Judge Garcia cancels Paxton’s contempt hearing

Posted on 02 Sep 2015 at 4:31pm
Ken Paxton

Attorney General Ken Paxton (courtesy Collin County Sheriff’s offfice)

U.S. district Judge Orlando Garcia canceled Attorney General Ken Paxton’s contempt of court hearing, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Paxton was scheduled to appear in the San Antonio court on Sept. 10 to show that he was implementing the Texas marriage equality ruling that was certified by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its marriage-equality ruling. Garcia authored the Texas ruling.

The contempt charge was prompted by a motion in the Texas marriage case when Paxton refused to update a death certificate to reflect an out-of-state marriage. In addition to correcting the death certificate, Garcia ordered the Bureau of Vital Statistics to update all regulations equalizing treatment for all married couples — most notably on birth certificates.

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More reasons to laugh at Kim Davis’ religious claims

Posted on 02 Sep 2015 at 4:00pm
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County Clerk Kim Davis

By now it’s old news that Rowan County, Ky., Clerk Kim Davis, who won’t issue marriage licenses, has been married four times. But here’s some new details of her tawdry life uncovered by Truth Wins Out founder Wayne Besen.

“Far from a wholesome defender of the family, it would take Jerry Springer to sort out Davis’ unseemly maze of marriages,” Besen wrote.

He calls her not just a hypocrite, but an apostate.

According to Besen, “She gave birth to twins five months after divorcing her first husband. They were fathered by her third husband but adopted by her second. Davis worked at the clerk’s office at the time of each divorce and has since remarried.”

One reason she may be playing the martyr is the inevitable GoFundMe campaign. The rural Indiana pizza place that claimed it wouldn’t cater a gay wedding and closed the next day received more than $800,000. Davis stands to rake in a fortune.

Will she have to share it with her deputy clerks if they’re all thrown in jail after tomorrow’s contempt of court hearing?

Will God show up to defend her in court?

Tune in tomorrow and find out.

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Hang on Kim Davis, Dwayne Stovall has a plan

Posted on 02 Sep 2015 at 11:40am
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Dwayne Stovall

As Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis continues to fight back the hordes of homosexual infidels clamoring to defile the institution of marriage in Kentucky, Texas Republican congressional candidate Dwayne Stovall wants her to know, he’s got her back.

Davis, as you likely already know, is the four-times-married county clerk who continues to defy federal law and the federal courts — right up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court — by refusing to issue marriage licenses to anyone to avoid issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She claims she is operating — or refusing to operate — under God’s authority in refusing to carry out the duties of the office to which she was elected and for which she is paid $80,000 a year (even though she took an oath to perform those duties). See, same-sex marriage goes against her religious beliefs, so God says she doesn’t have to issue those licenses, oath be damned.

Dwayne.Kathhy.Stovall

Dwayne and Kathy Stovall

But let’s get back to Dwayne here in Texas.

Dwayne Stovall is a Republican campaigning to represent Congressional District 36 in the U.S. House of Representatives. District 36 encompasses Northeast Dallas and surrounding suburbs, among them the Preston Hollow neighborhood where former President George W. Bush lives. Right now, Rep. Pete Sessions represents District 32 in Congress.

But I guess ol’ Pete isn’t conservative enough for Dwayne — lord knows, Sen. John Cornyn wasn’t conservative enough when Dwayne ran against him last year for U.S. Senate — who has just announced his intention to, as a member of Congress, introduce legislation removing marriage from “any jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court.”

In a statement released today (Wednesday, Sept. 2), Stovall said: “The Constitution of the United States offers no authority to the federal Supreme Court to be involved in the issue of marriage. So why is the Supreme Court forcing a county clerk in Kentucky to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples against her religious convictions and against a State statute adopted by representatives elected by the citizens of Kentucky?

“Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of the people we elect to represent us in Congress aren’t aware of the authority given to the Congress to control the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, as stated in Article III of the Constitution.

“Based upon that authority, when I am elected to Congress, I intend to propose” the Removal of Marriage from Federal Control Act.

