Alexandre’s seeking wreaths for annual Christmas Wreath Auction

Posted on 09 Dec 2014 at 10:07am

wreathAlexandre’s, 4026 Cedar Springs Road, is looking for original wreath donations no larger than 48 inches for the upcoming Annual Wreath Auction from 8–10 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 14. The wreath auctions benefits No Tie Dinner/Purple Party.

Organizers request all wreaths be submitted with an entry form providing a brief description of the wreath, its estimated value and the name of the donating individual or organization. The entry forms can be picked up anytime at Alexandre’s.

Wreaths may be dropped off at any time and up until the day of the event.

The fundraiser, hosted this year by Wayne Smith, is now in its seventh year. The Christmas Wreath Auction was created in 2006, by bar owner Lee Daugherty as an original and fun way to raise funds for local charities.  The auction has raised more than $25,000 for a variety of Dallas charities since its inception.

The pre-party begins at 7 p.m. Sunday, with catered food, drink specials and the opportunity for silent bidding before the auction.

Wreaths will be on display for viewing and silent bidding inside Alexandre’s before and on Dec. 14.

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Texas won’t issue driver’s license to gay man because he’s married

Posted on 08 Dec 2014 at 1:19pm

Screen shot 2014-12-08 at 1.11.38 PMAccording to a report in the Des Moines Register, an Iowa gay couple who moved to an Austin suburb can’t get Texas drivers license because of their marriage.

Michael Miller Gribble changed his name on all legal documents after he and his husband married. When they moved to Texas, he brought his marriage license and birth certificate to apply for his new driver’s license. He was turned away because Texas won’t recognize a marriage license from a same-sex couple as proof of a name change.

He was told he could either get a divorce or a legal name change. Opposite-sex couples do not need a court-order to change last names. A marriage license is proof of the change.

The newspaper reports that couples from Iowa have had similar problems in Nebraska, Florida and South Dakota. Iowa has been a marriage-equality state since 2009.

Gribble applied for a passport that will reflect his new name. He can use that as proof of who he is rather than a marriage license and birth certificate.

He pointed out the extra cost and inconvenience involved and pointed out the unfair financial penalties of being gay or lesbian that goes against the constitutional guarantee of equal protection.

This isn’t the first time that the state of Texas has refused to issue a driver’s license because of a same-sex-marriage-related name change. It happened earlier this year to a lesbian who legally married her female partner in California and then moved with her wife to Texas. And in October, Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced on Twitter that the state refused to give her 16-year-old daughter a driver’s license because the girl’s birth certificate listed two moms.

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UPDATE: Justice Department releases new policy to curb police profiling

Posted on 08 Dec 2014 at 12:03pm

eric holder.small

Update:

The Justice Department released today, Dec. 8, new policies aimed to curb profiling by law enforcement based on sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and national origin, expanding on a 2003 decision to bar profiling based on race and ethnicity. You can read the new policy here.

“As Attorney General, I have repeatedly made clear that profiling by law enforcement is not only wrong, it is profoundly misguided and ineffective – because it wastes precious resources and undermines the public trust,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

Holder said the policy is necessary especially in light of numerous recent incidents involving police brutality. “It brings enhanced training, oversight, and accountability to federal law enforcement across the country, so that isolated acts of discrimination do not tarnish the exemplary work that’s performed by the overwhelming majority of America’s hard-working law enforcement officials each and every day.”

The new guidance also applies to state and local law enforcement law officers who participate in federal law enforcement task forces.

The National Center for Transgender Equality in a statement welcomed the extension but criticized its numerous loopholes. “Discrimination is not something we need to keep us safe— it’s bad police work, it’s unconstitutional, and it makes us all less safe,” said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling.

According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 46% of transgender people say they would feel somewhat or very uncomfortable seeking police assistance, while only 35% said they would feel comfortable doing so. 22% of all trans people and 38% of Black trans people report experiencing transphobic police harassment—while 6% of all trans people, 9% of trans Latinos, and 15% of Black trans people report having experienced a transphobic assault by police.

Holder announced his resignation last month. President Obama nominated federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch of Brooklyn to replace him.

Original story:

Attorney General Eric Holder is set to announce today, Dec. 8, a new policy barring law enforcement officials from profiling based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, national origin and religion, The Washington Blade reports.

The policy expands a 2003 decision to bar profiling based on race and ethnicity.

The policy has been in five years in the making.

“With this new guidance, we take a major and important step forward to ensure effective policing by federal law enforcement officials and state and local law enforcement participating in federal task forces throughout the nation,” Holder said in a statement.

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BREAKING: Suspects arrested in Ashlea Harris murder

Posted on 06 Dec 2014 at 9:02pm

0700 flashTwo suspects have been arrested in connection to the murder of Ashlea Harris.

Per the Fort Worth Police Department:

Clarence David Mallory and Carter Carol Cervantez were signed and bond for each was set at $500,000.

