Police: Austin man killed daughter’s girlfriend, girlfriend’s mother over lesbian relationship

Posted on 19 Apr 2011 at 6:15pm

Norma Hurtado

Horribly tragic news tonight out of Austin, where authorities say a man killed his daughter’s girlfriend and the girlfriend’s mother because he was upset that his daughter was in a lesbian relationship. The Austin American-Statesman reports:

Jose Alfonso Aviles, 45, has been charged with capital murder and was arrested early this morning in Bexar County by the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, said Lt. Gena Curtis. Aviles lives in Austin, but was found in San Antonio, police said.

Aviles’ daughter had been dating 24-year-old Norma Hurtado for several months, which was the source of feuding between the Aviles and Hurtado families, Curtis said.

The daughter told police that she was “in a lesbian relationship which her father did not approve of.”

Aviles and another Hispanic man, who has not been identified, went to the Hurtado’s home at the 7100 block of Dixie Drive late Monday and knocked on the door, Curtis said. Moments later, Aviles’ daughter, who was in the home, heard gun shots and found that Hurtado and Hurtado’s mother, 57-year-old Maria Hurtado, had been shot, police said.

Both women died at the scene, police said.

KVUE reports that Aviles’ daughter was in the back of the home when the shootings occurred. She heard the shots, found the bodies and called 911. Police are still trying to locate the second man involved in the killings. Watch the report above.

The San Antonio Express-News has more on Aviles’ arrest:

Officials had been searching for several hours for a Nissan Altima that Aviles was believed to have been driving and found it in a car port in the Bexar County community of St. Hedwig early Tuesday, Hogeland said.

About 30 San Antonio police officers and U.S. Marshals, backed by canines and SAPD’s helicopter Blue Eagle, surrounded Aviles around 3:30 a.m., officials said, and he surrendered.

Police say it will be up to the District Attorney’s Office whether to prosecute the case as a hate crime. Although Travis County has a lesbian district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, we’d say it’s unlikely that will happen. Texas’ hate crimes statute includes “sexual preference.” However, under the statute, there is no penalty enhancement available to prosecutors if the crime is already a capital felony. In other words, the DA’s office would have nothing to gain from prosecuting the case as a hate crime, but it could increase their burden of proof.

Stay tuned to Instant Tea for updates.

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Unconfirmed reports indicate Sen. Royce West plans to vote in favor of trans marriage ban

Posted on 19 Apr 2011 at 4:56pm
Sen. Royce West

UPDATE: Kelvin Bass, a spokesman for Sen. West, returned my call regarding SB 723. According to Bass: “The Senator was not aware of this bill until reading the Dallas Voice article and had not yet formed an opinion but he will not be supporting the bill.” Although West’s office says he plans to vote against the bill, advocates are still urging people to contact other Democrats in the Senate and ask them to vote against the bill. Again, if no Democrats support the bill, it will die. Contact info for Senate Democrats can be found here.

ORIGINAL POST: Cristan Williams, the executive director of the Houston Transgender Center, posted a report on Twitter that Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, is planning to vote in favor of Senate Bill 723. As Instant Tea previously reported, SB 723 would remove a court-ordered change of sex from the list of documents that can be used to prove identity when obtaining a marriage license. The bill has the potential to void all opposite-sex marriage in Texas where one partner is transgender.

Williams’ information was based on a report from a Houston-area transgender advocate who called West’s office to encourage him to oppose SB 723 and was told by a staffer that the senator had received a number of calls in support of the bill and would be voting for it. West’s office has not responded to requests that he confirm or deny the report.

SB 723 was originally on the list of bills to be considered on Monday, but the Senate adjourned both Monday and today without voting on it. The bill is now expected to be considered on Wednesday.

West, whose district includes much of the Oak Lawn neighborhood, can be reached at 512-463-0123 or by e-mail at Royce.West@senate.state.tx.us.

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There’s gonna be a frothy mix in Dallas tonight

Posted on 19 Apr 2011 at 3:21pm

While we’re on the subject of sodomy and Lawrence v. Texas, it was in reference to that case that former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania made his now-infamous remarks comparing homosexuality to incest.

Santorum’s comments led to his name becoming synonymous with the “frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex” — which, in turn, led to a Google problem

Anyhow, last week Santorum announced that he’s forming a presidential exploratory committee. And shortly after the announcement, progressive bloggers pointed out that his campaign slogan — “Fighting to make America America again” — appeared to have been stolen from poet Langston Hughes, a civil rights advocate who may have been gay.

Santorum quickly backed away from the slogan, and just this week, he came out in support of reinstating “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Which brings us to tonight, when Santorum will reportedly be in Dallas for a meeting of the Park Cities Republican Women.

