Judge rejects Roy Moore’s efforts to have ethics complaint dismissed

Posted on 09 Aug 2016 at 11:29am
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is scheduled to go on trial Sept. 28 on charges that he violated judicial ethics by repeatedly refusing to abide by the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2015 ruling, in Obergefell v. Hodges, on marriage equality, and that he encouraged the 68 probate judges in the state — the elected officials that issue marriage licenses in Alabama — to ignore the ruling, too.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary, the panel that disciplines judges in the state, refused Moore’s motion to dismiss the ethics complaint against him. But the panel also refused a motion from the group of civil rights organizations, led by the Southern Poverty Law Center, that filed the complaint to have Moore removed from office immediately.

At the September hearing, a panel of nine judges will determine whether Moore did, indeed, violate judicial ethics and if he did, what punishment he will face. If the judges determine that he did violate ethics, Moore could be removed from his seat on the state Supreme Court.

If that happens, it will be the second time that Moore will have been removed from the court. He was ousted from the office in 2003 after refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monuments from the state judicial building. But the state’s voters returned him to the same office in 2012.

Alabama’s Judicial Inquiry Commission suspended Moore in May based on the complaint.

The Associated Press has compiled this timeline of Moore’s efforts to stop same-sex marriage in Alabama.


Rainbow LULAC and Congregation Beth El Binah team up for school supply drive

Posted on 09 Aug 2016 at 9:51am

LULACRainbow LULAC and Congregation Beth El Binah teamed up for a second time for a Back to School Mixer and School Supply Drive. School supplies may be dropped off at the mixer from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18 at Havana Lounge, 4006 Cedar Springs Road. Food will be catered by Tallywackers.

The list of supplies includes notebooks, looseleaf paper, construction paper, blunt scissors, pens, pencils and 3-ring binders.

The school supplies collected will be donated to Oak Lawn area schools.


Youth First art on display at ilume Gallerie

Posted on 08 Aug 2016 at 12:23pm

ilumeThe annual Youth First Art Show kicks off on Aug. 9 at the ilume GALLERIE, 4123 Cedar Springs Road, Suite 107, and runs through Aug. 12. Original art pieces included in the show center on the concept of love.

Meet the artists at a reception Wednesday, Aug. 10. Many of the youth in the art program use art as a form of therapy to cope with issues such as bullying, mental health struggles or a lack of family acceptance. Additionally, the art program has brought families together in support of their LGBT youth as they express their identity in a creative medium.

The Youth First Art Show was made possible through funding provided by the city of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs. Pieces on display are available for purchase. All proceeds from the art show will benefit Resource Center’s Youth First program.


A little inspiration for a Monday morning

Posted on 08 Aug 2016 at 10:58am

Heather Mae

Folk singer-songwriter Heather Mae released a new album in June called “I Am Enough,” a collection of five songs produced by Mark Williams of Sucker Punch Recording Co.

According to her website, HeatherMae.net, “The title track to her new album, ‘I Am Enough’ is an ode to body positivity and breaking away from self-imposed affliction to fit into what society defines as beautiful. “I see this record as a platform for change. Pop music with a mission.” says Heather, I am inspired by artists who are able to combine both.” ‘Wanderer’ and ‘No Poor Soul’ are reflections of Mae’s own experience of publicly coming out and the relief associated with finding love that accepts you just as you are — externally and internally. ‘Stand Up’ wraps up the entire record with its challenge to listeners to fight against intolerances that so many of us face, such as racism, sexism and other prejudices. Mae also includes references to the Black Lives Matter movement and the June [2015] SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage which destroyed DOMA.”

Here’s the video for “Stand Up.” It’s a good way to start your week. (And thanks to my friend Liz Reddick for sharing the vide on Facebook, where I saw it.)


Tracy James Jones talks about love in Jill Salvino doc

Posted on 02 Aug 2016 at 4:38pm
Tracy James Jones. Between the Shades

Local author Tracy James Jones talks about love and life in the Jill Salvino documentary, ‘Between the Shades.’