That legislation, Dwayne promised, would remand the issue of marriage to the states and the federal judiciary would no longer have any standing on the issue.

That would, he said, “rightfully return all authority to regulate marriage back to the states where it belongs, allowing the citizens of each state to manage the issue of marriage according to their morals, values, and traditions, exclusively.”

Dwayne went on to say that the form of government intended by our country’s founders has been replaced by a “national system in which the government is no longer limited by the Constitution.”

But, he declared, “It doesn’t have to be this way.” And he promised to, throughout his campaign, “give explicit and easy-to-understand examples of how I intend to use the authorities conveyed to the Congress in the Constitution to actually restore States’’ Rights and limit the federal government. Proposing legislation to take authority over issues like marriage away from a few political elites and return it to the citizens of Texas is just another of many.”

Dwayne Stovall lives in Liberty County and has been married to his wife Kathy for 24 years. They have three children. I guess that means he knows all about marriage and what it is supposed to be like. (His campaign website says they have been married 22 years, but the press release we got today says 24 years. Maybe it;s just an old website; I mean, he apparently runs for some office or another in every election.)

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Out & Equal adds Career Pavilion to Workplace Summit in Dallas

Posted on 02 Sep 2015 at 7:31am
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Out & Equal CEO Selisse Berry

A new feature at this year’s Out & Equal Workplace Summit will be the Career Pavilion sponsored by Dallas’ own AT&T.

At the Career Pavilion you’ll have the chance to meet one-on-one in a complementary career coaching session to discuss your current career and future goals.

The Career Pavilion will also provide an opportunity to meet with employers committed to LGBT diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The Pavilion will feature recruitment opportunities with AT&T, Thomson Reuters, Hewlett-Packard, Johnson & Johnson, Citi Bank, Northrop Grumman, AIG, Mass Mutual, and Texas Instruments.

Out & Equal, a national conference that was last in Dallas in 2011, takes place at the Hilton Anatole Hotel on Oct. 6-8.

The Career Pavilion will be located in the Exhibit Hall and open Wednesday, Oct. 7 from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 2:30-5 p.m.

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Equality Texas and EQTX Foundation elect new board chairs and officers

Posted on 01 Sep 2015 at 3:55pm
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Steve Rudner

Equality Texas and the Equality Texas Foundation have announced new leadership to oversee the organizations’ boards of directors.

Equality Texas has chosen Steve Rudner of Dallas to serve as chair and Danny Ramón of Austin to serve as vice-chair.

Rudner, the former chair of the Equality Texas Foundation, is the newly-elected chair of Equality Texas. He is the founder and managing partner of Rudner Law Offices, a Dallas-based law firm that represents hotel companies throughout the world. He and his wife, Lisa, have three children. Rudner has served on and chaired the boards of multiple nonprofit organizations.

Ramón is the immediate past president of the Austin LGBT Bar Association, a member of the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin, Austin Bar Association and Texas Young Lawyers Association.

Equality Texas Foundation elected Andrés Araiza of Austin to serve as chair and Scott Green of Fort Worth to serve as vice-chair.

Araiza is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism and fellow at UT’s Department of Mexican American & Latina/o Studies. His scholarly research examines race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and professional practices in the media.

Green, a real estate investor, lives in Fort Worth with his husband, Garrett Warren. Green is active in the community, serving on the Fort Worth Opera and AIDS Outreach Center boards, co-chairing the AIDS Outreach Evening of Hope Gala and working with various other groups in the area.

Together, both organizations envision a Texas where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Texans and their families have full equality in the hearts and minds of their fellow Texans and all areas of the law.

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County Clerk Kim Davis is a Democrat and other related stuff

Posted on 01 Sep 2015 at 2:13pm
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Rowan County, Ky. Clerk Kim Davis

I’m a big Kim Davis fan, so I’ve been following her oppression closely. Here’s some interesting things I’ve learned about her:

• Davis is a Democrat who was elected last November. She’s paid $80,000 a year to not do her job.

• While Elena Kagan oversees the Sixth Circuit, she didn’t reject Davis’ appeal alone. Kagan referred the appeal to the full court, which rejected Davis’ appeal.

