Dan Branch claims Facebook yanked campaign ad over anti-gay content

Posted on 06 Aug 2013 at 8:15am
Rep. Dan Branch

Rep. Dan Branch

Texas attorney general candidate Dan Branch’s campaign is claiming Facebook pulled one of his ads because it includes anti-gay hate speech. That might be humorous if it were true, but a Facebook spokesperson says the decision to pull the ad was a mistake.

Branch, a Republican state representative who represents part of Dallas’ Oak Lawn gayborhood, is among those vying to replace AG Greg Abbott, who’s stepping down to run for governor in 2014. In the ad released last week, Branch vows to protect Texas’ right to trample on the rights of women and gays.

“I will fight for our state’s right to protect the unborn, and our right to define a marriage as between one man and woman, and if some in Washington want to deny us our freedom, as they said at the Battle of Gonzalez, we’ve got four words for them here in Texas: ‘Come and take it,'” Branch says in the ad.

Facebook pulled the ad last Thursday for violating “community standards,” according to The Texas Tribune. However, a day later the ad was restored, and the site apologized.

“As our team processes more than 1 million reports each week, we occasionally make a mistake,” Facebook said in a statement. “We worked to rectify the error as soon as we were notified. We apologize for the inconvenience caused due to the removal of this content, and we have already taken steps to prevent this from happening in the future. Additionally, we have removed any blocks on associated accounts.”

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LGBT Task Force admin Gary Sanchez announces departure from city

Posted on 05 Aug 2013 at 2:53pm
Gary.Sanchez

Gary Sanchez

Gary Sanchez, an assistant to the Dallas city manager, announced in a letter Monday that he is leaving the city to work for an advertising company.

Sanchez, who has worked with the city in various departments since 2001, was former Councilwoman Delia Jasso’s assistant and oversaw the LGBT Task Force. In a letter he emailed Monday, he said he would continue to work with the Task Force.

Sanchez said he has accepted an offer to work with Moroch Advertising Agency, where he will work with the McDonald’s account for the company.

“I am truly grateful to the City for offering me opportunities that have prepared me both personally and professionally for this shift in career,” Sanchez wrote. “I will miss my friends and colleagues at the City of Dallas, but I’m confident that we will continue to cross paths and perhaps even collaborate on future projects.”

Read his full letter below.

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Local members of Congress sign letter opposing anti-LGBT Russian law

Posted on 05 Aug 2013 at 12:05pm
Official Photo_Rep Marc Veasey

Rep. Marc Veasey

North Texas Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson and Marc Veasey are among 83 members of Congress who’ve signed a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to ensure the safety of LGBT athletes, coaches, staff, fans and reporters attending the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.

The letter refers to a law by signed by President Vladimir Putin on June 30 under which public acknowledgement of one’s sexual orientation or support for LGBT rights, including displays of symbols such as a rainbow flag or HRC logo, can result in arrest and 15 days in jail.

The concern is over an announcement the law would be enforced during the Olympics.

Two other Texas congressmen also signed the letter — Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, and Rep. Al Green, D-Houston.

Noticeably absent from the list were Houston’s Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who always scores high on HRC Congressional rankings and newcomers Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who worked for partner benefits while serving on the El Paso City Council, and Rep. Joaquin Castro, who won his seat with strong LGBT support in San Antonio.

The members of Congress are concerned with the rising wave of anti-gay activity in Russia including violent hate crimes and laws banning Pride parades for 100 years and limiting adoption of Russian children by people from countries that allow same-sex marriage.

Kerry has a long record of supporting the LGBT community. He was one of just 14 Senators who voted against the Defense of Marriage Act. Last week, in a speech at the embassy in London, he announced the U.S. would treat visa applications from married same-sex couples the same as opposite-sex couples.

Other signs of international protest of the new anti-gay law include a boycott of Russian alcohol. The New York City United Restaurant and Tavern Owners Association called on all bars, cafes, taverns and restaurants to ban all Russian-made food and alcohol. Locally, some bars have joined in a boycott of Stoli vodka.

