Burns, Hicks unopposed in FW council races

Posted on 15 Mar 2011 at 12:06pm
Fort Worth City Councilmembers Joel Burns and Kathleen Hicks are unopposed in their 2011 re-election bids.

Yesterday (Monday, March 14) was the filing deadline for area municipal elections, and it’s official: Fort Worth’s first and only openly gay City Council member, Joel Burns, is unopposed in his second re-election bid since first winning the District 9 seat on the council in 2007 when he ran to replace Wendy Davis. Davis resigned to run for — and win — the District 10 seat in the Texas Senate.

In addition, the deadline passed without anyone filing to challenge Fort Worth’s District 8 incumbent, Kathleen Hicks, either. Hicks, who represents the district in which the Rainbow Lounge is located, has been a steadfast ally of the LGBT community, especially in the months since the June 29, 2009 raid on Rainbow Lounge.

W.B. “Zim” Zimmerman, the District 3 incumbent, also has no opponent. Zimmerman, along with Burns, Hicks, District 2 incumbent Sal Espino, District 5 incumbent Frank Moss and Mayor Mike Moncrief voted in October 2009 to add protections based on gender expression and gender identity to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance. Espino has one opponent, Paul L. Rudisill, in the May 14 election, and Moss has two opponents: Charles Hibbler and Rickie Clark.

Moncrief is not seeking re-election, and a crowded field of five candidates have filed to replace him. They are Jim Lane, Betsy Price, Cathy Hirt, Dan Barrett and Nicholas Zebrun.

The three councilmembers who voted against the transgender protections all face opponents in this election. Mayor Pro-Tem Danny Scarth is being challenged by Lupe Arriola in District 2. And in District 6, incumbent Jungus Jordan is being challenged by Tolli Thomas. District 7 incumbent Carter Burdette is not running for re-election, and five candidates are running to replace him. They are Dennis Shingleton, Jonathan Horton, Jack Ernest, Jon Perry and Lee Henderson.

For more information on candidates in the Fort Worth city elections, check out the Fort Worth City Secretary’s Elections Page.

And look for an in-depth story on the mayor’s race in an upcoming issue of Dallas Voice.

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Recession, lack of progress on LGBT issues took toll on advocacy groups in 2009, report says

Posted on 15 Mar 2011 at 11:44am

Thirty-nine of the largest LGBT equality groups saw their revenues fall by an average of 20 percent from 2008 to 2009, according to a first-of-its-kind report from the Movement Advancement Project, a Denver-based think tank. According to a CQ Weekly article about the report posted on Congress.org, the groups’ combined revenues fell from $202.7 million in 2008 to $161.3 million in 2009, falling short of total expenses by $4.3 million:

Final revenue figures for last year are not yet available, but the report says the 39 groups responded to a bad 2009 by slashing their budgets last year to $135.4 million, 21 percent lower than in 2008. Among the groups participating in the survey were stalwarts of the gay rights movement such as the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

“The revenue drop reflects two things: the economic climate and some frustration at the pace of change in 2009,” says Ineke Mushovic, the Movement Advancement Project’s executive director. She expects that the burst of policy gains in late 2010 and early 2011, combined with a recovering economy, may create a better picture when the report is next updated.

Below are some other key findings listed in a press release about the report. Download the full report by going here:

• The 39 participating organizations’ combined 2009 expenses of $165.6 million are only half of the combined annual expenses of just the 10 largest organizations working to oppose LGBT equality ($333.1 million).

• Many organizations are scaling back their programs in order to align with available resources. Combined 2010 budgets ($135.4 million) are down 18 percent from 2009 expenses ($165.6 million).

• General financial health remains strong. Organizations have good and rising average working capital (a measure of cash reserves), declining but still-healthy liquidity ratios (funds to cover current obligations), and steady cash and net assets (which speaks to institutional durability).

• Movement groups are highly efficient in their fundraising and programming operations, with all 39 participants exceeding the efficiency standards of both the American Institute of Philanthropy and the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance. An average of 79 percent of expenses is spent on programs and services, 9 percent on management and general expenses, and only 12 percent on fundraising.