• David Moore and David Ermold, the gay couple who applied for their marriage license for a third time after the Supreme Court rejected Davis’ appeal, want her to face financial penalties, but no jail time.

• U.S. District Judge David Bunning may disagree. He ordered Davis and her six deputy clerks to appear at 11 a.m. on Thursday at the federal court in Ashland, Ky. They’ll face contempt of court charges and could be fined, jailed or both. Of her six deputies, one has no problem issuing marriage licenses to all couples. Four share her religious interpretation of her job duties. The other one isn’t saying one way or another.

• Davis didn’t explain why she went to the U.S. District Court, appealed to the Sixth Circuit and then to the U.S. Supreme Court, if she had no intention of following the court’s orders. Her explanation of her defiance is that she’s operating under God’s authority.

• Unless God appears to testify for her on Thursday, Bunning might rule otherwise.

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DCHHS offering adult flu vaccines now

Posted on 01 Sep 2015 at 11:48am

Screen shot 2015-09-01 at 11.46.36 AMDallas County Health and Human Services is offering the seasonal flu vaccine for adults at the DCHHS main clinic at 2377 N. Stemmons Freeway. DCHHS is awaiting shipment of the children’s vaccine.

The vaccine is $20, but is free to adults covered by Medicare.

DCHHS Director Zachary Thompson encouraged everyone to get a flu shot now, before the flu season gets into full swing, and to “practice flu prevention recommendations.”

Those recommendations include cough and sneeze etiquette along with proper hand-washing. DCHHS hasmore information on preventing the flu at its website, available for download.

Thompson said DCHHS is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to begin offering the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available in the community. CDC recommends the flu vaccine as the best means of flu prevention for almost everyone except children younger than 6 months of age and people who have severe allergies to eggs.

The flu vaccine DCHHS provides is an all-in-one shot that protects against multiple flu strains including the H1N1 virus.

Dr. Christopher Perkins, DCHHS medical director/health authority, urged parents to get children over 6 months vaccinated as soon as possible. He noted that it takes about two weeks for the body to develop the antibodies necessary to protect against the flu.

The flu vaccine is available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information call 214-819-2163.

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Kentucky clerk still refusing to issue marriage licenses, despite SCOTUS denying her appeal

Posted on 01 Sep 2015 at 10:28am
Davis.Kim

Rowan County, Ky. Clerk Kim Davis

Kim Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to two same-sex couples this morning (Tuesday, Sept. 1), a day after the U.S. Supreme Court denied her appeal to stay a lower court decision ordering her to begin issuing marriage licenses immediately.

Davis is county clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky. She has refused to issue marriage licenses to any couples to avoid issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples because she objects to same-sex marriage on religious grounds.

Now William Smith and James Yates, a couple for nine years who have been denied marriage licenses by Davis’ office three times, have filed a suit in federal court against Davis and county judge Walter Blevins, who The Advocate reports has also refused to issue them a license.

They are just the latest couple to sue Davis over her refusal to issue licenses. Four couples, two same sex and two opposite sex, filed suit in July. A federal judge ordered in August she must fulfill her duties as an elected official and issue marriage licenses.

Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, has ordered Davis to comply with the rulings.

Attorney General Jack Conway, also a Democrat, has said he would launch an investigation into whether Davis has failed to fulfill her duties as an elected official.

While Davis has lost each consecutive appeal, she maintains issuing licenses would infringe upon her religious liberty. She is supported in her refusal by the right-wing Liberty Counsel.

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UPDATE: SCOTUS denies Davis’ appeal

Posted on 31 Aug 2015 at 9:55pm
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Rowan County, Ky. Clerk Kim Davis

UPDATE: NPR and other news sources are reporting tonight that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied Kim Davis’ appeal to stay a lower court ruling ordering her to begin issuing marriage licenses, including marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Davis is county clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky.

Davis, who has been married four times, has refused to issue any marriage licenses to avoid having to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples since, she claims, same-sex marriage goes against her personal religious beliefs.

Davis, an elected official, has also refused to allow anyone else in her office to issues marriage licenses.