The Canadian government issued a travel advisory on travel to Russia. Over the weekend, two Canadian Olympic athletes marched in Vancouver’s Pride parade to show support for the LGBT community in opposition to the law.

The Sochi games are seven months away.

Below is the full text of the letter:

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Creep of the Week: Gov. Rick Snyder

Posted on 05 Aug 2013 at 10:39am
Gov. Rick Snyder

Gov. Rick Snyder

I’m in a rather shitty Embassy Suites in San Diego using $12 wi-fi and typing this on my iPad. Why, you ask? Because I’m getting married tomorrow. To my wife of 10 years, in fact. Because in Michigan, where we live, our marriage is not recognized legally. So for the past decade we’ve been considered total strangers in the eyes of the state. And now with Prop 8 being overturned and a stake driven through the ugly black heart of the Defense of Marriage Act (and that’s all it was: an act.

Anti-gay righteous bullshit theater), we decided to go get ourselves legally wed at long last.

Sadly, once we return to Michigan our marriage will disappear (because marriage equality is magic! Now you see it, cross state lines and now you don’t). I won’t be able to be on my wife’s health insurance plan, for example. And I still won’t be able to legally adopt my own son. Oh, excuse me, my wife’s son. Er, I mean, the son of the woman I share an address with, according to how the state of Michigan sees me. And they have no problem saying that to my face.

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ACTION ALERT: San Antonio council to vote on LGBT protections

Posted on 05 Aug 2013 at 10:23am
LGBT advocates attend a Christian rally Saturday to support the passage of a nondiscrimination ordinance. (via QSanAntonio)

LGBT advocates attend an anti-gay Christian rally Saturday to support the passage of a nondiscrimination ordinance in San Antonio. (via QSanAntonio)

Equality Texas is calling on supporters of the city’s proposed nondiscrimination ordinance to contact City Council members.

The council delayed a vote on the ordinance in June but is expected to vote on it in the coming weeks after the conclusion of summer break.

The ordinance, like similar ones in Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin, would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Debate has sparked controversy in San Antonio, leading conservative Christians to protest the ordinance, which would also protect veterans.

About 150 Christians, mostly Catholics, held a rally at Milam Park on Saturday to denounce the passage of the non-discrimination ordinance, QSanAntonio reports. LGBT advocates also attended in a counterprotest.

The Community Alliance For A United San Antonio, or CAUSA, has started a Change.org petition urging citizens to sign in support of the ordinance. So far, 72 people have signed it.

Equality Texas is asking that people contact these four city council members and ask them to support the ordinance.

District 2 – Ivy Taylor – 210-207-7278
District 3 – Rebecca Viagran – 210-207-7064
District 7 – Cris Medina – 210-207-7044
District 8 – Ron Nirenberg – 210-207-7086

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry dons new glasses but is still making the same old gaffes

Posted on 05 Aug 2013 at 7:56am
Screen shot 2013-08-05 at 7.38.24 AM

Rick Perry at RedState, via Instagram.

In what one Twitter user dubbed the “hipster cowboy” look, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was sporting black horned-rimmed glasses when he spoke at the RedState conservative blogger conference in New Orleans on Saturday. (Twitchy.com has a compilation of photos.) But according to Wayne Slater at The Dallas Morning News, little else seems to have changed about Perry, who is considering another presidential run in 2016:

If Perry looked a little different, some things don’t change – like recalling numbers or geography. Touting Texas, Perry declared, “There are many other states that embrace those conservative values, the approach we’ve taken over the years. I’m in one today – Florida.”

“We’re in Louisiana,” someone shouted.

Oops. Maybe he just needs his prescription checked.