On December 5, 2014,Mallory was taken into custody by Amarillo based members of the United States Marshal Service North Texas Fugitive Task Force.  He was apprehended at a private residence without incident.  Mallory was booked into Potter County Jail.  Fort Worth Police Department Fugitive Officers travelled to Amarillo and transported Mallory to the Fort Worth Police Homicide Unit to be interviewed by detectives.  After speaking with detectives, Mallory will be booked into the Fort Worth Jail for Capital Murder and an additional charge of Theft $1500-$20,000 with a bond of $100,000.

On Dec. 6, 2014, Cervantez was taken into custody by Tarrant County Sherriffs and was then transported to the Fort Worth Jail by Fugitive Officers where she was booked in on the Capital Murder warrant with a bond of $500,000 as well as a warrant for Theft $1,500 to $20,000 with a bond of $100,000.

Both Mallory and Cervantez have been arrested in reference to a theft of approximately $18,000 from the American Eagle Outfitters located at the Hulen Mall.  This offense occurred on Aug. 24, 2014 and was reported on Fort Worth Police Department offense #14-81057.  Homicide Detectives took over this investigation on Dec. 1, 2014.

No word on yet motives. More to come as the story develops.

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Dallas police seek help in identifying suspect

Posted on 05 Dec 2014 at 2:56pm

Screen shot 2014-12-05 at 2.48.03 PM

Dallas police have received a large number of reports in the last week of vehicle burglaries in the Uptown area, and have asked for the public’s help in identifying a suspect in at least one of the incidents.

The man, pictured above, is described as a Latin male, age 25-30, driving a late-model red- or maroon-colored Jeep with four doors and paper tags. He was photographed by a security camera committing one of the vehicle burglaries.

Most of the offenses have occurred in apartment complex parking garages, with several vehicles targeted during a single offense. The suspect or suspects are hitting vehicles in which electronics have been left.

Anyone that can identify the suspect or who has additional information is asked to contact the Dallas Police Central Investigative Unit at 214-670-4414.

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UPDATE: Defined benefit retirement plans must also recognize same-sex marriages

Posted on 05 Dec 2014 at 2:40pm
David-Henderson

David Mack Henderson

In the Dec. 5 issue of Dallas Voice, we reported on the discovery by Resource Center Communications and Advocacy Manager Rafael McDonnell and Fairness Fort Worth President David Mack Henderson that the Internal Revenue Service requires that defined contribution retirement plans — such as 401(a), 401(k) and 125 cafeteria plans —  recognize same-sex spouses of plan members if the couple were married in a jurisdiction that legally recognizes such marriages — even if the couple lives in a state that bans marriage equality.

Henderson has since discovered that defined benefit plans must also recognize same-sex spouses:

“From Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for Individuals of the Same Sex Who Are Married Under State Law:
Q17. What are some examples of the consequences of these rules for qualified retirement plans?
A17. The following are some examples of the consequences of these rules:
Plan A, a qualified defined benefit plan, is maintained by Employer X, which operates only in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages. Nonetheless, Plan A must treat a participant who is married to a spouse of the same sex under the laws of a different jurisdiction as married for purposes of applying the qualification requirements that relate to spouses.”

A defined benefit pension plan is a type of pension plan in which an employer/sponsor promises a specified monthly benefit on retirement that is predetermined by a formula based on the employee’s earnings history, tenure of service and age, rather than depending directly on individual investment returns. A defined contribution plan, on the other hand, does not promise a specific amount of benefits at retirement. In these plans, the employee or the employer (or both) contribute to the employee’s individual account under the plan, sometimes at a set rate.

You can also find information on the Equality Texas website.

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The Conservative Conundrum: Does anti-gay bigotry trump negative economic impact?

Posted on 04 Dec 2014 at 8:13am

Which of these images really matters most to conservatives? Because their policies are at odds with themselves

holding handsConservatives have been beating the dual drumbeat of “family values” (i.e., hate-based bigotry) and “fiscal responsibility” (i.e., cutting taxes on the rich and denying services to the poor). But what if these policies were verifiably at odds with each other? What if being anti-marriage-equality was also anti-growth?

Well that’s just what the consulting firm Oliver Wyman has figured out.

In a report released last month called The Cost of Inconsistency: Quantifying the Economic Burden to American Business from the Patchwork Quilt of Marriage Laws, the authors arrived at some staggering conclusions. Among them: Every day of marriage inequality across the nation costs the private sector at least $3.5 million (the annual cost would pay the salaries of 19,000 workers); same-sex couples pay more in taxes than similarly-situated opposite-sex couples, and states without marriage equality bear the brunt of this burden (what about cutting taxes as a tenet of conservatism?); the five-year savings since the overturning of DOMA is estimated at $3.3 billion … but if marriage laws were uniform nationwide, it would amount to $9.7 billion.

So the question is: With marriage equality having such a profound fiscal impact, why resist it?

