Exxon to begin offering health benefits to same-sex married couples

Posted on 27 Sep 2013 at 2:50pm

Rex Tillerson

Exxon announced today it will begin offering health benefits to employees who are legally married as of Jan. 1.

Resource Center has met with Exxon’s vice president of human resources and the agency was told they weren’t going to be pushed into offering benefits by a bunch of gay-rights activists.

In addition to the center CEO Cece Cox, those “activists” included executives from Texas Instruments, AT&T and Bank of America who talked with Exxon executives about how their companies implemented partner benefits.

Another of those gay-rights activists they wouldn’t be pushed around by was New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli who has filed shareholder resolutions the past few years to have the company add benefits. The resolutions have been defeated. This year he threatened to file a lawsuit against the company for violating New York law.

ExxonMobil’s CEO, Rex Tillerson, was also president of the Boy Scouts of America.



NJ judge rules same-sex couples can marry

Posted on 27 Sep 2013 at 2:16pm
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

Gov. Chris Christie

A New Jersey judge ruled Friday that same-sex couple must be allowed to marry in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling.

The original ruling that paved the way for civil unions in New Jersey specified that if the Legislature didn’t pass marriage equality, civil unions had to be equal.

They never were.

The Legislature set up a commission to follow the law and more than half of the first thousand couples to get a civil union in the state filed complaints of discrimination. UPS announced soon after the civil union law passed that it would not include those couples in its healthcare coverage because it only covers married spouses.

And since the Supreme Court ruled in June, federal benefits go only to married couples, not those in civil unions or domestic partnerships or any other made-up relationship states create.

It’s unclear whether the state will appeal. The Legislature passed marriage equality last year, but Gov. Chris Christie vetoed it.



Outrageous Oral shares stories on Turtle Creek Chorale, Black Tie Dinner

Posted on 27 Sep 2013 at 1:30pm

Kay Wilkinson

Outrageous Oral, the oral history project of The Dallas Way, featured four speakers who told stories about the Turtle Creek Chorale, the Black Tie Dinner and the recent Supreme Court decisions last night at the Rose Room.

Bruce Jaster kicked off the evening talking about the early days of the Turtle Creek Chorale. Because of financial problems that almost bankrupted the organization, the previous director left. Payroll taxes remained unpaid. When Tim Seelig was hired, the chorale could afford to pay him just $12,500, but within a year the group broke even and the budget quickly grew to a million dollars a year.

Dallas Way President Kay Wilkinson raised money to pay off the deficit by announcing, “I have a huge hole to fill,” a line that still haunts her. But she filled the hole and today the chorale is the most recorded men’s chorus in the country and the only one with an Emmy Award under its belt.

Mike Grossman talked about who inspired him and some of the groups he helped found. He talked about a group he was trying to help form. The party at his house was a dud until his 16-year-old son suggested bringing out a few joints. The party picked up, the group formed and is now a synagogue that is a member of the Union of Reform Judaism and a Black Tie Dinner recipient.

Mike Anglin is an attorney who has helped incorporate a number of organizations including Razzle Dazzle Dallas and Black Tie Dinner. He told the story of the founding of the Black Tie Dinner and why the Dallas dinner is the most successful in the country — local groups are invested in making it successful by sharing in the funds raised. He also described the awards at early dinners. Originally the announcement of the Kuchling Award was made at the dinner and the recipient’s speech was “thank you.” I really like that.

The next Outrageous Oral takes place at University of North Texas in the Willis Library on Oct. 17 with a reception to dedicate the Resource Center Archives at 5 p.m. and Outrageous Oral at 7 p.m.

More photos below.


ILSb board unanimously rescinds trans exclusion in contest participation

Posted on 27 Sep 2013 at 12:41pm

Historic-ILSb-MedalAfter heated debate over the last week, the International Leather SIR/boy and International Community Bootblack board of directors announced Friday it would undo the recent rule change that prevented transgender men from competing in the ILSb competition.

The board met in a closed meeting Thursday to discuss the changes announced last week, including the trans exclusion, appointed titleholders not being able to compete and regional producer contracts not being renewed.

The letter released Friday, below, addresses the changes in detail and encourages the leather community to come together for continued understanding and collaboration moving forward.

Historically, the ILSb competition was for gay men and the board felt the need to revert back to that tradition based on opinions to “reclaim our gay identity, our gay events, our gay clubs and our gay pride and how we had become too inclusive in our quest to be politically correct.”

However, “never, never, never was any discussion to purposefully exclude any segment of our community to be perceived as negative, bigoted it harmful,” the letter states in part.

The change was overturned by unanimous vote Thursday night, allowing anyone who identifies as male to compete.

“As it has been stated in the contracts since 2007, contestants for the International LeatehrSIR and International Leatherboy titles “must identify as gay males and be of same-sex orientation,” the letter states.

The board also announced that it will create a history program coordinator to ensure the history in the community is accurate and documented, as much of the tradition was passed down orally. It will also implement an advisory council of community members to gain input. ILSb-ICBB founder Mike Zuhl will serve on the council.

Read the full letter below.


Wendy Davis to return to roots to announce her governor bid

Posted on 27 Sep 2013 at 10:01am
State Sen. Wendy Davis addresses the crowd at the Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats Spring Fundraising Kick-off Party in Fort Worth Wednesday, May 23. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Sen. Wendy Davis

State Sen. Wendy Davis plans to announce her future political plans next Thursday at Wiley G. Thomas Coliseum in Haltom City, where she graduated from high school.

Davis made the plans public in a media advisory Thursday evening, but didn’t say which office she’ll be running for — either her Senate District 10 seat or governor. But there was no need. Sources have been saying she’d run for the Democratic nomination since before she postponed an announcement when her father became ill.