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Gay Republican George Clayton formally announces bid for TX House

Posted on 03 Aug 2013 at 9:11am
Clayton.George

George Clayton

It’s official: George Clayton, who served on the State Board of Education from 2010-12, formally announced his campaign for the Texas House District 102 seat this morning. Clayton, a Republican who was defeated in the 2012 SBOE primary after being outed as gay, works as an administrator for the Dallas Independent School District. Clayton first indicated he planned to run on Facebook last month. He will seek the seat held by Rep. Stefani Carter, R-Dallas, who is stepping down to run for Railroad Commission. Among those Clayton will face in the 2014 Republican Primary is former Dallas City Councilwoman Linda Koop. Clayton would be the first openly gay Republican elected to the Texas Legislature. Below is his full announcement:

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Kerry announces new visa policy

Posted on 02 Aug 2013 at 3:34pm
John Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced today that visa applications from same-sex couples will henceforth be treated the same as applications from married opposite-sex couples.

“I’m very pleased to be able to announce that effective immediately, when same-sex spouses apply for a visa, the Department of State will consider that application in the same manner that it will consider the application of opposite-sex spouses,” Kerry said. “And here is exactly what this rule means: If you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen, your visa application will be treated equally. If you are the spouse of a non-citizen, your visa application will be treated equally. And if you are in a country that doesn’t recognize your same-sex marriage, then your visa application will still be treated equally at every single one of our 222 visa processing centers around the world.”

“Now, as long as a marriage has been performed in a jurisdiction that recognizes it so that it is legal, then that marriage is valid under U.S. immigration laws, and every married couple will be treated exactly the same, and that is what we believe is appropriate,” Kerry added.

Now, about that situation in Russia

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E. Baton Rouge sheriff now working to remove sodomy law from books

Posted on 02 Aug 2013 at 1:26pm
Baton Rouge Sheriff

Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux

East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux will stop assigning undercover officers to harass gay men, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate.

Twelve gay men were arrested under the state’s unconstitutional “crimes against nature” law, comparable to Texas’ “homosexual conduct law.” The unenforceable Louisiana law carries a penalty of five years in prison.

Although the district attorney refused to prosecute any of the cases, the sheriff only backed down under threat of lawsuits and after bad publicity.

The newspaper laid blame on Gautreaux, calling him a lunkhead. But the editorial also pointed to the state Legislature’s refusal to repeal the law found unconstitutional in 2003 in the Lawrence v. Texas case.

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Hate crime victim Jimmy Dean raises money for medical expenses

Posted on 02 Aug 2013 at 9:23am

Jimmy Lee DeanLast week I wrote about the five-year anniversary of a brutal anti-gay hate crime near the Cedar Springs strip. Since then the victim of the crime, Jimmy Lee Dean, has launched an IndieGoGo fundraising page to help pay his medical expenses. Dean says he still needs reconstructive facial surgery that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars — but he may be able to have it done for less overseas. He blames surgeons at Parkland hospital for failing to help, and he says he’s been unable to qualify for Social Security disability. From the IndieGoGo page:

On July 17, 2008 I was the victim of a hate crime in Dallas, Texas. Through the kind act of everyday people like you, I did not die that night. The criminals were stopped, prosecuted and the good people of Texas provided $50,000 from their crime victims fund to repair my physical damages and any psychological help that might be needed.

Problems started when I left Parkland County Hospital intensive care unit. Up to that point everything seemed to be going OK. Then after some 16 visits to the Oral Surgery Clinic, 2 surgeries and one attempted surgery that never took place and 27 visits to Parkland crisis center I am in the same physical situation as at the crime scene.

Work done in the second surgery at Parkland Hospital has all come undone. My jaw and cheek bone are no longer attached. Teeth have never been dealt with. No one has followed up on my broken back. I have headaches every other day. My eyes are having problems. I walk with a cautious gate. I get lightheaded all the time. I don’t really go anywhere because of the facial disfigurements and the way I look when I eat.

I never asked for what happened. It could have been any one of us at that spot at that time.

My dreams and identity are gone along with my ability to smell, but maybe there are medical procedures that might restore me to a point where I can have some kind of a normal life.

The page also features a TV news report about the hate crime that aired a few weeks afterward. To contribute to Dean’s expenses, go here.

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