branch, to host author lesbian Leslea Newman for a reading.

She’s active throughout the community, welcoming senior citizens, a crime watch and a North Dallas High School group. She’s encouraged a knitting group that meets at the library, a homeowners group and loves to help people with their job searches.

Well deserved, Angie, and we’re looking forward to the D Magazine centerfold in May.

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4 Texans top Out Magazine’s Power 50 List

Posted on 16 Apr 2014 at 1:51pm

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Out Magazine’s eighth annual Power 50 List released this week includes four Texans among the ranks.

Houston Mayor Annise Mayor, Brittney Griner, Michael Sam and Dustin Lance Black are featured. Both Parker and Black have been included before on the list, which examines LGBT officials, leaders, athletes, musicians and business people (among others) who have the power in America.

Parker, now in her third and final term as mayor, has used her role in the past to chair Mayors for the Freedom to Marry and recently announced she planned to introduce a nondiscrimination ordinance in the city, which is the largest city in Texas without such a measure.

Black, known as the screenwriter for Milk, has been active in LGBT causes, including taking down California’s Prop 8 and later writing the play about the events surrounding the ballot measure. He continues to work on pro-LGBT projects.

The two new Texas additions also happen to be leading the way for LGBT inclusion in sports, an area in which LGBT equality and attitudes are still homophobic.

Griner came out last April after the WMBA draft. She’s discussed how difficult it was attending college at the Baptist-affiliated Baylor University before she went to play professionally. She goes into more detail in her recent book In My Skin.

Sam, also a Texas native, made waves earlier this year as the first player pre-NFL draft to come out as gay. He said he wanted to be honest about his sexuality before the draft. While he’s expected to be an early round pick, six teams have recently come out in favor of signing an openly gay player and are seriously considering Sam.

Read the full list here.

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SMU students will vote again on LGBT Senate seat

Posted on 15 Apr 2014 at 6:35pm
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Spectrum’s Kathrina Macalanda solicits a signature from Ryan Patrick McLaughlin

Over the weekend, Southern Methodist University students collected enough signatures to get a revote on whether to add an LGBT Student Senate seat.

After the Student Senate voted in March to add the seat, the student body needed to pass the measure by a two-thirds vote. Only 53 percent voted April 3 for the amendment to the Student Constitution. To get another vote, supporters needed to collect signatures from 10 percent of the student body, which is 1,053 people.

“I am excited to report that we actually surpassed that goal,” former Spectrum President Harvey Luna said. “We collected about 1,400 signatures.”

Normally, the issue would be put to students this week, but faculty is using the website link this week for their own elections. Instead, the amendment to add the LGBT seat will be put to students next week.

“In the meantime, we are going to begin strategizing on advertising the issue on campus — tabling, flyers, buttons, etc.,” Luna said.

 

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Judge rules Ohio must recognize out-of-state marriages

Posted on 15 Apr 2014 at 12:31pm
National

Judge Timothy Black

Federal Judge Timothy Black on Monday ordered Ohio to recognize all marriages performed out of state.

In December, Black called the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and said states can’t discriminate just because they don’t like homosexuality. That order, however, only applied to the case he was deciding and to others in similar situations. He ordered Ohio to recognize marriages performed out-of-state for the purposes of a death certificate.

In February, an Ohio couple sued to overturn the marriage ban because it was preventing them from applying for health insurance for themselves and their daughter as a family.

Black again called the state’s constitutional amendment passed in 2004 unconstitutional, but did not order the state to begin issuing marriage licenses.

The state plans to appeal Black’s ruling, arguing that Ohio has a sovereign right to ban gay marriage.

Black delayed deciding whether to stay his ruling, pending appeal until attorneys on both sides present their arguments on the issue by the end of Tuesday, The Associated Press reported.

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Ground broken on Lee Park entrance to Katy Trail

Posted on 15 Apr 2014 at 11:17am
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City and park officials pretending to turn some dirt

More than 50 people attended a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for a ramp will extend from Snyder’s Union on the Katy Trail to Lee Park’s eastern section just below the trail. Representatives of the construction contractor said work should begin within a week, and Lee Park Conservancy President and CEO Gay Waldrop Donnell said construction should take about 20 weeks.

Donnell said the ramp will link the “Katy Trail from its mid point to Lee Park.”

Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston said the trail and the park have a natural affinity.

“As we make our city more walkable, it represents what we want to see in Dallas,” Kingston said.

The ramp will run from the Synder’s Union promenade that opened in 2009 toward Hall Street. In Phase 2 of the project, the area between Turtle Creek and the Katy Trail will have several courts for shuffleboard, bocci ball and several other games. Stairs already link the trail to the area across Hall Street.

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Artist’s rendering of new Lee Park entrance

 

 

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Indian Supreme Court recognizes transgenders as ‘third gender’

Posted on 15 Apr 2014 at 10:53am
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Rose, India’s first transgender TV anchor

In what is being called a landmark judgment, India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday created a “third gender” status for transgender people, granting the group formal recognition for the first time, The Washington Post reported.

“Recognition of transgenders as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights issue,” Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan said when he announced the ruling. “Transgenders are citizens of this country and are entitled to education and all other rights.”

He directed local governmental bureaucracies to identify transgender people as a neutral third gender, adding that they will now have the same access to social welfare programs as other minority groups in India, the world’s largest democracy and currently in the midst an election campaign.

The court’s decision would apply to individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth, the Associated Press said.

The Supreme Court specified that its ruling would apply only to transgender people and not to gays, lesbians or bisexuals. India’s LGBT communities have been protesting the court’s recent decision to reinstate a colonial-era law banning gay sex, which they say will make them vulnerable to police harassment.

The case was brought in 2012 when a group led by transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a Hindi film actress, sought equal rights for India’s transgender population.

On Tuesday, Tripathi was triumphant.

“Today, for the first time I feel very proud to be an Indian,” she told reporters gathered at the New Delhi court. “Today, my sisters and I feel like real Indians, and we feel so proud because of the rights granted to us by the Supreme Court.”

Across much of South Asia and Southeast Asia, the language of gender is substantially more ambiguous than it is in the West. In countries such as Thailand and Cambodia, transgender people aren’t usually referred to as either a man or a woman — but as kathoey. India’s decision follows other regional countries’ decisions to recognize a third gender. Last year, neighboring Nepal offered a third gender option on official documents for its transgender population.

The West has been a tad slower to adopt such measures. Last year, Germany became the first European country to recognize a third gender, allowing parents of newborns to mark “male,” “female” or “indeterminate” on birth certificates.

Across the rest of Europe, Spiegel Online reports, change has been more halting. “Things are moving slower than they should at the European level,” human rights activist Silvan Agius said. “Though Brussels has ramped up efforts to promote awareness of trans and intersex discrimination, I would like to see things speed up.”

Things in India sped up this year. For the first time, India’s Election Commission allowed a third gender of “other” on voter registration forms for this election. Nearly 30,000 people designated themselves as “other,” the Associated Press reported, and there are an estimated 3 million transgender individuals in India.

“The progress of the country is dependent upon [the] human rights of the people, and we are very happy with the judgment,” Tripathi said. “The Supreme Court has given us those rights.”

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Gun Barrel City mayor stops police harassment at gay bar

Posted on 14 Apr 2014 at 11:23am

GarlowsEmployees of Garlows, a gay bar located on Cedar Creek Lake about 60 miles southeast of Dallas, said police surveillance of the bar had been going on for several weeks before a number of patrons were stopped by police on April 5. Several were arrested for DUI. The bar’s owner was arrested for public intoxication while he was walking home.

Retired Dallas Voice reporter David Webb reported:

On April 5, following a drag show at the gay bar, patrons leaving the bar met as many as five squad cars sitting outside of the bar. Drivers who failed to signal whether they were turning left or right were stopped, according to sources at the scene. Several DUI arrests were made. One squad car followed the operator of the bar as he attempted to walk home and and handcuffed and jailed him on a charge of public intoxication, allegedly without testing him for intoxication.

Gun Barrel City mayor Paul Eaton told Webb surveillance would end immediately, saying he acted as soon as he heard about it.

Cedar Creek Lake has been home to LGBT retirees and weekend home owners for several decades. Garlows, in GBC, is the second gay bar in the area. Also, Celebration Church on the Lake, founded with help from Celebration Church in Fort Worth, has a large LGBT membership and is located in nearby Mabank.

David’s full report is here.

 

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