WATCH: Footage of GetEQUAL TX members’ arrests at Texas Capitol

Posted on 03 May 2013 at 12:58pm

Screen shot 2013-05-03 at 12.00.19 PM

GetEQUAL members were arrested for trespassing in two state Senate offices earlier this week when they attempted to speak to the senators on a committee that heard SB 237, a state employment nondiscrimination bill.

Those arrested were Cd Kirven of Dallas, Erin Jennings and Jennifer Falcon of San Antonio, Tiffani Bishop of Austin and Koby Ozias of Corpus Christi.

Michael Diviesti notes that Jennings, who is a trans woman, was properly placed in a female cell. Ozias, who is a trans male, was also placed in a female cell and booked under his female name Stephanie Dees.

Austin CBS affiliate KEYE posted the below video of the arrests:

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Georgia governor is too homophobic to use the word ‘homophobia’

Posted on 03 May 2013 at 12:11pm
Deal

Nathan Deal

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is taking a page right out of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings’ For-You-But-Against-You book.

That’s right, Dallas may have the mayor who supports marriage equality yet somehow doesn’t, but Georgia can now rightfully stake its claim to the governor who’s too homophobic to use the word “homophobia.”

The Georgia Voice reports that Deal has issued a proclamation requested by organizers of the International Day Against Homophobia — but only after sanitizing it into “Mistreatment Awareness Day.”

This has prompted activists to launch a Change.org petition calling for Deal to call IDAHO by its name:

In Georgia, well-known activist Betty Couvertier has been the IDAHO organizer for the last four years. For the second year in a row, Governor Nathan Deal’s office has issued a proclamation per Betty’s request to recognize the annual Atlanta and Georgia-wide events. Herein lies the problem – the Governor’s office refuses to officially address a day against homophobia, instead issuing the vague recognition of “Mistreatment Awareness Day,” as they did last year.

By sanitizing the word “homophobia,” Governor Deal’s office has quite literally engaged in it, by refusing to address the specific concerns of Georgia’s LGBTQ citizens. The Georgia House of Representatives recognizes the importance of this event by issuing a correct proclamation, as should the Office of the Governor.

Please join us in petitioning Governor Deal’s office to immediatley reissue a proclamation for “International Day Against Homophobia” as it was originally requested. To issue a proclamation as anything else, is to do disservice to the very purpose of IDAHO events, and feed the homophobia worldwide organizers seek to advocate against.

The petition also calls for Deal to “mail the official proclamation in an appropriate certificate envelope, to ensure it does not arrive a second time folded and tattered, signifying diminished value by the Governor’s office.”

Sign it by going here.

And by the way, if anyone wants to start petition on Rawlings, we’ll be glad to post it as well.

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BREAKING: Police arrest suspect in gay Oak Cliff man’s murder

Posted on 02 May 2013 at 4:22pm
Beachum.Chris

Christopher Howard Beachum

Christopher Howard Beachum, wanted in the murder of a gay man in Oak Cliff, was taken into custody in Eugene, Ore. late this afternoon.

On Monday, Dallas police issued an arrest warrant for the 27-year-old Beachum on a charge of capital murder. The warrant alleges that Beachum murdered 68-year-old Gerald Canepa in his home at 1430 S. Montreal Ave. on March 15.

Beachum allegedly stabbed and strangled Canepa to death after the two had arranged to have sex after they met on Craigslist. According to the warrant, Canepa was found nude on his bed on March 18 with multiple stab wounds. A TV, DVD player, computers and Canepa’s cell phone had been removed from the residence.

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GetEQUAL TX activists released on bail, promise more actions

Posted on 02 May 2013 at 12:13pm
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Cd Kirven as she was escorted out of the Capitol

Cd Kirven and four other GetEQUAL TX activists were released on $1,500 bail each on Wednesday. They were charged with class-B misdemeanors.

The five held sit-ins in state Senate offices to protest Senate bill SB 237 not being moved to the Senate floor for a vote. The legislation is a statewide LGBT employment nondiscrimination law.

“We have three weeks to push hard,” Kirven said.

GetEQUAL TX had threatened action if the bill was not moved to the Senate floor by May 1. Kirven said additional actions are planned.

While they were being arrested, Kirven said she was talking to officers about the lack of workplace protection for LGBT people.

“No wonder you’re doing this,” she said her arresting officer told her.

Kirven said a vote from just one of four Republican Senators targeted is needed to move the bill to the floor.

A preliminary hearing for the arrested activists is set for May 15, but defense attorney Dax Garvin left the country this morning for several weeks. His associate Makenna Hatter said the first hearing is always reset in Travis County so the case will probably be rescheduled for the end of the month.

Garvin also represents Dallas marriage-equality demonstrators Major and Beau Jiminez.