They might argue that inconsistency is the problem … so what we need is a nationwide ban on same-sex marriage. Of course, that’s idiotic, since they fought like dogs to let each state decide, and many states (and the Supreme Court more or less) have decided already that same-sex marriage is a right. If even one (not to mention 30-something) state finds the right, then the others much follow suit, not go regressive.

For the Huckabees and Santorums and Perrys still not convinced, the report offered this quote from an Ohio small businessman. He said:

“We are a fast-growing tech business committed to building our business in Cleveland. It’s been hard enough to compete with New York, Chicago, or D.C. for talent, but now we are at a further disadvantage because Ohio doesn’t recognize the legal marriages of same-sex couples. I know of cases where corporations want key employees to transfer to Ohio but they refuse because our state doesn’t recognize their marriage. This puts Ohio business at a disadvantage in the fight for recruiting talent.”

Talent, GOPers. You want to encourage talent. Entrepreneurialship. Fairness. Equality is a tide that lifts all boats. If you weren’t so busy pandering to the Religious Right in this country because you’re terrified they won’t be terrified, you’d already have done the right thing. Which, as it turns out, is also the “Right” thing.

You can read (or download) the full report here.

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BREAKING: 11th Circuit refuses to extend stay on marriage equality in Florida

Posted on 03 Dec 2014 at 3:04pm

Screen shot 2014-12-03 at 3.02.46 PMEquality Florida has just announced that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the state of Florida’s request to extend the stay placed on a lower court’s ruling overturning the Sunshine State’s ban on marriage equality.

This clears the way for same-sex couples to begin applying for marriage licenses late on Jan. 5 when the current stay expires.

Nadine Smith, Equality Florida CEO, said, “We are thrilled … . Every day of delay is another day of harm experienced by thousands of loving and committed same-sex couples in Florida. Now it’s time to break out the wedding bells. Florida is ready for the freedom to marry.”

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle issued his ruling declaring Florida’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional on Aug. 21 in two federal marriage cases that had been consolidated — Brenner v. Scott  and Grimsley and Albu v. Scott. The state, represented by Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi, had asked the 11th Circuit Court to extend the stay until the appeals process is complete. Today, the 11th Circuit said no to that request.

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Arizona pastor says cure for AIDS is gay genocide

Posted on 03 Dec 2014 at 1:13pm
Screen shot 2014-12-03 at 1.07.06 PM

So-called “pastor,” Steven Anderson

Faithful Word Baptist Church Pastor Steven Anderson celebrated World AIDS Day 2014 by sharing with his Tempe, Az. congregation the cure for AIDS: kill all the gays.

According to RawStory.com, in a sermon he titled “AIDS: The Judgement of God,” said that the we could have an “AIDS-free world by Christmas” simply by following Old Testament scripture.”Turn to Leviticus 20:13, because I actually discovered the cure for AIDS. ‘If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.’

“And that, my friend, is the cure for AIDS. It was right there in the Bible all along. And they’re out spending billions of dollars in research and test. It’s curable — right there. Because if you executed the homos like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant,” Anderson told his congregation Sunday, Nov. 30, the day before World AIDS Day,

In that same sermon, Anderson shouted out a furious denial of the idea that LGBT people can be Christian, declaring that “No homos will ever be allowed in this church as long as I am pastor here.”

But “the homos” aren’t the only folks Anderson hates. According to IfYouOnlyNews.com, he got in trouble with the Secret Service in 2009 after he posted a video online in which he openly prayed for President Obama to die (he did it again this year); he has preached that women have no purpose outside the kitchen and the bedroom and should certainly never speak in church; and he has preached that Jews are all vile liars.

If you have the stomach for it, here’s video of Anderson, first, calling for gay genocide, and second, declaring there will never be any homos in his church.
You can probably find more of his so-called sermons on YouTube; he seems to be quite proud of his ignorance, bigotry and hatefulness.

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DC Council bans conversion therapy

Posted on 02 Dec 2014 at 3:57pm
Screen shot 2014-12-02 at 3.53.50 PM

Samantha Ames

The District of Columbia Council today (Tuesday, Dec. 2), unanimously approved a bill protecting LGBT youth from the practice of conversion therapy. When the statute is signed into law, Washington, D.C., will become the third jurisdiction, behind California and New Jersey, to ban conversion therapy, also called reparative therapy, a discredited practice intended to turn gay people straight.

Samantha Ames, staff attorney for National Center for Lesbian Rights and coordinator of NCLR’s Born Perfect campaign, praised the council’s vote.

“The DC Council sent a powerful message to LGBT youth and their families that they are accepted, supported, and loved,” Ames said. “The Council has used its authority to protect our most vulnerable youth from dangerous and discredited pseudoscience that tells them who they are is wrong, and reaffirmed the consensus of every major medical and mental health organization that all children are born perfect, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The bill — the Youth Mental Health Protection Act — was authored by Councilmember Mary M. Cheh and supported by a broad coalition of organization that included NCLR, other LGBT organizations, mental health organizations, faith leaders, youth advocates, reproductive justice groups and civil rights organizations.

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