UPDATE: Lesbian couple involved in fatal Fort Worth accident

Posted on 13 Apr 2015 at 11:50am


Fort Worth Police Officer Tamara Pena got back with me this afternoon about the fatal multi-car accident in Fort Worth that left many dead and injured, including a lesbian couple, on Sunday morning.

According to Pena:

Officers were dispatched early Sunday, April 12, to investigate a multi-vehicle accident involving an 18-wheeler truck. Several vehicles had stopped to help a driver who had been involved in a single vehicle accident. Many of the individuals who had stopped were out of their vehicles.  An 18-wheeler struck the vehicle that had been involved in the initial accident and also struck several vehicles and individuals who had stopped to help.  The 18-wheeler caught on fire. Four individuals were confirmed deceased on the scene, another female was transported to an area hospital where she later died. Two other individuals were transported to area hospitals, one by ambulance, another by Careflight. Additionally, the truck driver was transported to an area hospital but he did not appear to have serious injuries.  Traffic Investigators are investigating the factors of the accident.

Original post:

According to the Dallas Morning News, a Fort Worth lesbian couple were among those involved in a fatal car accident on early Sunday morning in Fort Worth.

Veronica Gonzalez, who was raised in Oak Cliff, and her fiancee’s sister were among those killed.

Gonzalez’s fiancee was injured in the crash and remains unconscious, according to the News.

I’ve put in a call to the Fort Worth Police Department and will update this story as I hear more.


Cathedral of Hope names new senior pastor

Posted on 13 Apr 2015 at 10:44am

Cazares-Thomas,NeilCathedral of Hope announced its new senior pastor at services on Sunday, April 12.

The Rev. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas is ordained with Metropolitan Community Churches and currently serves Founders MCC in Los Angeles. His Facebook page says he has been part of MCC for 33 years.

As a native of Bournemouth, England, Dr. Thomas grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Cathedral of Hope was a member of MCC until about 10 years ago when it affiliated with United Church of Christ.

The church has been without a permanent senior pastor since the Rev. Jo Hudson resigned almost two years ago. The Rev. Jim Mitulski, who served as interim pastor for about a year-and-a-half, left in December and is now serving as an interim pastor at a church in Denver.

Cazares-Thomas will begin at Cathedral of Hope in June.

More on this in Friday’s Dallas Voice.


Clinton includes gay couples in announcement video

Posted on 13 Apr 2015 at 10:20am
Hillary video

Image from “Getting Started,” Clinton’s announcement video

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially launched her presidential campaign over the weekend with a video that included a gay couple. The video, “Getting Started,” was seen more than 2 million times in the first 24 hours after she announced her candidacy on Sunday, April 12.

The first minute of the video features a diverse cross-section of people including the gay couple.

“I’m getting married this summer to someone I really care about,” the voice-over says over a video of two people holding hands. The next shot shows the male couple walking hand-in-hand in a city neighborhood.

Toward the end of the video, as Clinton is asking for people to “join me on this journey,” a lesbian couple smiles and touches foreheads.

Republican Marco Rubio announced his candidacy this morning (Monday, April 13). Neither he nor the other two Republicans that have announced candidacies — Rand Paul and Ted Cruz — are as inclusive in their videos on their campaign websites.

Here’s the video:


BREAKING: Hillary Clinton announces 2016 presidential bid

Posted on 12 Apr 2015 at 2:00pm
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Longtime Clinton family confidante John Podesta announced today (Sunday, April 12) that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is running for president.

This is her second presidential run. The former senator from New York and first lady made her first bid for the presidency in 2008, where she was defeated in a bruising presidential primary by then-Sen. Barack Obama, a first term senator from Illinois. After securing the Democratic nomination he ultimately crushed another longtime titan, Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, in the general election.

While it is not the first time she’s been the presumed frontrunner for her party’s nomination, she is expected to face only token opposition this time. Despite the Democrats’ best efforts, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley are said to be considering bids as well.