• Less than 4 percent of all LGBT adults in the U.S. donated $35 or more to these LGBT organizations. While organizations are generally effective at retaining smaller donors (those giving $35 or more) year over year, the number of larger donors (those giving $1,000 or more) is dropping and not easily replaced.

• The staffs of participating organizations are diverse, roughly mirroring the broader U.S. population: 32 percent identify as people of color (12 percent African American, 12 percent Latino/a, 7 percent Asian/Pacific Islander and 1 percent Native American or other). Also, 46 percent are women and 6 percent identify as transgender.

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Another anti-gay measure filed in TX Legislature

Posted on 15 Mar 2011 at 10:17am
Rep. Paul Workman

Fortunately, it’s just a meaningless, piece-of-crap concurrent resolution that isn’t worth the piece of paper it’s written on.

Rep. Paul Workman, R-Travis County, today filed HCR 110, which would urge President Barack Obama to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. The text of the resolution is not yet available on the Legislature’s website, but it sounds pretty self-explanatory. Obama’s administration, of course, has announced that it will no longer defend a section of DOMA in federal court because it’s unconstitutional. And while Workman’s resolution may be likely to pass, the Obama administration certainly isn’t going to pay it any attention. As such, it’s clearly just an attempt to score political points on the part of Workman and others who support it. Let’s just hope it’s not a sign of things to come as this year’s session proceeds. Last week, State Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, filed a bill that would create a loophole for the Attorney General to block same-sex divorces. Although the main bill-filing deadline has passed, there’s always the danger of amendments.

If you’d like to tell Workman what you think of his resolution, you can e-mail him by going here, and the phone number for his Capitol office is 512-463-0652.

UPDATE: Here’s the full text:

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, President Barack Obama took an oath to “preserve,
protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” but on
February 23, 2011, he instructed the U.S. Department of Justice to
stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage
Act; and
WHEREAS, The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, was passed in
1996 with overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress and
signed into law by then president Bill Clinton; DOMA consists of two
core provisions: it defines the words “marriage,” “spouse,”
“husband,” and “wife” wherever they appear in the U.S. Code as
referring only to the union of a man and a woman, and it defends the
right of each state to reject the redefinition of marriage that has
occurred in a handful of other states as a result of state court
decisions or legislation; and
WHEREAS, Nearly 40 states have enacted laws defending the
institution of marriage, and 31 have embraced traditional marriage
in their constitutions; the Texas Defense of Marriage Act was
signed by the governor in 2003, and the statute was solidified with
a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a
man and a woman, which was approved by voters in November 2005; and
WHEREAS, The constitutional role of the president of the
United States is to execute the laws, not adjudicate them; it is
well-established policy of the U.S. Department of Justice to defend
a federal statute unless no reasonable argument can be made in its
defense, but instead President Obama has unilaterally decided that
DOMA is unconstitutional; the constitutionality of this law should
be determined by the courts, not by the executive branch; now,
therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the 82nd Legislature of the State of Texas
hereby respectfully urge the president of the United States to
order the U.S. Department of Justice to defend the
constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act; and, be it
further
RESOLVED, That the Texas secretary of state forward an
official copy of this resolution to the president of the United
States.

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What’s Brewing: Lady Gaga at the AAC; GLAAD says gays can’t say ‘fag’; Dallas mayor’s race

Posted on 15 Mar 2011 at 7:55am

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. We’ll have much more on Lady Gaga’s show at the American Airlines Center in Dallas last night — and the afterparties at local gay clubs — later on today after those who were in attendance drag themselves out of bed. But for now, above is some early video of Gaga performing “Telephone” after calling a little monster in the audience.

2. In response to criticism from GLAAD, Vanity Fair has apologized for an openly gay writer’s use of the word “fags” in an article about characters on Glee. Apparently, gay writers are no longer allowed to use the word “fag” in print, according to GLAAD. Needless to say, Instant Tea never received this memo.

3. Another reason why we need more openly LGBT people to run for public office: The Dallas mayor’s race looks like a real snoozer because it features three candidates who lack much flair.