Last Feburary, James Russell wrote this profile of local author Tracy James Jones, whose novels feature transgender characters struggling with love, and who had just returned from New York where she participated in the filming of Between The Shades, a feature-length documentary that, in the words of Emmy-winning filmmaker Jill Salvino, “seeks to explore the many shades of being gay by what connects us all: love.”

Salvino explains that the documentary, which will feature 50 LGBT people talking about themselves and their lives, looks at “love though 360 degrees of parents, children and generations. The participants will represent a large range of age groups, ethnicities and professions. They are male, female and those who are still yet to be defined.”

Tracy James Jones, who normally splits her time between Dallas and Waxahachie, describes herself as transgender or gender nonconforming. Watch a brief video of Tracy here.

Watch a longer video about the documentary here or below, and check out the IMDB site here. There’s a Between the Shades Facebook page here, and you can learn more about Jill Salvino on Facebook and on her website.

You can read more about Tracy and her books here on her “Let’s Talk About Books” website, and here on her Facebook page.

Between the Shades Trailer from creative director on Vimeo.


Judge: Mississippi can’t enforce anti-LGBT law as court battle continues

Posted on 02 Aug 2016 at 1:15pm

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant

A federal judge in Mississippi on Monday, Aug. 1, refused state officials’ request to be allowed to enforce Mississippi’s anti-LGBT HB 1523 as the state appeals his ruling against the constitutionality of the measure, according to BuzzFeed reports.

HB 1523, signed into law in April by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, provided protections for individuals, religious organizations and certain businesses who take actions due to their “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” regarding same-sex marriage — or any sex outside straight marriage. It also provided similar protections for those who object to transgender people.

U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves in June issued a permanent injunction barring Mississippi from denying same-sex marriage licenses, meaning no circuit clerk or staff member clerk can deny a gay couple a marriage license even if House Bill 1523 is in effect.

On Monday, Reeves refused to put his ruling on hold while the state appeals the ruling to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. He wrote, “[I]ssuing a marriage license to a gay couple is not like being forced into armed combat or to assist with an abortion. Matters of life and death are sui generis. If movants truly believe that providing services to LGBT citizens forces them to ‘tinker with the machinery of death,’ their animus exceeds anything seen in Romer, Windsor, or the marriage equality cases.

“The motions are denied,” Reeves added. “The baton is now passed.”

Meanwhile in North Carolina

Also on Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder in Winston-Salem, N.C., heard arguments on whether to suspend that state’s highly controversial HB2 — which prevents transgender people from using the appropriate public restrooms and which prohibits local governments from enacting LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination laws, among other things.

Schroeder, who is expected to rule soon, seemed a bit skeptical, pressing the state “to show how the law made anyone safer and whether it was necessary.”

In related new, the Raleigh-based News & Observer is reporting that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has allowed the state’s disaster relief fund to instead be used to pay outside legal counsel defending him and other state officials against the many lawsuits that have been filed challenging HB2.


VP conducts his first marriage ceremony, for two gay WH staffers

Posted on 02 Aug 2016 at 10:25am

VP Biden wedding tweet

Vice President Joe Biden has conducted his first wedding ceremony, and it was for a gay male couple, both of whom are longtime White House staffers.

BuzzFeed reports that Biden obtained a temporary certification from the District of Columbia so that he could perform the wedding ceremony for Brian Mosteller and Joe Mahshie. The ceremony took place Monday afternoon at Biden’s home.

The vice president then tweeted out a photo of himself performing the ceremony for Mosteller and Mahshie, saying, “Proud to marry Brian and Joe at my house. Couldn’t be happier, two longtime White House staffers, two great guys.”

His wife, Dr. Jill Biden, then retweeted the post, saying, “Love is love! — Jill.”

Buzz Feed notes that Mosteller is the director of Oval Office operations and Mahshie is a trip coordinator for First Lady Michelle Obama.