But not everyone wants to see Clinton go without a challenge. On Twitter, the Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith pointed out HRC2016.com links to a 2013 article in The New Republic calling Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts and a favorite of progressives, “Hillary’s Nightmare.” Many progressive activists have repeatedly attempted to recruit the first-term Warren to jump into the race. She has repeatedly declined.

So far, Republican Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican with Texas ties, have declared their bids for their party’s nomination. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, is set to announce his campaign tomorrow (Monday, April 13). Other Republicans with Texas ties, including former governors Rick Perry, R-Texas, and Jeb Bush, R-Florida, are also expected to announce soon.


Rep. Johnson pushes for Medal of Honor for WWII hero

Posted on 10 Apr 2015 at 2:27pm

Doris “Dorie” Miller

In March, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson re-introduced a piece of legislation to award the Congressional Medal of Honor to Navy war hero, Doris “Dorie” Miller. He acted courageously — saving lives while risking his own and helping prevent a Japanese invasion during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Miller is from Rep. Johnson’s hometown, Waco.

Rep. Johnson asked me if I’d help her secure the Medal of Honor for the Waco native. When I heard the story, I jumped at the chance.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt opened the Navy to blacks, but the only positions they could hold were mess attendants, stewards, and cooks.

Miller enlisted in 1939 at the age of 19 and became a cook third class on the USS West Virginia. On Dec. 7, 1941, the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the West Virginia was in port. He was doing laundry duty when the first of eight torpedoes hit the ship, and he heard the call to battle stations.

He raced up to the deck and heard the captain had been wounded, so he ran up to the bridge. Miller carried the captain down to first aid and then helped other wounded sailors to safety.

As he avoided the strafing on deck, Miller saw an anti-aircraft gun not being used, so went over to it and began shooting. Although he hadn’t been trained on the .50-caliber machine gun, he downed one of the attacking planes. He then rescued other sailors before the ship sank.

Miller died in 1944 aboard the USS Liscome Bay when it was torpedoed in the South Pacific by the Japanese. He was awarded the Purple Heart and was the first African American to receive the Navy Cross, which is awarded for courage under fire.

He was portrayed in the film Pearl Harbor by Cuba Gooding Jr.

Waco has been generous in honoring Miller, putting his name on a city recreation center, a YMCA facility, a cemetery and a former elementary school. In February, the VA Hospital was renamed in his honor and a U.S. postage stamp has been issued in his honor.

Reps. Jake Pickle, Barbara Jordan, Mickey Leland and Craig Washington worked to bestow this honor since before Rep. Johnson entered Congress in 1993. It’s time to correct the omission by passing Rep. Johnson’s legislation and award Miller the Congressional Medal of Honor.

If you would like to help, you can sign a Change.org petition and you may write a letter to President Barack Obama, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20500.



Religious school creates ceremony to mark student’s transition

Posted on 09 Apr 2015 at 4:15pm

Rabbi Tsipi Gabai

A California Jewish Day School created a special ceremony for a 13-year-old boy at the school.

Usually the age of 13 marks the bar mitzvah, but this ceremony marked a trans student’s transition from female to male, according to the Times of Israel.

Many schools and synagogues have made gender-neutral bathrooms available, but this is believed to be the first time a Jewish ceremony was created to affirm a gender transition.

The school also began a year-long process of understanding and learning about gender with a partnership with Gender Spectrum, a local group that provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for children of all ages. Gender Spectrum led workshops for students, faculty and parents.

Tom Sosnik, the 13-year-old trans student, said he came out after he read about the suicide of a 17-year-old trans girl in Ohio who was forced into reparative therapy. Sosnik thanked his family and his school for their support. He transferred to the school after being viciously bullied at his previous school in Fresno.

Rabbi Tsipi Gabai said she took into account the high suicide rate and the Talmudic commandment that to save one life is like saving the world when deciding to create the ceremony.


Florida’s House votes for adoption discrimination law after Senate rejects it

Posted on 09 Apr 2015 at 3:55pm

Nadine Smith

After the Florida Senate soundly defeated an attempt return discrimination against gay and lesbian parents to adoption laws, the Florida House approved a discrimination bill that gives taxpayer-funded adoption agencies a “license to discriminate” against gay and lesbian couples looking to adopt.