ORIGINAL STORY

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis filed an emergency petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday afternoon to have a justice review her appeal to allow her to continue not doing her job — i.e. refusing to issue marriage licenses to anybody to avoid having to issue licenses to same-sex couples — on religious grounds, according to WKYT, the CBS affiliate in Lexington, Ky.

She asked a U.S. District Court judge who ruled against her, but stayed his decision, to extend his stay. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denied her request for a stay and the district court denied her extension.

On the federal level, Justice Elena Kagan is the circuit justice for the Sixth Circuit and would receive Davis’ request for a stay. Kagan voted on the side of same-sex marriage in the Windsor and Obergefell decisions.

Also on Friday, Rowan County’s attorney referred a charge of official misconduct against Davis to the state Attorney General. Only the state can remove Davis from office.

Davis has refused to issue any marriage licenses and refused to allow anyone in her office to issue any licenses because of her religious objection to same-sex marriage. Her religious beliefs clearly don’t extend to divorce, because Davis is on her fourth husband.

A small rally in support of same-sex marriage was held at the Rowan County courthouse on Friday and a larger group gathered on Saturday. A group supporting Davis also appeared.

As for Davis’ claims of religious freedom, a 2006 case, Garcetti v Ceballo, limited free speech protections for government employees when they are on the job. Employers must make some accommodations for religious beliefs, but employees must still do the core, central duties of their jobs. In the opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that a public official is only protected only when engaged in an issue as a private citizen, not if it is expressed as part of the official’s public duties.

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Keller’s Haussmann mired in further allegations of privacy violations, abuse of office

Posted on 31 Aug 2015 at 2:12pm
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Jo Lynn Haussmann

New allegations of misconduct have emerged against Keller Independent School District trustee Jo Lynn Haussmann, including a possible violation of federal student privacy laws.

The allegations stem from Haussmann’s appearance on The Wells Report, a conservative talk radio show on Wednesday, Aug. 12, a day before the board was set to vote on amending its anti-harassment and nondiscrimination policies to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Haussmann, in the interview, discusses disciplinary action taken against Casey Akers who has lead the push for the LGBT protections after Akers was told by school officials it wasn’t appropriate to propose to a female friend who is straight.

According to Haussmann, Akers had an “agenda.”

“Well, you know, um, I believe the bottom line in all of this, is the fact that first of all there was a rule broken, a school rule on the promposal that they tried to do. Or that Casey tried to do,” Haussman said.

“Disciplinary action apparently wasn’t followed through appropriately once she came to the school board. I mean, in other words, she comes to the school board, she’s upset, now she wants to change policies. Instead of telling her ‘Well we can’t change policies, you did something wrong, you didn’t follow the rules, now there, you know, the consequences go with that’. So now instead of just being that you’re breaking a rule, all of a sudden you’re opening the door wide for her to be able to with her friend and her mother to sit in a committee meeting to change the policies. Which is irrelevant to her, really, to getting in trouble. I mean it’s like this was just used to try to, you know and, push their agenda,” she added.

Discussing a student’s private information violates the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act, without prior consent from the student or a student’s family member.

Under FERPA, the student or student’s family can only disclose confidential information.

Haussmann’s opponents are now asking where she got the information after Ken Romines, later identified as her son, used the same language while speaking against the policy changes at the Aug. 13 meeting.

If she obtained that privileged information in her capacity as a school board member with intent to slander, as some suggest, Haussmann could be in big trouble.

Per state law, a school official, including a trustee, has the right to access district records, including a student’s records, without filing an open records request. In this case, Haussmann, like any other trustee, has access to the student’s records even there is no compelling educational reason. For a student like Akers, the district has the authority to redact any privileged information.

I’ve sent an email to Haussmann requesting comment.

We also want to point out — to Ms. Haussmann and her supporters — that in asking to perform a promposal, Casey Akers didn’t break any rules. It is our understanding that after being told promposals were not allowed, Akers did not go through with it. So therefore, Casey Akers broke no rules. It appears, however, that the question of whether Jo Lynn Haussmann broke a rule or two is still up in the air.

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