LGBT activist Patti Fink was among the Dallas area Democrats who turned out Monday night for a rally for Wendy Davis and a phone bank for the Democratic slate of candidates. She graciously shared some of her photos with Dallas Voice.
Idaho activists sentenced
A total of 23 LGBT activists arrested in February for protesting at the Idaho Statehouse were sentenced today on charges that included misdemeanor trespassing, and ordered to pay court costs based on the number of times they were arrested during ongoing protests calling for Idaho legislators to add protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s Human Rights Act.
Idaho State Police made more than 190 arrests by the time the legislative session ended in March. Among those sentenced today were two women who both lost children to suicide because of anti-LGBT discrimination.
Read more here at Pink News.
Maryland offers trans employees improved health benefits
FreeState Legal Project announced today that the state of Maryland has removed language from its employee health benefits policy denied coverage to transgender state employees for transition-related health care. The state made the change as part of settlement of a legal claim filed by FreeState Legal on behalf of Sailor Holobaugh.
Read details here at FreeState Legal Project.
Obama endangers religious freedom in America (not really)
Fox News commentator Todd Starnes barely let the ink dry on President Obama’s executive order banning discrimination against LGBT people by those contracting with the federal government before he posted this “sky is falling” rant warning that the president is endangering religious freedom.
Starnes offers this quote from Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy dtudies at the Family Research Council: “This level of coercion is nothing less than viewpoint blackmail that bullies into silence every contractor and subcontractor who has moral objections to homosexual behavior.”
Lesbian tossed from water park for wearing men’s swimwear
And also from Pink News:
Jill Sweeney of Indiana believes she was kicked out of WildWater Adventure in Muskegon, Michigan on July 9 after spending only three hours at the park for her bachelorette party because she was wearing men’s swimming trunks, a tank top, and a sports bra, and because she is a lesbian.
WildWater Adventure General Manager Camille Mark said guests at the water park are required to wear swimsuits, no street clothes allowed, and that Sweeney’s sports bra was considered street clothes. She also said Sweeney’s sexual orientation had nothing to do with the situation.
Read more here.
Award-winning actress and progressive activist Susan Sarandon has made this video (below) for the Human Rights Campaign’s marriage equality campaign. She says: “While marriage might not be my thing, if it’s your thing you damn well ought to be able to have it equally and unequivocally.”
Estate planning attorney Lorie Burch and family law attorney Jaime Dugan are teaming up to present a seminar on how recent legal trends and court decisions regarding marriage equality can impact LGBT couples, and the best way to start planning for the future. The seminar will be held Wednesday, July 23, 6:30-8 p.m., at the Frisco Public LiIbrary, 6101 Frisco Square Blvd., Sye. 3000.
The seminar is free and open to the public. If you have any questions, call Lorie Burch’s office at 972-385–0558.
Equality Texas will present a similar seminar Aug. 2, beginning at 2 p.m., at Resource Center’s John Thomas LGBT Community Center, 2701 Reagan St. Reserve your seat today with an RSVP to Amy Ford at AEFord@ft.newyorklife.com.
Dallas’ LULAC Council #102 is looking for volunteers to escort refugee children being brought to DFW from the Texas/Mexico border.
“We need Guardian Angels for these children in case they are confronted by the hatemongers and bigots we saw this weekend,” noted a LULAC email sent out this afternoon that issued the “call to action”. Anyone interested in volunteering should email their contact info to email@example.com to get signed up for training and to be provided with legal and community logistics info.
“Religious community leaders of all faiths are strongly encouraged to volunteer,” according to the email, which quoted Matthew 25:40: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the lest of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins told Stonewall Democrats last week that the flood of unaccompanied children from violence-torn Central American countries is a humanitarian crisis, and urged the LGBT community to get involved to help. Jenkins made national headlines when he stepped forward to offer a place for the children to go until their situations can be resolved.
Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., activists with the youth-led immigration reform group United We Dream staged a mock funeral for the Republican Party today in the halls of the Dirksen and Hart senate buildings. The protesters, carrying a mock coffin, said the GOP is dead to them because of the party’s stance on immigration reform.
