Seventh Circuit strikes down Indiana and Wisconsin marriage bans

Posted on 04 Sep 2014 at 2:54pm
Judge Richard Posner

Judge Richard Posner

The losing streak ends at 1 loss.

A day after a Louisiana judge upheld a state marriage ban for the first time since the Windsor decision, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Wisconsin and Indiana, upholding lower-court decisions. Judge Richard Posner wrote the marriage bans are a violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection. The three-judge panel’s decision was unanimous.

The judge involved in yesterday’s decision in Lousiana and the judge who wrote today’s decisions were both Reagan appointees.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, wrote, “Today’s sharp and scathing ruling demolishes the arguments and unsubstantiated claims made by opponents of the freedom to marry, repeated in the outlier decision out of Louisiana yesterday, and affirms what nearly 40 other federal and state courts have found: the denial of the freedom to marry inflicts real harms and is constitutionally indefensible.”


BREAKING: Joan Rivers dead at 81

Posted on 04 Sep 2014 at 2:03pm

joan_riversJoan Rivers, 81, has died, according to her daughter Melissa:

You can read the full statement here.

Dallas Voice interviewed and/or reviewed Rivers on several occasions. Here are links to some of the stories:

Review of Rivers’ March 2013 Dallas show at the Winspear.

And interview with Rivers prior to that appearance.

A review of the 2010 documentary about Rivers.

Another interview prior to her 2011 Dallas performance.



Group plans ‘massive protest’ at Cowboys Stadium

Posted on 04 Sep 2014 at 12:21pm

o-GOSFORD-ANGLICAN-facebookThe American Decency Association announced that thousands of people will descend on the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington to protest the team’s hiring Michael Sam for its practice squad.

The organization, which opposes pornography and indecency in the media, originally planned to picket in St. Louis. The group’s plans changed when Sam was released by the Rams earlier this week and then signed with Cowboys. “We cannot just stand idly by as Christian values and morals are trampled. We will do whatever we can to preserve family values in this country,” said Jack Burkman, a conservative lobbyist and head of American Decency, in a statement.

“Jerry Jones has betrayed American values, Christian values, and his own city’s values. The people of Dallas — and Christians all across this land — are about to make him pay a huge financial price. The Cowboys are no longer America’s team.”

Evidently the out gay Sam is contrary to God’s natural design for football watchers: straight men who drink beer and yell a lot.

They must have overlooked Jones’ provocative photos partying with younger women.

Or maybe they just alternate picketing schedules with the Westboro Baptist Church.


Michael Sam in Dallas: Dale Hansen’s take

Posted on 04 Sep 2014 at 12:18pm

Michael Sam, left, and Dale Hansen

As soon as we heard this week that Michael Sam was possibly coming to Dallas, my editorial staff and I started working on getting contacts for a story. We contacted the Dallas Cowboys public relations department. We contacted Sam’s agents. We contacted friends who contacted friends who knew somebody who knew …….

Well, you get the picture.

Wednesday afternoon late, I heard back from Sam’s agent, who informed me that Sam isn’t doing any “one-on-one interviews” right now because he just wants to focus on playing football. And you know what, I understand that. This is a young man who maybe didn’t get chosen as early in the draft as he might have been because of the media hoopla over the fact that he’s openly gay. He might have lost out on a spot on the St. Louis Rams roster for the same.

Everybody has been focused on Michael Sam’s sexual orientation and not his abilities as a football player. I am sure it’s frustrating for him. I understand that. Of course, as the largest LGBT newsmagazine in Texas, Michael Sam playing for the Cowboys is a story Dallas Voice has to go after. Even if we understand his desire to focus on football. Hopefully we can do it in a reasonable way, and talk about something other than what it might be like in the showers for Sam and his teammates (way to go, ESPN).

Yesterday, WFAA Channel 8 sportscaster Dale Hansen posted a piece on his blog, Dale Hansen Unplugged, that puts the situation in very clear, simple-to-understand terms: “He simply wants a chance.”

Hansen, who already won the hearts and minds of LGBTs across the country in February with his commentary on how ridiculous it is for the NFL to not have a problem with players who beat up their girlfriends, kill a teammate in a drunk driving accident or “lie to police to cover up a murder,” but then turn around and have such a huge problem with an openly gay player.

Hansen’s opinion on Michael Sam surprised a lot of people, and earned him a place of honor at this year’s Black Tie Dinner coming up in November.

This week, Hansen posted another Hansen Unplugged blog on Sam: “So the Cowboys decide to sign Michael Sam (and do we really need to say ‘The NFL’s first openly gay player?’ Geez, I hate hearing that every time his name is mentioned … and I would think he does, too).”

Hansen admits that Michael Sam being openly gay is a “very big” story, if for no other reason than “the first of anything is a big story.” At the same time, Hansen says he is fed up with the idea that Sam is too much of a “distraction” to play pro football. The real question is can Sam play at a pro level. “He simply wants a chance. The Cowboys are giving him that chance — nothing more, nothing less,” Hansen says.

As for all the other uproar, Hansen cemented his position as a valuable LGBT ally with this closing statement: “But the critics who are concerned about the decline of America because a gay man plays football disgust me, and I would hope they disgust you, too.”