Rubio celebrates Orlando massacre anniversary with anti-LGBT hate groups

Posted on 01 Aug 2016 at 4:43pm

Sen. Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio, who Miami New Times calls “Florida’s most brazen political opportunist,” will be holding an anti-gay event in Orlando on the two-month anniversary of the Pulse massacre.

On Aug. 12, Rubio will speak to Liberty Counsel, the organization run by Mat Staver — Rowan County, Ky. County Clerk Kim Davis’ attorney. Davis is the clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses and went to jail for four days until she agreed to a compromise.

The meeting is also hosted by the Florida Renewal Project, another anti-LGBT group that believes homosexuality is a Marxist plot and universal same-sex marriage is suicide. Because we want to force everyone to get same-sex married, I guess.

Among the other anti-gay speakers is Bill Federer who thinks gays people are responsible for Islamic terrorism. Hey, Bill, I’m Jewish. I have some wonderful Muslim friends, but leave me out of this. Another is the Rev. Ken Graves who preaches about “militant homofascism.” Yeah, I’m against that too. Does that put me on this creep’s side?

Rubio had promised Florida he would not run for re-election. But when he lost his home state’s presidential primary, he dropped out of the presidential race and decided to run for his Senate seat again.

While Rubio has been hostile to Florida’s LGBT community since he became a U.S. senator six years ago, no one thought he would be so tone deaf that he’d mark the anniversary of the murder of 49 people by celebrating with people who hate them.


Tuesday is Give OUT Day

Posted on 01 Aug 2016 at 11:13am


Give OUT DayMore than $100,000 in prizes go to LGBT organizations with the most unique donors in a 24-hour national day of giving for the LGBTQ community and takes place on Tuesday, Aug. 2 and runs from midnight to midnight. The online fundraising event includes organizations from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and D.C.

Give OUT Day was launched in 2013 by Bolder Giving with support from the Kevin J. Mossier Foundation and is now a project of Horizons Foundation, a San Francisco-based LGBT communities foundation.

The nonprofits range from the arts to social services agencies, advocacy groups to sports leagues, community centers to health care nonprofits.

“It would be hard to find an LGBT person who hasn’t, at one time or another, turned to an LGBTQ nonprofit at some point in our lives,” said Roger Doughty, President of  Horizons Foundation. “Give OUT Day is an opportunity to engage new donors and support our LGBGTQ organizations for their tireless efforts, often working with limited resource.”

According to Horizons Foundation research, less than 5 percent of LGBT people give direct financial support to LGBTQ organizations.

Equality Texas foundation, Transgender Education Network of Texas, The Women’s Chorus of Dallas are among the local and Texas organizations participating. National organizations like Sage, Binet and Trevor Project are also participating.

Click here to make a donation.



Blue Cross to cover gender correction surgery?

Posted on 29 Jul 2016 at 3:15pm

BCBSBlue Cross Blue Shield of Texas wants to cover gender correction surgery for transgender people in plans sold on HealthCare.gov, according to a report published Thursday, July 28, by The Dallas Morning News. BCBS, the largest insurer in Texas, also called for an increase of almost 60 percent in premiums for individual plans for next year.

No on at BCBS is commenting on whether adding coverage for gender correction surgery is the reason they are asking for a rate increase, but the Morning News article by business columnist Michael Schnurman indicates that’s probably not the case, citing studies that show extending coverage to transgender people: “While surgery is expensive, up to $89,000, few people get it. And those ‘in transition’ often receive hormone treatments or other less expensive therapies.”

Of course, all the facts and studies and so forth probably won’t make a damn bit of difference to the right-wingers in the Texas Legislature who have drawn a target on the back of transgender Texans with a slew of anti-trans bills in the last legislative session and a slew more expected next year, Schnurman said. (OK, so I paraphrased a little. But that’s what he meant.)

Read Schnurman’s full analysis here.