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Dallas Co. Democratic leaders call on Dan Ramos to resign for comparing gays to termites, Nazis

Posted on 14 Mar 2011 at 4:26pm
Dan Ramos

The other day we told you about Bexar County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Ramos’ recent comments, in which he called gays “termites” and compared the Stonewall Democrats to “the fuckin’ Nazi Party.”

Today, Dallas County Democratic Party leaders joined the growing list of groups that have released statements condemning Ramos’ remarks and calling for him to resign. Here’s what they said:

“As the leaders of the Dallas County Democratic Party, we join [State Party] Chairman [Boyd] Richie in calling upon Dan Ramos to resign as Chair of the Bexar County Democrats. His hateful, bigoted comments have no place in the Democratic Party. We are a party of inclusiveness that supports and promotes equality, diversity, and tolerance. The comments of Mr. Ramos are not reflective of our party’s philosophy and we condemn and disavow the comments and the opinions he expressed. Mr. Ramos has proven he does not support nor represent our party’s ideals and therefore we call upon Mr. Ramos to resign. Bexar County deserves a true Democrat as the county chair.”

J. Darlene Ewing, Chair
David Bradley, SDEC Senate District 16
Susan Culp Bradley, SDEC Senate District 9
Theresa Daniel, SDEC Senate District 16
David Griggs, SDEC Senate District 8
Ken Molberg, Former County Chair, SDEC Senate District 23
Steve A. Tillery, SDEC Senate District 2

UPDATE: Ramos is ignnoring the calls for his resignation, according to the San Antonio Express-News, and he isn’t backing away from his hateful comments. Ramos claims his critics have skeletons in their closet that will be exposed in the upcoming embezzlement trial of Dwayne Adams, the Bexar County Democratic Party’s former treasurer. “Seems like those with skeletons in their closet are the ones screaming the loudest,” Ramos said in an e-mail to the newspaper. “Come check out the criminal trial of Dwayne Adams … We may get to see who the real criminals are.”

 

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Lawmakers to file DOMA repeal Wednesday

Posted on 14 Mar 2011 at 3:50pm

Federal District Judge Joseph Tauro in Massachusetts has ruled — in two separate cases, no less — that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

President Barack Obama has said that DOMA is unconstitutional and the Justice Department, under his administration, will no longer defend it in court.

Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has said that the House of Representatives will defend DOMA in court since the Obama administration won’t.

And now, a group of five U.S. senators is set to introduce legislation to repeal DOMA.

Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Christopher Coons of Delaware and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut will officially announce their DOMA repeal bill in a press conference at 2 p.m. EST on Wednesday in the Senate Office Building.

Of course, with Republicans in charge of the House already having announced their plans to defend DOMA in court, and a narrow Democratic majority in the Senate, it’s not likely that Obama will get to keep his campaign promise this year. Still, it’s nice to know DOMA repeal is still on the agenda.

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Rainbow World Fund raises money from LGBT community for Japan earthquake/tsunami relief

Posted on 14 Mar 2011 at 12:18pm

The Rainbow World Fund, an all-volunteer LGBT international humanitarian service agency, has created a Japan earthquake fund.

Among the hardest hit cities is Sendai, Japan. In 1997, Mayor Ron Kirk signed a friendship agreement with that city. No word yet on whether Dallas will mount a separate relief effort for Sendai.

From the Rainbow Fund Japan relief page:

A 8.9 earthquake followed by a tsunami stuck northern Japan on March 11, 2011. Nearly 1,000 have died and thousands still remain unaccounted for. Thousands have been injured, hundreds of thousands are now homeless. Millions are without water, food and power. Several nuclear power plants were impacted, radiation has escaped and there is a threat of a meltdown. Many aftershocks above magnitude 6.0 have occurred.

At the request of our generous donors, RWF has set up a fund to help the Japanese people recover. RWF has many direct ties with Japan through our annual World Tree of Hope project which is a collaboration between RWF and members of the Japanese American community.

To make a donation, click here and specify “Japan.”

To make a donation by check, mail to Rainbow World Fund, P.O. Box 14480, San Francisco, CA 94114-2336.