Kirven said GetEQUAL plans polling place demonstrations on May 11 when municipal elections are held throughout the state to let the public know about the lack of workplace protections. She said other actions are planned in and around the Capitol through the session until the bill moves to the floor of both houses for a vote.

Class-B misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or a jail sentence of up to 180 days. The court may also impose a maximum of two years of probation or three years of community supervision with an extension.

Kirven said she’s not sure if the charges against the group will stick. The Texas Capitol is considered public park land.

“You can’t criminally trespass on public land,” she said.

In 2010, Kirven was arrested in former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in Washington, D.C., demonstrating for the federal ENDA bill. After serving six months probation, charges were dismissed.

After posting bail in Austin on Wednesday night, Kirven returned to Dallas and got home about 3 a.m.

“They haven’t seen the last of us,” Kirven said.

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The hypocrisy of Mayor Rawlings

Posted on 02 May 2013 at 8:42am

DMNmetrofront

The above image — from the front of today’s Dallas Morning News Metro section — highlights the hypocrisy of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings’ argument that marriage equality isn’t a city issue.

Public education, of course, isn’t technically a city issue, either. The school district is run by an elected school board, which appoints a superintendent. Neither the mayor nor the City Council has any jurisdiction over the school district. But as you can see from the headline, Rawlings isn’t shy about wading into public eduction issues. I’m not saying he’s wrong for that. I’m saying it’s hypocritical for him to turn around and argue that a resolution expressing support for the basic civil rights of tens of thousands of Dallas residents is a “misuse” of the council’s time.

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Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings suggests LGBT civil rights are a waste of time

Posted on 01 May 2013 at 4:03pm
Mayor Mike Rawlings speaks during an LGBT Pride Month Reception at City Hall in June 2011.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday that he thinks a proposed City Council resolution backing marriage equality and LGBT employment protections is “a misuse of City Council time.”

As we reported Tuesday, Councilman Scott Griggs, who authored the resolution, says he believes it has the eight votes needed to pass. Griggs filed the resolution last Friday, and Rawlings now has until June 12 to place it on the council agenda.

Later Tuesday, Rawlings’ chief of staff told the Morning News that the mayor hadn’t read the resolution, even though he received a copy of it three weeks ago. Then, on Wednesday, Rawlings told The DMN’s Rudy Bush that while he personally supports marriage equality, he doesn’t think the council should debate political issues over which it has no power:

“I don’t want to be talking about late-term abortions, or gun control, or GITMO,” he said.

To do so is “a misuse of City Council time.”

Well, personally I’d argue that the city should be involved in gun control. Besides, Rawlings has not been shy about getting involved in other issues the city doesn’t control, including public education.

Furthermore, although the city doesn’t have direct control over marriage equality or employment discrimination outside its limits, the council can certainly exert some influence.

Dallas has had an ordinance banning anti-LGBT employment discrimination since 2002, so it would only be logical for the council to give its blessing to a statewide law — especially when enforcement of the city’s ban has been inhibited by the lack of a state or federal statute. In fact, Rawlings reportedly agreed last year to travel to Austin and lobby in favor of statewide LGBT employment protections. But now he’s getting cold feet about a council resolution?

The “misuse of City Council time” excuse is similar to one Rawlings used last year when he refused to sign a pledge in support of marriage equality. At the time, he said he wanted to focus on “substantive” things, not “symbolic” ones like the pledge.

But symbols do matter, and any expert will tell you that the U.S. Supreme Court, which is about to decide two key marriage equality cases, is influenced by public opinion.

And those 300-plus mayors from across the U.S. who did sign the marriage pledge? Turns out they ended up filing a friend-of-the-court brief in one of the marriage equality cases. Now, what could possibly be more substantive than that?

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5 GetEQUAL TX activists arrested in ENDA protest at Texas Capitol

Posted on 01 May 2013 at 11:10am
Kirven

Cd Kirven

Cd Kirven of Dallas was among five GetEQUAL members arrested at the Texas Capitol this morning, according to KEYE, the CBS affiliate in Austin.

The five held a sit-in at the offices Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville and Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury and refused to leave. The protest was in support of SB 237, statewide employment nondiscrimination legislation that would add sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to categories protected under the law.

According to GetEQUAL state organizer Michael Diviesti, after the bill was heard in the Economic Development Committee in April, the group threatened action if it was not moved to the Senate floor by May 1.

“This is a follow-up to that promise,” he said.

According to Diviesti, the other four arrested were Coby Ozias from Corpus Christi, Tiffani Bishop from Austin and two women from San Antonio whose names he could not confirm. He said Ozias, who is trans, would have a different name on the court docket.

They are awaiting a bail hearing.

“If all five got the maximum, we’re about $450 short,” he said.

Kirven was arrested for a similar protest in Washington D.C. when she participated in a similar demonstration in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.

Watch video from the protest below.