Thanks Dale Hansen. We couldn’t agree more.


Battleground Texas holds LGBT organizing meeting at Sue Ellen’s

Posted on 04 Sep 2014 at 9:18am

Wendy-DavisBattleground Texas, the Democratic organizing group working to turn Texas blue in upcoming elections, meets at Sue Ellen’s on Thursday, Sept. 4 for LGBT for Wendy Davis. The strategy is to first turn Texas into a battleground state and hopefully win some statewide offices this year. The plan includes organizing support among key groups, including the LGBT community.

“Let’s make sure that the LGBT community in Texas has their voice heard in November and contributes to turning Texas blue!” Battleground Texas says on its event page on Facebook.

The meeting is 7–9 p.m. upstairs at Sue Ellens, 3014 Throckmorton St.


BREAKING: Louisiana marriage ban constitutional

Posted on 03 Sep 2014 at 1:24pm

Louisiana Capitol, Baton Rouge

The ban on same-sex marriage in Louisiana was upheld by a U.S. District judge, according to the Times-Picayune. This is the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down portions of the Defense of Marriage Act that discrimination has been upheld by a court.

Plaintiffs said they would appeal the ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. That court has a Texas marriage case pending as well.

While several cases have been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, there is no conflict in rulings so the court is not forced to act. If the Fifth Circuit rules differently than all other appeals courts, the U.S. Supreme Court would be forced to take up a case and make a definitive ruling.

The judge said plaintiffs failed to prove that banning marriage violates due process or equal protection.


Gays may earn right to be married by Elvis impersonators

Posted on 03 Sep 2014 at 11:28am

ElvisProstitution is moral and legal in Nevada, but same-sex marriage remains an illegal sin. Britney Spears’ one-day marriage is fully recognized, but couples who’ve been together for 50 years are not.

That all may change later this month if Nevada begins recognizing the right of gay and lesbian couples to be married by Elvis impersonators, just like their tacky heterosexual counterparts.

Same-sex marriage may come to Nevada the way it did in Oregon and Pennsylvania, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. Officials in those states refused to defend the state’s marriage ban and allowed lower court rulings to stand.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has already weighed in on the side of marriage equality, is set to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling on Sept. 8. Nevada’s governor was once a party to the appeal, but has since dropped his opposition to same-sex marriage when he realized gays could hold even bigger, gaudier and more garish weddings in his state than any straight bridezilla ever imagined.

Banning marriage has been bad for tourism, especially in Las Vegas, which has about 100 wedding chapels. In 2013, Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, issued more than 80,000 opposite-sex marriage licenses.

The state said it would need 21 days to prepare for same-sex marriage, mostly to change their licenses to read “Party 1” and “Party 2” instead of “Bride” and “Groom.”

State officials are also looking forward to money that could be earned from quickie divorces and the tourism that will generate, especially as couples who can’t divorce in their home states — like Texas — come to visit. Quickie Nevada divorces were popularized in the 1939 Joan Crawford gay classic The Women.

What happens in Las Vegas will be recognized by the federal government, but not by the state of Texas.


BREAKING: Michael Sam signs with Cowboys practice squad

Posted on 03 Sep 2014 at 10:23am

Out NFL recruit Michael Sam has signed with the Dallas Cowboys practice squad.

He previously was with the St. Louis Rams.

Check with the Voice for more news about the historic pick.



BREAKING: Michael Sam in talks with Dallas Cowboys

Posted on 02 Sep 2014 at 4:13pm

Michael Sam

The game’s not over for Michael Sam yet.

The first openly gay football player to be drafted by a national league, Sam meets with the Dallas Cowboys tomorrow to talk about joining the practice team, reports Outsports.

Sam was cut from the final round of drafts over the weekend by the St. Louis Rams. He was not considered for the practice team.

Earlier in the year, the Rams picked him in the last round of professional drafts.

The Texas native has said in the past that he grew up loving the Cowboys. A proud Texan (heehee!), he held out before signing with Mizzou because he wanted to go to A&M.

Hopefully we can welcome him home tomorrow.


Marriage supporter Abercrombie loses Hawaii primary

Posted on 02 Sep 2014 at 1:26pm
Gov. Neil Abercrombie

Gov. Neil Abercrombie

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie lost the Democratic primary in a 2-to-1 landslide in his bid for re-election, and he says the loss was due to his support for marriage equality.

Despite that loss, Abercrombie said he wouldn’t do anything differently.

“There’s no way I could live with myself if I thought I was diminishing another human’s ability to reach their full capacity,” he said.

After his election, Abercrombie tried to pass marriage equality in the first regular session of the legislature. When the bill was held up in committee, the governor called a special session to consider the issue.

Marriage equality passed in November 2013 and became law in December. Abercrombie attended the first weddings performed in the state.

Most analysts attribute the loss to Hawaii allowing crossover voting. Republicans who voted in the Democratic primary voted for the governor’s opponent, who would be easier to beat in the general election in November.

The head of the state’s Republican Party dismissed that analysis, saying there aren’t enough Republicans in the state to make that kind of difference.