The 75-38 vote is symbolic because the Florida Senate overwhelmingly rejected a similar proposal.

“Thursday’s House vote sends an ugly message about Florida, whether it becomes law or not,” said Nadine Smith, chief executive of Equality Florida. “As other states such as Indiana have learned, discriminatory laws under the false guise of religious freedom are widely criticized. They are unfair and unjust, and they also hurt a state’s economy.


Obama calls for ban on discredited reparative therapy practice

Posted on 09 Apr 2015 at 10:43am

ObamaPresident Barack Obama called for an end to the discredited practice known as reparative therapy yesterday (Wednesday, April 9) in response to a WhiteHouse.gov petition calling for a ban on the process.

The president’s statement, written by senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, responded to a WhiteHouse.gov petition signed by more than 120,00 people calling for a ban on the practice following the suicide of a young transwoman, Leelah Alcorn, last December.

“We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer youth,” the statement reads. “When assessing the validity of conversion therapy, or other practices that seek to change an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation, it is as imperative to seek guidance from certified medical experts.”

Conversion therapy, as it is commonly called, is most often used on LGBT minors to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Numerous professional organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association and American Medical Association, oppose the practice. Other organizations, ranging from the World Health Organization to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry have also denounced it.

But the practice still has some supporters, including a vocal group of social conservatives who acknowledged the practice in the Texas Republican Party platform during the party’s 2014 convention.

Currently California, New Jersey and the District of Columbia have banned conversion therapy. Bills have been introduced in 18 states, including Texas, that would ban the process. Texas Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, who authored HB 3495 to ban conversion therapy, is currently awaiting a committee hearing on her bill.


Federal workplace discrimination rules go into effect today

Posted on 08 Apr 2015 at 1:11pm

President Barack Obama signed executive orders to protect LGBT employees from federal workplace discrimination on Monday, July 21. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

A new federal rule barring discrimination against LGBT employees of federal contractors and subcontractors went into effect today (Wednesday, April 8), a little less than a year after President Obama announced the historic move.

In a blog post, Labor Secretary Tom Perez called the move a civil rights victory.

“It will mean a more dynamic and inclusive workforce that captures the talents of more of our people. It advances the principle that we should be leaving no one on the sidelines, that America is strongest when it fields a full team,” Perez wrote.

Until today, Perez wrote, neither sexual orientation nor gender identity were considered protected classes under federal contracting ordinances. This is the first time the rule has been changed since 1974.

“Today is an important mile marker on the path to workplace equality, but our efforts are far from finished. We will move with all haste, bringing to bear the full resources of this department to implement and enforce these new protections on behalf of the LGBT Americans who work for federal contractors,” wrote Perez.


Springfield repeals nondiscrimination ordinance

Posted on 08 Apr 2015 at 10:49am

Not in this Springfield. In one of the real ones.

In a narrow vote yesterday (Tuesday, April 7), voters in Springfield, Mo. repealed an ordinance that extended anti-discrimination protections to LGBT citizens, six months after it was put on the books.

Opponents of the ordinance say that the outcome of the vote is a victory for the faith community, as the ordinance had “many potential legal ramifications for businesses.”

LGBT-rights advocates were disappointed by the results of the vote, but pledged to continue the fight for more comprehensive protections for the LGBT community.

The Springfield News-Ledger said emotions were running high during the election.

Krista Moncado, a supporter of the ordinance, said, “Either way, it was going to be emotional… People have worked so hard on this. We’ll rest tonight and we’ll regroup tomorrow.”

The ordinance has been on hold since it was passed six months ago. Mayor Bob Stephens said the issue should be decided on the federal level.

Missouri is not a marriage equality state, but it is the only state under court order to recognize marriages performed elsewhere. Also, St. Louis issues marriage licenses as a result of court case and Kansas City does as well, well, just because they found they could and no one was going to stop them.