Rainbow World Fund helps people who suffer from hunger, poverty, disease, oppression and war by raising awareness and funds to support relief efforts around the world. They bundle LGBT dollars “to change perceptions of the LGBT community by putting our truest humanitarian beliefs and values into action which demonstrates our compassion and caring for the world,” according to their website.

UPDATE:

JASDFW Establishes Relief Fund for Tsunami Victims

The Japan America Society of Dallas Fort Worth has launched an emergency relief fund that will be used to aid relief and recovery efforts in Sendai, Japan.   Sendai and Dallas have been International Friendship Cities since 1997.

Those wishing to contribute to the fund may do so by sending their contributions to Japan-America of Dallas /Fort Worth, 11615 Forest Central Drive, Suite 26, Dallas, Texas 75243.

“The fund was established in response to the many inquiries our organization has received from people wishing to help,” said Anna McFarland.

Money raised through the JASDFW fund will be sent to organizations involved directly with relief efforts in Sendai, which was one of the cities hardest hit by the disaster.

“We are just now realizing the depth of the destruction and loss of human life in Japan as a result of the 8.9 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11,” said David Schnetzer, president of the JASDFW.

Reports now estimate the death toll may exceed tens of thousands.

As Friendship or Sister Cities, Dallas and Sendai have worked together to establish cross cultural understanding, educational and sports exchange programs and to promote business and economic relationships between the United States and Japan.

For more information about JASDFW’s Sendai Relief Fund or the city of Sendai, contact Anna McFarland, JASDFW Executive Director at 214-342-2022.

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DP benefits becomes an election issue in El Paso, as anti-gay candidates pack ballot for council

Posted on 14 Mar 2011 at 10:44am
Minister Manny Hinojosa, a candidate for El Paso City Council, is a leading opponent of DP benefits: “I’ve got God and the Holy Spirit on my side and if you ever get on your knees and pray you’ll find out,” Hinojosa said at City Council in November.

Anti-gay candidates are lining up to run for City Council in El Paso in the wake of the controversy over the council’s decision to offer health benefits to the domestic partners of city workers. ABC-7 reports that at least one candidate affiliated with a movement to rescind DP benefits has filed to run in every City Council race. After the City Council approved DP benefits, voters passed a ballot measure to rescind them in November. Groups representing city workers sued in federal court to block the ballot measure from being implemented, and a judge is expected to rule in the case in April. Watch video of the story here.

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WATCH: Leo Berman may not know what GLBT stands for, but he definitely doesn’t support it

Posted on 14 Mar 2011 at 9:43am

 

Earlier we tried to post video of anti-gay State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, debating Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, about a bill Anchia has filed that would allow same-sex parents to put both their names on an adopted child’s birth certificate. But we accidentally posted the wrong segment from KXAN’s Session ’11, so we figured we’d put it up again here with a transcript.

After Anchia explains the reason behind his bill, Berman is asked for his opinion about it.

Berman: It’s just like camouflaging an issue. This bullying issue in school, it a GLBT issue. It’s a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transvestite issue.

Anchia: Transgender.

Berman: I’m sorry. Transgender and transvestite. You cross-dress and you’re a transvestite, I guess. But anyway, I don’t support that at all. I don’t support it at all. I’m a conservative, and I suppose you would call yourself a liberal.

Anchia: I’d prefer you not branding me. How’s that?

Berman: I’m sorry. I apologize. I call myself a conservative, though. I am conservative, and I don’t support the agenda that the gay lesbian … transvestite — I’m sorry, what was that word?

Anchia: It’s the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community. GLBT.

Berman: Transgender community. GLBT. I don’t support their agenda at all.

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Services set for Marion Weger, owner of Gratitude

Posted on 14 Mar 2011 at 9:23am

Funeral services for Marion A. Weger, owner of Gratitude  Vintage Clothing in Oak Lawn, will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, at Park Cities Presbyterian Church, located on the corner of Oak Lawn and Wycliff avenues.

Watch for a complete obituary in the Friday, March 18 issue of Dallas Voice.

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