Abbott says Texas will follow Prison Rape Elimination Act

Posted on 29 May 2015 at 11:54am
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Gov. Greg Abbott

Lost in the last few days of legislative maneuvering was an announcement from Gov. Greg Abbott’s office that Texas would work to comply with the Prison Rape Elimination Act. That law was passed with bipartisan support in 2003.

Last year, Gov. Rick Perry said Texas would not comply with the law, calling it a “counterproductive and unnecessarily cumbersome and costly regulatory mess,” according to the Texas Tribune.

Members of the trans community have especially been calling for the state to follow the law, because of treatment of trans prisoners.

Log Cabin Texas president Jeff Davis issued the following statement:

The Log Cabin Republicans of Texas joins together to congratulate Governor Abbott on his agreement to implement the Prison Rape Elimination Act. This bipartisan legislation will help move the state towards the reduction and prevention of sexual violence in the prison system.

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender population is disproportionately affected by sexual violence in the prison system. We recognize this as an effort that will benefit all Texans and again thank Governor Abbott on his efforts to end prison sexual assault.

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Today’s downpour is brought to you by the letter F

Posted on 29 May 2015 at 11:16am

Pictures of Turtle Creek across the street from Dallas Voice office. The creek crosses I-35 underground and is usually just a trickle and sometimes dry. When it’s flowing, it meanders past our office, past Mama’s Daughter’s Diner, and around the back of the Anatole Hotel before emptying into the Mighty Trin somewhere near Sylvan Avenue. To get the pics of the Trinity, we walked across an empty lot, up a very muddy embankment and up the levee. The water, this morning, is as high as I’ve seen it since the flooding began.

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25 Stories of LifeWalk: Wendi Rothschild

Posted on 29 May 2015 at 9:31am

PrintWendi Rothschild is an ally who learned through a friend that even though medications were available to keep people with HIV aline, the prescriptions sometimes had huge co-pays that people living with HIV couldn’t always afford.

She began walking with one of LifeWalk’s oldest and biggest teams, Guys and Dolls. Although she no longer lives in Dallas, LifeWalk holds a place in her heart and here’s her story.

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Flooding as seen from the 48th floor

Posted on 28 May 2015 at 12:13pm

Here are some pictures of the Mighty Trin taken from The Tower Club on the 48th floor of Thanksgiving Tower on Wednesday, May 27.

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Freedom to Marry expects a Supreme Court victory

Posted on 28 May 2015 at 11:34am
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Marc Solomon

Freedom to Marry’s national campaign director, Marc Solomon, was in Dallas on Wednesday (May 27) to discuss his new book, Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits — and Won.

Predicting how the Supreme Court will rule, Solomon said, “I have huge confidence we’ll prevail.”

Solomon was in the Supreme Court listening to the arguments last month. He said marriage equality will win for three reasons.

First is the power of the arguments for equality. Next is the lack of substance in opponents’ arguments.

Solomon cited one argument made by the attorney for the state of Michigan, who argued that if gay couples marry, straight couples will be less inclined to marry and more children will be born out of wedlock. Asked what studies he had to prove that, the Michigan lawyer  couldn’t answer,

Instead, the pro-equality side talked about one of the Michigan plaintiff couples who adopted four children. Each partner adopted two, but because of state law couldn’t adopt each other’s children, proving tangible harm to the children who each has only one legal parent.

Solomon said the third reason equality will win in the Supreme court is “where we’ve taken this country.”

He cited several recent polls that each showed more than 60 percent support for marriage equality including a majority of people across the south. He credits the change in polling numbers to several things.

“We shared who we are and talked about why marriage is important to us,” he said. That happened not just in cities, but in suburbs and rural areas of states across the country: “We waged smart political campaigns. We have a great track record of re-electing our friends.”

Solomon said he expects all 50 states to have marriage equality by the end of June and that Equality Texas, working with allies in the Legislature, did a great job this session killing any anti-LGBT and anti-marriage legislation.

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BREAKING: Resolution supporting ‘traditional marriage’ passes in Senate 21-10

Posted on 27 May 2015 at 9:03pm

Dan-PatrickA resolution introduced by Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, supporting “traditional marriage” passed the Senate 21-10 today after testy debate.

Hancock introduced the resolution after Sen. Eddie Lucio II, D-Brownsville, pulled language from HB 2977 that would deny county officials from issuing same-sex marriages. Lucio joined all Republicans in backing the bill.

“I am proud to add my support to that of twenty Republican senators who approved Senate Resolution 1028 as a unified support of traditional marriage between a man and a woman,” wrote Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a press statement. “This effort mirrors the will of 76 percent of Texas voters who previously voted to make this definition a part of the state constitution in 2005.”

