As if there’s not enough spilled coke on Wycliff already

Posted on 13 Aug 2015 at 12:20pm

(Photo courtesy of Matt Ball)

Maybe a Diet Coke truck would have fit under the Tollway as it crosses Wycliff Avenue, but this Coke truck certainly didn’t. Wycliff is closed this morning as the wreckage is cleared.


Allstate agency owner Alex Long recognized for volunteerism, earning Resource Center $1,000 grant

Posted on 13 Aug 2015 at 10:18am
Alex Long

Allstate agency owner Alex Long

The Allstate Foundation honored local Allstate Insurance agency owner Alex Long with the Agency in Hands in the Community Award for his volunteer work at Resource Center.

The award also came with a $1,000 grant for the Center’s programming.

The foundation honors Allstate agency owners who volunteer in their community. To be eligible for nomination, they must be involved with a nonprofit of their choice.

Long has volunteered with the Resource Center’s Gaybingo program for the past eight years, serving regularly as a sponsor. He volunteers at the Resource Center because he lost so many friends to HIV and AIDS.

“The work they do is important,” he said. “And I’m proud to give back.”

Congratulations, Alex!


Lawsuit filed against Mississippi adoption ban

Posted on 12 Aug 2015 at 10:30am

Attorney Robbie Kaplan

Mississippi is the last state that has a ban on same-sex couples adopting.

Attorney Robbie Kaplan, who represented Edie Windsor in her fight against the Defense of Marriage Act and represented Mississippi couples in their fight against their state’s marriage ban, filed the lawsuit.

“We like to finish what we started,” Kaplan tweeted.

On its website, the Campaign for Southern Equality wrote:

The case, Campaign for Southern Equality v. Mississippi Department of Human Services, was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on behalf of four same-sex couples: Kari Lunsford and Tinora Sweeten-Lunsford, who are seeking to adopt a child; Brittany Rowell and Jessica Harbuck, also seeking to adopt; Donna Phillips and Janet Smith, parents to a young daughter; and Kathryn Garner and Susan Hrostowski, who have a 15-year-old son. Two organizations — the Campaign for Southern Equality and Family Equality Council — join the case as plaintiffs representing the LGBT families across Mississippi.


KNON must relocate in less than 2 months but has nowhere to go

Posted on 12 Aug 2015 at 7:42am

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, center, in the KNON studio with Lambda Weekly hosts (I’m on the left)

KNON-FM, home of Lambda Weekly, the longest-running weekly LGBT talk show in the country — which I have co-hosted since the Stone Age — and a wide range of music formats not heard elsewhere on the dial, needs to move into its new home by the end of September. The problem is the station doesn’t have a new location to move to.

Lambda Weekly and KNON celebrated their 33rd anniversaries on Aug. 1.

The station, located at 5353 Maple Ave., has been at its current location for 10 years. In the early 1990s, the building housed Cathedral of Hope after the church’s Reagan Street location was sold to what is now Resource Center and the church’s current building was under construction.

The KNON building is being turned into storage units to service all the new apartment buildings that have popped up in the neighborhood.

For the past six months, station manager Dave Chaos has been looking for an affordable location and negotiating leases. He said everything that seemed promising has fallen through at the last minute.

Chaos said the station needs 2,500 to 3,000 square feet.

KNON is a nonprofit organization and broadcasts commercial-free. Most operating expenses are generated through listener support and events.

Anyone who may have property that would be suitable for the station should contact Chaos at 214-828-9500. He said because of its FCC license, KNON’s studio must be located within the city of Dallas.


Paxton court appearance delayed 4 weeks, not canceled

Posted on 11 Aug 2015 at 3:02pm
Ken Paxton

Ken Paxton (photo courtesy Collin County)

While no deadline has been set for Attorney General Ken Paxton to issue new guidelines to state employees about amending birth and death certificates, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia set a hearing for Sept. 10, meaning a contempt citation is still a possibility against the embattled politician.

Attorney Neel Lane said he expects to see something before then. Lane is the attorney for the two Texas marriage-equality-case couples. Earlier this month, he filed a motion in the case to force Texas to recognize a marriage for the purposes of a death certificate.

Texas had refused to issue the amended death certificate that would recognize the marriage of James and John Stone-Hoskins, so that John could inherit his husband’s estate. James died in January 2015. The couple was married in New Mexico a year ago.

Lane said John Stone-Hoskins asked for one amended death certificate, but when the state refused, he ended up winning that right for all same-sex couples in Texas who were married before the Obergefell marriage-equality decision as well as amended birth certificates that could affect thousands of couples and their children in Texas.

During the hearing, Garcia asked if there were any other departments that had not complied with his marriage-equality ruling. He said Garcia seemed anxious to make sure the state was complying in all areas.

Lane said that despite Paxton’s initial bluster encouraging county clerks with deeply held religious beliefs not to comply with Obergefell, the attorney general agreed to issue new guidelines pretty quickly when facing his own contempt of court hearing.

Once the guidelines are written, Lane said he’ll consult with a number of family law attorneys and Lambda Legal’s Ken Upton to make sure same-sex couples are treated the same as opposite-sex couples for purposes of issuing birth and death certificates.

“Under Texas law, the spouse is the presumed parent,” he said.

He said he presumed the guidelines will require the parents to be married at the time of the birth or adoption of the child to be considered the legal parent for purposes of the birth certificate, but he’ll make sure all married couples are treated equally.