Rob Schlein, president of Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, posted the invite on his Facebook page and passed it along to us. Schlein apparently plans to attend with his partner. Here’s the info from Facebook should you wish to join them:

 

PCRW April Meeting with Rick Santorum

Time
Tuesday, April 19 · 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Location

Creeks of Preston Hollow

10706 Bridge Hollow Court, Dallas (SW Corner of Royal and Inwood)
Dallas, TX

Created By

More Info

Please join us at the April evening meeting of the Park Cities Republican Women with our special guest Former US Senator Rick Santorum, a potential contender in the 2012 Presidential race.

Please note, a private Friends of PCRW event begins at 5:30pm

Creeks of Preston Hollow is located at the corner of Royal and Inwood. Please tell the gateman you are with PCRW.

RSVP to Angie King at pcrw@partcitiesrepubicanwomen.com or 940.368.0672

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Maurine Dickey compares being transgender to being fat, says she opposes protections

Posted on 19 Apr 2011 at 11:25am

Maurine Dickey

In a setback for LGBT advocates, Dallas County Commissioner Maurine Dickey said today that she opposes adding transgender protections to the county’s nondiscrimination policy.

Dickey, a Republican who represents part of Oak Lawn, was considered a possible third vote in favor of adding gender identity/expression to the policy, which covers the county’s 7,000 employees. However, Dickey appeared to erase those hopes this morning, when she came out against the proposal in an interview after the Commissioners Court’s regular meeting.

Dickey told Instant Tea she believes the Commissioners Court’s recent decision to add “sexual orientation” to the policy was “overdue.” However, she said she thinks adding gender identity/expression to the policy could lead to adding “overweight people” or “people with diabetes.”

“I won’t be voting for a special protected class,” Dickey said. “You’ve got to stop somewhere. … It becomes a legal nightmare.”

In response to follow-up questions, Dickey said, “I’m not going to argue with you about it.”

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LGBT Latino history to be published this summer

Posted on 19 Apr 2011 at 11:12am
Jesus Chairez
Jesus Chairez

Dallas’ “gay Latino godfather” Jesus Chairez is participating in a project to produce a national history of gay Latino activism.

Chairez, who was appointed president of LGBT radio station KNON’s board of directors in October, said he recently resigned from that position to focus on the history project and to allow more time for travel in Mexico.

Serving on the KNON board was rewarding, but the volunteer work was time-consuming, said Chairez, who returned to Dallas last year after retiring in Mexico City. He lived there for three years and plans to return there for a long visit this summer.

“It was a full-time job,” said Chairez of his KNON work. “I was not following my dream. Since being on the board I had not blogged, not written a column, nor even started my own book.”

Chairez and several other gay Latino writers are cooperating in the writing of the planned book “Latina/o GLBT Activism in the U.S. and Puerto Rico: A Social History.” The writers will present first-person narratives about events they witnessed from the 1970s through the 1990s. The release of the book is planned for this summer.

“This project is a response to both the invisibility within mainstream Latina/o organizations, and a gringo GLBT movement,” Chairez said in a statement. “This book aims to preserve our GLBT Latino history as Latinas/os and activists as we experienced it, and in that sense my contribution is essential.”

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Attorney General’s office warns of scam following leak of state workers’ personal information

Posted on 19 Apr 2011 at 9:05am

This isn’t a specifically LGBT news item, but I know for a fact that there are tons of  teachers and other state workers — retired and otherwise — who are LGBT, so here you go:

Texas AG Greg Abbott

State Attorney General Greg Abbott today warned that retired and current state workers whose personal information was recently “inadvertently stored on a publicly accessible website” by the Texas Comptroller’s Office are apparently now being targeted by scammers out to steal identities.

Abbott’s press release said that an employee of the Health and Human Services Commission has reported receiving a telephone call from someone who identified himself as “Mike” with the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) and said he was calling to confirm the last four digits of the employee’s Social Security number. (Just so you know, having the last four digits of your SSN lets someone who knows what they are doing to access all sorts of personal information about you.)

The employee who reported the call refused to give the caller their SSN, and the caller finally hung up with the words, “Good luck to you.”

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Gay candidate Hightower leads in fundraising in District 5 race for Arlington City Council

Posted on 19 Apr 2011 at 7:44am
Chris Hightower

Last week, Realtor and openly gay Arlington City Council District 5 candidate Chris Hightower told me he expected campaign finance reports to show he is way ahead of the field when it comes to fundraising. Well, the “30th day out from election” reports were filed Thursday, and as it turns out, Hightower was right on the money: Not only did he raise more than any other candidate in the District 5 race, he raised more than the other four candidates combined.

Hightower, who raised $33,246 in the period between Jan. 1 and April 4, also raised more than any single candidate in any race in the May 14 Arlington municipal election. Incumbent Mayor Robert N. “Bob” Cluck, running for re-election against Carl Scrivner, came to the closest to Hightower in fundraising, with a total of $24,400. District 4 incumbent Councilwoman Kathryn Wilemon was next with $15,005, and District 3 incumbent and Mayor Pro Tem Robert Rivera has raised $12,418.

