Nashville Mayor Karl Dean endorses marriage equality

Posted on 21 Aug 2014 at 3:57pm

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean became the first mayor in Tennessee to endorse marriage equality today, according to a statement from Mayors for Freedom to Marry.

tn_rainbow“Tennessee’s denial of the freedom to marry directly harms the state’s more than 10,000 same-sex couples and their loved ones, and by putting obstacles in the path of businesses and families, drags everyone down,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry.

“I believe that all people should be treated fairly and equally and that their individual dignity should be respected,” said Dean. “Embracing and celebrating our growing diversity makes our city stronger. Nashville needs to continue in that direction, and it’s my hope that joining this effort will help us do that.”

“We welcome Mayor Dean as another voice in favor of moving Tennessee, the South, and all of America to the right side of history,” added Wolfson.

Dean joins over 500 mayors across the country who have endorsed marriage equality. Of the 500, only four are in Texas: Austin’s Lee Leffingwell, Houston’s Annise Parker, El Cenizo’s Raul Reyes and Shavano Park’s A. David Mame.

No mayor from Dallas-Fort Worth has yet to sign onto the pledge.

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This week in marriage equality

Posted on 21 Aug 2014 at 3:34pm

marriage-scales-of-justiceIndiana:

A federal judge ruled that Indiana must recognize out-of-state marriages, the last of the five marriage equality cases in Indiana that had not received a ruling. All five cases struck down any ban on same-sex marriage. The ruling is stayed pending appeal. Read more here.

Idaho:

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Idaho’s request to appeal en banc (or before all of the court’s judges) a recent ruling overturning the state’s same-sex marriage ban. The case Latta v. Otter (otter–heehee!) was brought before the district court Judge Candy Dale this year by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and private attorneys. Dale ruled in their favor. Of note: the case will be heard concurrently with cases from Nevada and Hawaii, which also follow under the ninth court’s jurisdiction.

Florida:

Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage was ruled unconstitutional today for a fifth time. The difference is that this time, a U.S. District Court made the ruling, so it applies to the entire state. The previous four rulings were in county courts and those rulings applied only to those counties. The ruling is stayed pending appeal.

Department of Veterans Affairs:

Curve ball! The VA isn’t a state, but it’s being sued over not recognizing the partners of veterans in states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage. The case AMPA v. McDonald was brought by Lambda Legal and others, was filed on behalf of the American Military Partner Association.

Australia:

Waaaaaaay down south, Australia’s senate is considering a bill that would permit the country to realize recognition of foreign same-sex marriages, including Aussie couples who marry abroad. A recent ruling in their high court ruled that only Parliament could enact same-sex marriage.

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Supreme Court stay only applies to gays and lesbians

Posted on 21 Aug 2014 at 9:28am

VirginiaIn a bizarre ruling that only applies to gays and lesbians, the U.S. Supreme Court put a stay on marriage equality in Virginia a day before an appeals court ruling was to go into effect.

The stay only applies to same-sex marriages. Opposite-sex couples will still be allowed to marry in the state, although there’s no word if those marriages will be seen as valid by most people. Since there is a religious exemption in all marriage laws, denominations such as Reform Judaism and United Church of Christ that believe marriage discrimination laws violate their beliefs may not recognize those marriages. Those denominations certainly will not have to accept the validity of opposite-sex marriage licenses issued during this period of discrimination.

The Virginia attorney general refused to defend discrimination in his state at the trial court or appeals court levels and has asked the Supreme Court for a quick resolution. But he also asked for the discriminatory stay that applies only to gay and lesbian couples. He is not up for re-election, so it is not clear why he is taking both sides of the fence on the issue.

When a stay is placed on issuing marriage licenses, the stay should be placed on issuing all marriage licenses. If the gays can wait, so can the straights.

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Vikings settle with Kluwe, agree to donate to LGBT charities

Posted on 20 Aug 2014 at 5:49pm
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Chris Kluwe

The Minnesota Vikings professional football team have reached an agreement with former punter Chris Kluwe in which the team officials have agreed to donate an undisclosed sum of money to five LGBT rights-related charities over the next five years, according to Associated Press reports, including this one from West Hawaii Today. Two of those charities are The Matthew Shepard Foundation and You Can Play Project.

Kluwe said he gets no money in the settlement agreement.

Kluwe had threatened to sue the team, saying he was unfairly released by the team last year because of his outspoken support for marriage equality. He also claimed that special teams coordinator Michael Priefer made anti-gay comments and tried to agitate him with homophobic language. The Vikings last month issued a 29-page report summarizing their investigation into Kluwe’s claims, saying they found no merit in his claim that he was unfairly released from the team. The report did acknowledge that Priefer did make anti-gay comments. He was suspended for three games and ordered  to undergo sensitivity training.