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Scott Griggs files marriage equality resolution, says it has votes to pass

Posted on 30 Apr 2013 at 3:36pm
Griggs.Scott

Scott Griggs

Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs says he has the eight votes needed to pass a resolution in support of marriage equality and statewide LGBT employment protections.

Griggs has said he didn’t want to place the item on the agenda until he was sure it had the eight votes needed to pass. He told me Friday that in addition to the seven council members who’ve previously indicated support for the resolution, Sandy Greyson is now a yes. Greyson couldn’t immediately be reached to confirm her position. The other seven supporters are Griggs and co-author Delia Jasso, along with Angela Hunt, Pauline Medrano, Monica Alonzo, Jerry Allen and Dwaine Caraway.

It remains unclear whether Mayor Mike Rawlings will vote in favor of the resolution.

The only definite “no” vote is Vonciel Hill, who has made her anti-gay positions clear. Another likely “no” is Sheffie Kadane, who attends First Baptist Church of Dallas. Linda Koop, Ann Margolin, Carolyn Davis and Tennell Atkins are question marks.

Griggs filed a memo Friday with the five signatures needed to place the resolution on the agenda, and Rawlings now has 30 days plus one meeting to do so. The latest the mayor could place the item on the agenda is June 12.

Paula Blackmon, Rawlings’ chief of staff, confirmed Monday she had received Griggs’ memo.

“Yes I received the signed memo this morning and will have to check with attorney/city secretary/city manager on timing,” Blackmon wrote in an email.

Asked whether the mayor would vote for the resolution, Blackmon said Tuesday: “I do not know. We take one agenda item at a time.”

Blackmon reportedly told the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday that Rawlings was traveling and had not seen the resolution. However, Griggs copied Dallas Voice on a draft of the resolution he sent to both Blackmon and Rawlings on April 9. (Click here to see a screen grab of the email.)

The City Secretary’s Office sent over the below copy of the memo and resolution.

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BREAKING: Resource Center Dallas to take over Youth First Texas on June 1

Posted on 30 Apr 2013 at 1:05pm

yftResource Center Dallas will assume all programming from Youth First Texas on June 1 as a result of an agreement reached between the two organizations, according to a release from RCD this afternoon. 

This will ensure a continuation of programming for LGBTQ youth, which was in doubt earlier this year after the previous YFT board had dwindled and remaining members either resigned or were removed.

After RCD assumes YFT programming, YFT will become a program of RCD. Programming will continue with YFT’s current staff and volunteers at its present location at 3918 Harry Hines Blvd.

Our strategic vision is to expand programs for seniors, families and youth,” RCD CEO Cece Cox said in the release. “As Resource Center Dallas nears its 30th anniversary, we are eager to take on the new challenges of serving our community’s youth and plan to work with the youth to develop additional programs and services. We will build upon the significant foundation and broad community support established by Youth First Texas over their 13 years of service.”

Richard Gordon was one of YFT’s first board members. He returned to the board in January to become interim chair after all previous board member resigned.

I am confident that the LGBTQ youth of North Texas will greatly benefit by the Center taking on the programming offered by Youth First,” Gordon said. “After extensive review and discussion, it was decided that this move to the Center will provide the much-needed stability and support that our LGTBQ youth deserve.”

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Police say Oak Cliff man was murdered by suspect he met on Craigslist

Posted on 30 Apr 2013 at 10:37am
Beachum.Chris

Christopher Howard Beachum

Dallas police have issued an arrest warrant in the murder of a gay Oak Cliff resident whom they believe was stabbed and strangled to death by a man he’d arranged to have sex with after they met on Craigslist.

Police on Monday issued an arrest warrant for the suspect, 27-year-old Christopher Howard Beachum of Addison, on a charge of capital murder. The warrant alleges that Beachum, who remains at large, murdered 68-year-old Gerald Canepa in his home at 1430 S. Montreal Ave. on March 15.

According to the warrant, Canepa was found nude on his bed on March 18 with multiple stab wounds. A TV, DVD player, computers and Canepa’s cell phone had been removed from the residence.

Canepa’s email records showed he’d exchanged messages with Beachum, who indicated he was going to Canepa’s house to have sex before their last correspondence at 12:29 a.m.on March 15.

Gerald Canepa

Gerald Canepa

Records indicated that Canepa’s cell phone was detected by a cell tower one-half mile from Beachum’s residence in Addison at 1:51 a.m.

Police say Beachum pawned two cameras and several DVDs belonging to Canepa on March 18.

According to an obituary in the Dallas Morning News, Canepa had recently retired from the Dallas school district after 31 years as a computer programmer.

“Gerry has left us forever memories of his smile, kind heart, love for cycling around White Rock Lake, his love for his dog Buddy, gourmet cooking, his beautiful roses, driving his red 2012 convertible Camaro, and the special moments shared with family, close friends, and neighbors throughout the years,” the obit states.

The full warrant is below.

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