In the race for District 5, incumbent Councilwoman Lana Wolff reported raising $3,695. Terry Meza has raised $1,721.15, and Julie M. Douglas has raised $1,100. The fifth candidate, Christopher McCain, had not filed a campaign finance report as of Monday morning — or at least no campaign finance report for him had been posted on the Arlington City Secretary’s elections website by that time.

Hightower has also outspent all the other candidates in the municipal elections, listing total campaign expenditures of $19,193. In the District 5 race, Wolff has spent only $260, while Meza has spent $368, and Douglas has spent only $150. The only other candidate in this election to come close to Hightower so far in terms of campaign spending is Rivera in District 3, who has spent $9,578 in his bid to keep his seat.

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What’s Brewing: House taps former Bush SG to defend DOMA; gay blog Queerty shuts down

Posted on 19 Apr 2011 at 7:37am
Paul Clement

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. House Republicans tapped former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, who served for three years during the Bush administration, to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. And Speaker John Boehner wants to divert money from the Justice Department to pay Clement, a partner at Atlanta-based King & Spalding whose services won’t come cheap (he reportedly earns more than $5 million a year). Clement, representing the House’s Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, has already filed a motion to intervene in one of the cases challenging the constitutionality of DOMA.

2. The gay blog Queerty has shut down. We’ll miss Queerty’s snarky headlines and irreverent prose as much as anyone, but we won’t miss the blog stealing our original content without crediting us.

3. A bill that would bar transgender people from marrying people of the opposite sex is again on the Texas Senate’s intent calendar for today. That means if you haven’t already contacted Senate Democrats and asked them to vote against SB 723, you should do so now (contact info  is here). Meanwhile, LGBT advocates will again be speaking during today’s meeting of the Dallas County Commissioners Court to call on the court to add gender identity to the county’s nondiscrimination policy. We’re headed downtown and will have a report later.

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Vernon Franko criticizes James Nowlin for criticizing Angela Hunt in District 14

Posted on 18 Apr 2011 at 7:50pm
Angela Hunt

It’s not every day that one candidate in a race criticizes a second candidate for attacking a third candidate. But that’s exactly what happened tonight in the District 14 Dallas City Council race, when challenger Vernon Franko sent out a press release criticizing fellow challenger James Nowlin for criticizing incumbent Angela Hunt.

Franko’s press release comes in response to an email sent out by Nowlin’s campaign on Saturday night touting his fundraising lead in the race. The headline of Nowlin’s email read, “Nowlin surges ahead, Hunt a celebrity not a servant.”

“The incumbent is more focused on being a celebrity than a servant and District 14 has taken notice,” Nowlin’s email stated. “Ms. Hunt tried to run for Mayor and failed at that. Now, she is using the 14th District as her backup political plan and that’s unfair to our great city and our district.”

The Nowlin email went on to criticize Hunt, whom it called “entrenched,” for voting in favor of a tax increase. The email also alleged that Hunt is ineffective because others on the council are “openly hostile” to her ideas.

“District 14 lags in consensus-building and suffers for Hunt’s arrogance,” the Nowlin email said.

And apparently that upset Franko, who sent out a press release tonight under the headline, “City Council Candidate Vernon Franko Condemns Email Attack Ad by Candidate James Nowlin as Embarrassing and Immature.”

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Sooner or later, county commissioners will get tired of hearing about transgender protections

Posted on 18 Apr 2011 at 3:43pm
Rafael_McDonnell
Rafael McDonnell

Resource Center Dallas’ Rafael McDonnell sends along word that three people from the LGBT community are tentatively scheduled to speak at Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Dallas County Commissioners Court.

This will be the fourth consecutive week in which LGBT activists have spoken during public comments, calling on the Commissioners Court to add gender identity to the county’s nondiscrimination policy. And McDonnell said based on his conversations with commissioners, the advocacy is helping.

McDonnell said he ran into County Judge Clay Jenkins at an event last week, and Jenkins told him that public comments from the LGBT community are influencing the conversation. On Friday, McDonnell met with Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia, who told him she’s received 60 letters in support of adding transgender protections.

“She urged us to keep up contacting Commissioners [Maurine] Dickey and [John Wiley] Price and share our stories and explain why it’s important,” McDonnell said. “She [Garcia] clearly supports it.”

Jenkins also supports adding gender identity to the policy, but three votes are needed for passage.

Price told Instant Tea last week that he remains undecided on the issue but said public comments from transgender woman Maeve O’Connor had done more to possibly sway him than anything else. Dickey, meanwhile, hasn’t returned a phone call seeking comment.

Dickey announced last week that she won’t seek re-election in 2012, which could make her more comfortable voting in favor of transgender protections. Two years ago, when Republicans still held a majority on the Commissioners Court, Dickey broke ranks and provided the decisive vote in support of ending a ban on condom distribution.

McDonnell said those slated to speak this week are Omar Narvaez of Stonewall Democrats and Lambda Legal, Travis Gasper of Stonewall Young Democrats; and Rebecca Solomon of Bank of America.

It’s too late to sign up to speak at this Tuesday’s meeting, but below is contact info for all five commissioners:

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