Many of the protesters carried rainbow flags to symbolize their belief that immigration reform is inextricably tied to LGBT rights issues.
President Barack Obama signed an executive order this morning barring federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law estimates that the order would protect nearly 34 million employees nationwide, or about one-fifth of the nation’s workforce.
A fact sheet provided by the White House cites wide-ranging public support for barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
You can read the full text of the order here.
Check out the video here:
President Obama announced today he will sign an executive order on Monday that bars federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The president said last month that he planned to sign the two orders.
The announcement follows the recent collapse of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — ENDA — in Congress. LGBT groups withdrew their support for the bill in opposition to its sweeping religious exemptions, which many feared would basically gut protections following the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. The Huffington Post’s Gay Voices editor-at-large Michelangelo Signorile has more on the collapse here.
UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute’s research suggests that up to 34 million employees, or one fifth of the national workforce, will be included.
Senior White Officials noted that President Obama will not include exemptions for contractors based on their religious beliefs, as many activists initially feared. But he will keep intact an amendment signed by George W. Bush in 2002 allowing religiously affiliated contractors to discriminate on the basis of religion.
Fort Worth Police Department is looking for a few good men — and women — to join the force, and they are specifically looking for recruits from the city’s diverse communities. Here is a video by Chris, an openly gay officer, talking about his experience as an officer with FWPD and encouraging other LGBT people to consider joining the department too.
Pretty cute video. Check it out.
Dallas Tavern Guild Executive Director Michael Doughman has announced that the Family Pride Zone will not return to the Festival in Lee Park this year. The Tavern Guild is the organization that produces the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade — Dallas’ annual LGBT Pride parade — each year and the festival held immediately following the parade.
“The Family Pride Zone at the Festival in Lee Park last year was an absolute social success and the community responded very positively to its presence as a part of Dallas Pride. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a great financial success,” Doughman said in a letter to sponsors who had already signed up for the Family Pride Zone this year. “Due to that fact and the lack of sponsorship dollars for 2014, we have had to cancel all plans for a Family Pride Zone at the 2014 Festival in Lee Park.”
Doughman went on to say DTG officials considered the Family Pride Zone “a valuable and exciting new growth piece to Dallas Pride,” and added that organizers “are not abandoning the concept and plan an aggressive sponsorship campaign for next year to garner funding to produce the Family Pride Zone in 2015.”
He said that any sponsorship fees for Family Pride Zone 2014 that have already been paid will be refunded.
The Family Pride Zone, held last year for the first time, was a section of Lee Park set aside as an alcohol-free, family-friendly area designated specifically for families with younger children. Doughman noted that Dallas Pride was the first Pride celebration in Texas to establish such a space.
For information on being part of Family Pride Zone 2015, email Doughman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214-358-4006.
A gay D.I.S.D. investigator was escorted out of his office by police late Thursday evening and put on paid leave, the Dallas Morning News reports. Jeremy Liebbe was first profiled in the Dallas Voice in 2011. It was believed that, at the time, he may be one of only a handful of out gay male officers in North Texas. Liebbe was a visible presence in the LGBT community, actively involved with security at Dallas Pride and creating a self-defense course at Youth First.
Then a narcotics investigator with the school district, he has since risen through the ranks to become one of its top investigators. He was most recently promoted to head of the district’s Professional Standards Office, the investigative unit of the district’s the human resources department. Known for his aggressive interrogations, he recently lead the investigation that resulted in 15 athletic employees losing their jobs.
Before the district placed him on leave, Liebbe was investigating allegations that a top district official lied on a district application about the official’s criminal history.
André Riley, a district spokesman, confirmed Liebbe was on leave but did not elaborate any further. In an e-mail to DMN, Riley said that Leibbe’s behavior after the athletics investigation resulted in his leave, not the results of the investigation itself.
Liebbe’s lawyer, Peter Schulte told DMN that Liebbe has done nothing illegal. But he worries that Liebbe may have been put on leave in retaliation for his investigations.
“It is always a little concerning when the chief investigator of the administrative side of any organization, but especially a government organization, is placed on leave without appropriate notice,” Schulte said. “Because the public has to have trust and integrity in the people who are overseeing what’s happening.”