And sources are again confirming that the senator, who shot to stardom after an 13-hour marathon filibuster this summer to block an abortion bill, will indeed run for governor.

The race, with Attorney General Greg Abbott running as the Republican favorite, is sure to be an ugly fight. Abbott has tirelessly fought against the LGBT community in situations like the two gay divorce cases now at the Texas Supreme Court and issued an opinion earlier this year that said he thought domestic partner benefits violated the state’s marriage amendment.

Davis, on the other hand, has been an LGBT champion, from voting for Fort Worth’s nondiscrimination ordinance when she served on the City Council to fighting for LGBT-specific protections in the state’s anti-bullying law in 2011.

Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns, who’s openly gay and took Davis’ council seat when she ran for the Senate, is a favorite to replace her again in the Senate.

Burns has said he will not comment on the race until Davis makes her plans official.


Former President George H.W. Bush, wife attend same-sex wedding in Maine

Posted on 26 Sep 2013 at 1:35pm

ghwbweddingFormer president and first lady George H.W. And Barbara Bush attended the same-sex wedding of friends in Kennebunkport, Maine, last weekend.

The president signed Helen Thorgalsen and Bonnie Clement’s marriage license as a witness.

In an odd statement about the event, Jim McGrath, Bush’s spokesman said, “They were private citizens attending a private ceremony for two friends.”

Why so defensive? Nobody accused them of crashing the wedding.

Or is it Bush’s way of saying this isn’t new Republican policy? He’s not endorsing marriage equality but in this case it’s OK because the women were friends of his.


Right-wing groups come to the defense of Craig James

Posted on 26 Sep 2013 at 8:50am

Craig James

We’ve suddenly been getting a flood of emails from right-wing groups asking us to rally around Craig James after his firing from Fox Sports. Maybe Hillary and Benghazi or Obama’s birth certificate aren’t raising the big bucks anymore.

Liberty Institute is representing James after he was fired from his job as a sportscaster by those left-wing liberals at Fox. So Texas Values is asking for a donation for what Liberty Institute is doing.

And of course, Liberty Institute wants your money, too.

Family Research Council wants your money as well, but that’s to defray the cost of your going to its website to send Fox an email while becoming part of their mail list.

All claim James’ firing was religious persecution. Ah, yes, that religious value of the right to discriminate.

James ran for U.S. Senate from Texas and, although he did his share of gay-bashing, he came in fourth. Not that the gay-bashing necessarily hurt his campaign. Ted Cruz did more than his share and he won.

After the election, James was hired by Fox Sports but was fired a week later, apparently because of statements he made during his senate campaign.

“We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department. He couldn’t say those things here,” the Dallas Morning News reported they were told and Texas Values repeats in their email.

Really? Couldn’t say those things at Fox? Does Fox Human Resources ever tune in to Fox?


Legacy needs donations to outfit 24 apartments by next week

Posted on 25 Sep 2013 at 3:36pm

Ready Set HomeLegacy Counseling Center needs household items for 24 apartment units it’s preparing for people with HIV/AIDS who are homeless.

A grant is covering the cost of the apartments for one year and a bed, dresser, table and chairs but nothing else.

On Sept. 28, Legacy is holding a drive to outfit the apartments and make them homes. Items can be dropped off in the Legacy parking lot, 4054 McKinney Ave. from 9 a.m. to noon.

Items can be new or used.

Below is a list of things needed:


UPDATE: DART delays vote on DP benefits until October

Posted on 24 Sep 2013 at 4:42pm


UPDATE: Two board members — Cheney and Chrisman — walked out of the DART board meeting tonight before a scheduled vote on a domestic partner healthcare equalization plan, breaking quorum.

One of the board members was coaxed back into the meeting to vote on other agenda items and pass the annual DART budget that includes the expected cost of the added healthcare benefits.

But he walked again as the item came up at the end of the meeting. It was tabled until the next meeting. If it passes at that time, it may delay benefits for another year because the signup period begins Oct. 1.

ORIGINAL POST: The DART committee-of-the-whole passed its version of domestic partner benefits on a voice vote of 9–2 this afternoon. The entire DART board, made up of the same members, must vote on it again tonight for final passage.

DART has been discussing DP benefits since July 2012.

Resource Center spokesman Rafael McDonnell attended the meeting — the 19th DART meeting he’s attended at which the issue was discussed.

“I’m pleased we’re finally at this point,” he said. “A part of me never thought we’d get here.”

He noted he’s spent more time on DART DP benefits than any other issue he’s worked on at Resource Center.

The no votes came from the same representatives that voted no and abstained on the issue two weeks ago. Michael Cheney, who represents Garland, called for a roll call vote. As he voted, he said he voted no after consulting with city officials in Garland.

Garland doesn’t have a nondiscrimination ordinance or protection for its LGBT city employees — yet.

The DART board meeting for final approval is tonight at 6 p.m. A number of members of the community are scheduled to speak, including the partner of a DART employee who can’t work for health reasons and contacted the agency about being added to his husband’s policy.


Man arrested at ilume for domestic violence attack

Posted on 24 Sep 2013 at 1:09pm

Roger Tarleton

Roger Tarleton, 23, was arrested at ilume Monday night for a domestic violence assault.

Tarleton and his boyfriend were arguing over the location of a set of keys and their living arrangement around 8:30 p.m., according to the police report.

During the argument, Tarleton smashed a large mirror over his boyfriend’s head. Dallas Fire and Rescue was dispatched because a shard cut the bridge of his nose and he was bleeding profusely, according to the report, and needed stitches.

The two began a relationship in April, split up and got back together in August.

Tarleton was taken into custody to prevent further domestic violence, according to the police report, and is being held in Lew Sterrett on $1,500 bail.