Kluwe’s attorney, Clayton Halunen, said that the amount of money the Vikings will be donating won’t be disclosed due to a confidentiality agreement. But, he said, it represents “a substantial commitment to LGBT causes.”

Kluwe said, “This will help a lot of people that really do need that help,” adding that he is convinced the Vikings and owners Zygi and Mark Wilf are committed to the cause, and committed to being leaders on this issue in the NFL.

The Vikings said in a statement that the deal resolves all issues related to Kluwe’s departure from the team and his accusations that a coach made anti-gay comments. Zygi Wilf said he wished Kluwe the best and that the team’s “focus remains on maintaining a culture of tolerance, inclusion and respect, and creating the best workplace environment for our players, coaches and staff.”

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Fayetteville, Ark. passes LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance

Posted on 20 Aug 2014 at 3:40pm

map_of_fayetteville_arEarly Wednesday morning the Fayetteville, Ark. City Council voted 6-2 to approve a measure protecting LGBT residents and visitors from discrimination in public facilities, housing and employment. It also creates a civil rights administrative position, according to NWO.

The city is the first in Arkansas to add such protections. At the state level, Arkansas does not protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

The ordinance was not without its detractors.

BuzzFeed reports that Michelle Duggar of TV’s Nineteen Kids and Counting, a prominent backer of anti-LGBT Republican presidential candidate and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Penn.), blasted a robocall alleging that the ordinance would “allow men — yes I said men — to use women’s and girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only.”

Of the three amendments proposed for the ordinance, two passed. The first amendment extended discrimination on religious grounds to include all tax-exempt organizations. The second clarifies that no one may enter a men’s or women’s restrooms with illegal intentions. The third, which failed on a 6-2 vote, would have called for a referendum vote.

“I see a day when we don’t put tags and labels on people and we’re all citizens under the same umbrella of the Constitution of the United States and we all have the same equal rights,” Mayor Lioneld Jordan said after the vote.

The language also adds protections “from discrimination based on real or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, familial status, marital status, socioeconomic background, religion, sexual orientation, disability and veteran status.”

It goes into effect Sept. 20.

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Finding interesting junk as Dallas Voice packs to move

Posted on 20 Aug 2014 at 12:20pm
Village Station 1983

Rear of Village Station in 1980. The building now houses Zini’s and Skivvies

Funny what you find when you’re going through old drawers when you’re packing to move.

Apparently attorney Don Maison is still owed $28.30 for some work he did on a case in 1980-83 in which about a dozen people were arrested at Village Station for public lewdness. Yes, they were — wait for it because it’s pretty graphic — dancing. Ironically, the song playing during the raid was “Enough is Enough.”

A photo of the back of the building shows graffiti that reads, “STOP POLICE HARASSMENT.” Maison said this and other photos were taken as part of the evidence shown at the trials.

According to a Dallas Morning News clipping that we found in the same folder, after a criminal judge found four of the defendants not guilty, District Attorney Henry Wade removed the remaining cases from Judge Chuck Miller and placed them in another court. No, that wasn’t legal, and the paperwork filing the grievance against Wade is also included in the folder.

Maison said as he sat in court that day, he realized the police officer testifying couldn’t have possibly seen what he claimed he saw from where he said he was standing. He called Ernie Smith from Caven Enterprises, owner of Village Station, and had him rush building plans over to the courthouse. On the stand, Smith explained how the cop couldn’t have seen what he said he saw using those plans. The judge acquitted because the officer was obviously lying.

Maison said among the witnesses who came forward to testify that she went to Village Station often just to dance was a very young Pauline Medrano.

According to Maison, who is now CEO of AIDS Services Dallas, only one person was convicted. Another was found guilty at the trial level but that was reversed and rendered on appeal and later expunged from the record.

Also found among the papers are depositions for the case Dallas Gay Alliance, Inc., Ronald Dickson Woodroof vs. Dallas County Hospital District d/b/a Parkland Memorial Hospital. Maison was one of the attorneys on that case too. Woodroof is better known as founder of the Dallas Buyers Club. DGA and Woodroof prevailed, forcing Dallas County to fund medical care and medication for persons with AIDS.

These files are going up to University of North Texas to be added to the LGBT archives.