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Greenland parliament votes unanimously for marriage equality

Posted on 27 May 2015 at 1:34pm
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Greenland’s largest city, Nuuk

Greenland’s parliament has voted unanimously to legalize same-sex marriage. The country has had civil unions since 1996.

Greenland, the largest island in the world (Australia is a continent, not an island), is a self-governing country with a population of 57,000 within the Kingdom of Denmark. Denmark was the first country to recognize same-sex relationships when it passed a civil union law in 1989, but didn’t offer marriage equality until 2012.

The marriage equality law comes into effect Oct. 1.

This has been a good week for marriage equality. On Saturday, Ireland passed a marriage equality referendum with 62 percent of the vote in an election with heavy voter turnout.

Although there are only 16,000 people in Nuuk, they celebrate Nuuk Pride. Here’s a video from 2014 Nuuk Pride:

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Sanford amendment, HIV bill dead but crucial marriage equality vote set for today

Posted on 27 May 2015 at 1:32pm

texas-capitolTwo pieces of legislation opposed by many LGBT advocates died yesterday, Tuesday, May 26. But marriage equality opponents in the Legislature have one more chance to play political batting practice with same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses before the session ends.

SB 779, by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, and sponsored by Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, is dead. It would have allowed prosecutors to obtain the medical records of defendants with HIV if it is believed the defendant intentionally used their status as a weapon. Advocates for those with HIV and AIDS called the it akin to HIV criminalization.

After a political tug of war, another amendment opposed by LGBT advocates died. McKinney Republican Rep. Scott Sanford’s amendment that would have allowed child welfare organizations, including those with state contracts, to discriminate against LGBT families and children was pulled before it could make a vote.

But one bill still has LGBT advocates on edge.

On Monday, May 25, Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, inserted language in HB 2799 by Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, that would bar county officials from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The language placed  is similar to HB 4105 by Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia.

Committee members, including Democratic Sens. Jose Mendenez of San Antonio and Sylvia Garcia of Houston, objected, saying it and other language was inserted without their knowledge.

It will be voted on today in the Senate.

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Thank a dyke

Posted on 27 May 2015 at 11:54am
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Beautiful Padera Lake saved by a dyke in Midlothian, Texas, home to the North Texas cement industry

Officials in the Ellis County city of Midlothian worried earlier this morning (May 27) that a dam might break, pouring water into an area with 25 homes located in Grand Prairie.

The levee was holding back water in Padera Lake along Highway 287, just north of Midlothian. Recent rain caused a hole in the dam and water had begun pouring over the top of the embankment.

(OK, so if this lake is in Midlothian and Midlothian is the center of the cement production industry for all of North Texas, why is their dam made of mud?)

Later this morning, Ellis County’s engineer and the dam’s builder assessed the situation and said the earthen berm would hold.

In Holland, when a dyke springs a leak, someone sticks a finger in it. Glad this dyke proved to be strong enough to hold back all that water without sticking any fingers anywhere.

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Geller accuses media of enforcing Sharia Law

Posted on 26 May 2015 at 4:20pm

pamelagellerPamela Geller is back in the news.

She announced on her blog she’s going to publish the winning cartoon from her Garland hatefest in ads on buses and trains in D.C.

She complains the media is enforcing Sharia Law and freedom of speech is under attack.

Here’s what she doesn’t understand. Freedom of the press means we have the right to print what we like and don’t have to print what we don’t want. Most media outlets haven’t found any reason to print her winning cartoon, because the only reason it was created was to insult and to incite violence. Had two gunmen not attacked her Garland Klan rally, media would have paid no attention to her event.

Freedom of speech doesn’t entitle her to newspaper coverage. She can print whatever she likes in her blog. She can say whatever she likes, wherever she likes.

Most people believe freedom of speech comes with responsibility. Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should say something. An example is how Westboro Baptist Church pickets military funerals. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Phelps clan has the right to picket, but no one really believes they should.

Freedom of the press comes with responsibilities as well.  An example is when police have asked us not to print information we had because it would jeopardize an investigation. The Constitution says we could print it. Responsible use of freedom of the press told us not to.

Most people understand the concept of respecting other people with different beliefs.

Most people understand that if the only reason to say something is to anger someone else, you might be better off keeping your damn mouth shut.

Geller doesn’t care to take that advice. Her cartoon serves no purpose other than to irritate people, but no one’s stopping her from saying anything. Because I choose not to print her vile cartoon isn’t because this Jewish guy is enforcing Sharia Law. It’s because I see no reason to print something whose sole purpose is to insult Muslim friends of mine.

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