Rick Perry’s broke. Whoops

Posted on 11 Aug 2015 at 1:07pm

Former Gov. Rick Perry

Former Gov. Rick Perry stopped paying his staff at his national campaign headquarters in Austin and in early primary and caucus states Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, The Washington Post is reporting.

According to the Post, Perry told his staff on Friday, the day after the first Republican debate, that the money has dried up.

But does the lack of money mean Perry will be the first of the — currently 18 — Republican candidates to drop out of the race? His super-PAC has plenty of money, but since a super-PAC can’t coordinate with a campaign, it had no idea about the cash flow problem at the campaign.

The super-PAC is gearing up to expand its operation, but it’s not clear if that means hiring all those campaign workers.

Either way, Perry said he’s committed to participating in the early caucuses and primaries.

In a poll by NBC/SurveyMonkey, Rick Perry remained at 2 percent support after the debate. The poll showed no one thought he did best in the debate and 2 percent thought he did worst.


Keller ISD nondiscrimination ordinance up for vote on Thursday

Posted on 11 Aug 2015 at 12:43pm
Jo Lynn Haussmann

Keller ISD Trustee Jo Lynn Haussmann opposes the ordinance

The Keller Independent School District school board will vote Thursday on whether to amend the district’s nondiscrimination policy to protect students and employees from bullying, discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

Administrators with the district in northeast Tarrant County crafted it after a lesbian student alleged discrimination based on her sexual orientation by school administrators earlier this year.

Two trustees, Jo Lynn Haussmann and Brad Schofield — backed by anti-LGBT activists — oppose the measure.

In a Facebook post, Haussman wrote the ordinance would “take away [students’] rights and morality.” She then linked to a radio post from the fundamentalist Christian group WallBuilders.

On a radio show this morning, Brad Schofield slammed his fellow trustees for being “too liberal.”

Conservative groups opposed to the ordinance urged members to attend the meeting and voice opposition to the measure, even those who don’t live in the school district and would not be impacted by it.

In an email, the conservative Northeast Tarrant County Tea Party called the ordinance part of the LGBT “agenda” which is “spreading like cancer” and suggests the policy would “fundamentally change America.”

It also warns against “unintended consequences, requiring mixed gender bathroom and locker room use as well as explicit sexual orientation education at all school age groups from K–12.”

Proponents of the ordinance request attendees wear blue and green; bring flags or signs of support to wave at the entrance or silently in back of the room.

“Be respectful at all times,” reads a notice from Fairness Fort Worth. “We aren’t the circus act in the room; they are.”

The board meeting takes place 6:30 p.m. at the Keller ISD Education Center, 350 Keller Parkway, Keller.


25 Stories of LifeWalk: Ella Wilson

Posted on 11 Aug 2015 at 7:16am

Ella WilsonAs LifeWalk approaches its 25th anniversary on Oct. 4, 25 people tell stories about what the event means to them.

Ella Wilson, a LifeWalk steering committee member, walks with the Bank of America teams. Here’s how she started:

“I became involved in LifeWalk in 1995 while working for what was then NationsBank, now Bank of America,” she wrote. “The founder of Bryan’s House was also a bank employee. Bryan’s House was a LifeWalk beneficiary. The bank started a team in support of her and I joined that team. Like me, Bank of America still supports LifeWalk.”

Here’s the rest of her story.


UPDATE: Paxton makes huge concession to avoid contempt of court

Posted on 10 Aug 2015 at 4:01pm
Ken Paxton

Attorney General Ken Paxton

To avoid facing a contempt of court hearing and possible jail time for ignoring a court ruling that declared the Texas marriage amendment unconstitutional, Attorney General Ken Paxton will issue new guidelines to state employees.

Those guidelines include recognizing married same-sex couples for purposes of death certificates but also for purposes of birth certificates. Refusing to recognize a same-sex couple for purposes of a death certificate led to the contempt charges.

The birth certificate issue has been a problem for same-sex couples for years. Judges in only a few counties including Dallas will allow second parent adoptions, but the second parent’s name doesn’t go on the birth certificate. If an opposite-sex couple is married, the husband is presumed to be the father and his name goes on the birth certificate.

Now the names of a couple that adopts together will both go on the birth certificate, just as it does for opposite-sex couples. For gay couples who have children through a surrogate, both names of the married couple will go on the birth certificate. And for lesbian couples who have a baby and one of the women carry the child, both names of a married couple will go on the birth certificate.


Paxton asks to be excused from contempt of court hearing

Posted on 10 Aug 2015 at 3:36pm
Ken Paxton

Attorney General Ken Paxton

Attorney General Ken Paxton asked that he and interim commissioner of Texas Department of State Health Services Kirk Cole be excused from a contempt of court hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

The order to appear was issued by U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia because Cole and Paxton refused to recognize a same-sex marriage for purposes of a death certificate. Their refusal defies Garcia’s marriage-equality ruling that declared the Texas marriage amendment unconstitutional.

Garcia ordered the state recognize the marriage of John and James Stone-Hoskins. James died earlier this year before the Supreme Court ruling. But Garcia’s ruling was made in February 2014 and was affirmed by the Fifth District Court of Appeals in July 2015.

Although Garcia ordered the state to reissue the death certificate immediately, it took Cole’s office two days to comply.

Cole and Paxton had until today to respond to the court with any written defense. Instead, they asked to be excused from appearing. They also asked the judge to rule by 3 p.m. so they’d have time to appeal.

I’m sure Garcia will respond to that request “immediately.”