Village Station 1983 1

Found among the files was this interior shot of Village Station, 1983

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Smithsonian to begin LGBT history collection

Posted on 19 Aug 2014 at 4:37pm

willandgrace_1024Several years after the University of North Texas began collecting documents, photographs, periodicals and other memorabilia from the North Texas LGBT community, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. has begun to do the same.

UNT proved that those collections can be valuable. Its archived copies of Dallas Voice have been accessed more than any of its other regional and specialty periodicals. Filmmakers used the archives to gather information about Ron Woodroof, the Oak Lawn man who created the Dallas Buyers Club.

While UNT’s collection is geared toward academic study, the Smithsonian’s is for exhibit.

The National Museum of American History already has Dorothy’s shoes from The Wizard of Oz and Edith and Archie’s chairs from All in the Family. The LGBT collection began with a donation from NBC with pieces from the set of Will & Grace. While All in the Family broke taboos on TV discussing bigotry and intolerance, Will & Grace did the same for LGBT issues.

Other items included in the initial collection are the diplomatic passports of Ambassador David Huebner, the first openly gay U.S. ambassador confirmed by the Senate, and his husband. At the time of his confirmation, Huebner’s dog was transported to his overseas post at government expense, but his husband had to pay for his own ticket because the Defense of Marriage Act prevented recognition of their marriage.

The museum had already collected items from Westboro Baptist Church, which will grace the LGBT exhibits.

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Dale Hansen to appear at Black Tie Dinner

Posted on 18 Aug 2014 at 6:13pm

dalehansenHere’s a video Dale Hansen made accepting an invitation to attend Black Tie Dinner. Each time he addresses the subject, he proves himself to be a bigger and bigger ally.

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DART begins service to DFW Airport

Posted on 18 Aug 2014 at 2:41pm

DART mapThe final station on DART’s Orange line now links Dallas to DFW Airport — in a way it doesn’t link Dallas to Love Field. The new DART station is actually inside DFW Airport at Terminal A. Walk from the station to the terminal and once inside security, link to any of the airport’s gates.

DART skirts Love Field and does not go to the airport. A bus takes passengers from Inwood Station to Love Field’s terminal.

While the trip to DFW airport might take longer than driving, riding DART can save quite a bit of money. Terminal parking is $20 per day and long-term parking is $9 per day. A DART trip is $2.50 each way, but parking is free at DART stations. Overnight parking is available at Market Center Station and Inwood Station in Oak Lawn and Hampton Station and Westmoreland Station in Oak Cliff.

From any of the downtown or Oak Lawn stations, take the Orange line. From Oak Cliff, transfer to the Orange line at West End Station. On the Red or Blue lines from the north, transfer to the Orange line anywhere between Mockingbird Station and West End Station. From South Dallas, transfer from the Green line anywhere from Arts District Station to Bachman Station.

Travel time to DFW Airport is 50 minutes from West End Station downtown, 43 minutes from Market Center Station, 41 minutes from Parkland Station and 39 minutes from Inwood Station.

Once the Orange line splits from the Green line at Bachman Station, the train makes five stops in Irving before arriving at the airport.

The Orange line originates in Plano during rush hour, LBJ at other times, and is DART’s longest line. From Downtown Plano Station to DFW Airport is a 90 minute train trip.

DART and Fort Worth’s The T continue to operate the TRE, which stops at CentrePoint Station south of DFW Airport with a shuttle bus transferring passengers to each of the terminals at the airport.

From Denton, train travelers can take the A train from downtown Denton to Trinity Mills Station, transfer to the Green line to Bachman Station and transfer to the Orange line to the airport.

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Out WNBA stars Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson engaged

Posted on 18 Aug 2014 at 2:37pm
Screen shot 2014-08-18 at 2.25.40 PM

Griner wrote “Last Night was a Night to Remember I became the happiest person on this earth! (almost pass out but when that one word came out I came back to life) Me and my baby @missvol25 are in it for Life!”

Baylor University alumna and Phoenix Mercury Brittney Griner proposed to her girlfriend Glory Johnson, of the Tulsa Shock, this weekend.

The couple posted photos of their engagement on their Instagram accounts.

Griner, who is from Houston and played basketball at Baylor, came out in an interview with SI.com, Sports Illustrated’s website, in 2013. She published In My Skin: My Life on and off the Basketball Court, a memoir, earlier this year, detailing her struggles growing up and remaining in the closet as a lesbian.

According to the Washington Post, “Griner was not to come out publicly because university officials, including [coach Kim] Mulkey, worried it would hurt recruiting. She lived in what many call a “glass closet;” she would bring her college girlfriend to events, but elsewhere, both online and offline, Griner was expected to live under a cloak of ambiguity.”

The couple have been together since June.

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