CoH marks one-year anniversary of marriage equality

Posted on 27 Jun 2016 at 12:01pm
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The Turtle Creek Chorale performs at Cathedral of Hope to mark the one-year anniversary of marriage equality.

Cathedral of Hope marked the one-year anniversary of marriage equality with a program that included music, speakers, cake and lots of champagne on Sunday, June 25. The Turtle Creek Chorale performed at the beginning and end of the event.

The Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas said more than 300 marriages have been performed at the church since the Obergefell decision brought marriage equality to Texas a year ago.

“And they’re still together,” he said. “We didn’t tear apart the sanctity of marriage.”

He said it never get tiring saying the words, “By the power invested in me by the United Church of Christ, the state of Texas and the U.S. Constitution” when performing a wedding.

He noted LGBT opponents have tried to create wedge issues between segments of the community.

“We will not let that happen because we are stronger together,” Cazares-Thomas said.

On the issue of gun control, which Human Rights Campaign has taken on, he said, “Gays know how to get shit done.”

Judge Tonya Parker spoke about marriage equality day at the Allen Courts Building. She had been trying to conduct a normal day of business in her court, but Judge Eric Moye interrupted that as he walked into her courtroom while she was speaking to opposing attorneys at the bench. Moye just approached the Parker, walked around the bench and up to her and gave her a hug. He told her he wanted to be the first to celebrate with her.

All of the other judges in the building circulated an email and decided she would be the first to perform a wedding. When a couple arrived for her to marry, all of the other judges, dressed in their robes, sat in the jury box in solidarity to watch her officiate.

The message, Parker said, was that same-sex couples are welcome in Dallas County and that they don’t have to seek out the one judge who will perform their wedding. They’re welcome in any court. All will do weddings, name changes and adoptions, just as they would do for any couple.

Parker said she talks to couples before the ceremony and was asking them what term they prefer. She said she heard repeatedly couples were saying, “Partner is fine.” That frustrated her and when she hears that now, she tells them, “You know, today you can get an upgrade.”

County Judge Clay Jenkins told the crowd that he watched the marriage equality decision read on TV with his daughter Madeleine. Her reaction was, “Every child’s parents should be able to get married.”

“Kids get it,” Jenkins said.

He called the marriage-equality decision a victory for all children whose families would now be treated equally.

Texas marriage equality plaintiffs Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes called marriage equality day a year ago and their wedding day in November two of the happiest days of their lives. When the decision was announced, Phariss said, the couple was at Love Field waiting for a flight to Austin to speak at the Capitol.

When the decision was announced, Phariss said he began crying. As he blubbered, he was rushed through the security line. He was escorted onto the plane as he continued crying and was given what he described as extra special service as he continued crying uncontrollably during the flight. He said everyone must have thought he was going to a funeral, rather than a celebration.

Cece Cox called marriage equality decision day “my favorite day.”

She said the work isn’t done yet and called on the Dallas City Council to ban reparative therapy in the city of Dallas.

She called out Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for his “hate and lies.” On the morning of the Orlando massacre, Patrick tweeted out that people “reap what they sow.” Although he removed the tweet because of severe criticism, he never apologized for blaming the victims. Instead he blamed an aide for posting it.

Jennifer Campisi is the mother of a 9-year-old trans boy. She said when she was pregnant, she read all the parenting books. None of them, she noted, had even a paragraph on raising a trans child.

Equality Texas prepared a video that included marriage equality as well as the Oak Lawn attacks. Board President Steve Rudner said Texas Competes now has 1,000 businesses on board including 34 Fortune 500 companies with operations in Texas.

Chris Chism, the Cathedral’s choir and others performed as well. Cake and lots of champagne followed the program.

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Northaven UMC votes to perform all legal weddings

Posted on 27 Jun 2016 at 10:33am

Northaven UMC’s retired pastor, the Rev. Bill McIlveney, center, was brought up on charges by the denomination after performing a wedding for George Harris and Jack Evans at Midway Hills Christian Church in February 2014.

Northaven United Methodist Church has voted 270-5 to perform same-sex marriages.

The vote was “to support and honor marriages of couples licensed to be married on an equal basis.”

In a public statement, the representatives of the church wrote, “The decision by the Northaven congregation is in full alignment with the ministry of the church, its mission field, its commitment to social justice and inclusion, and to the core precepts of the United Methodist Church. The Northaven vote empowers the church to extend pastoral care to all of its members in the important area of marriage.”

At its recent meeting, the United Methodist Church made some movement on same-sex marriage, but delayed any change in policy by appointing a committee to study the issue.

In its statement, Northaven made clear it was not making a political statement. No same-sex marriages were scheduled and no public announcement, other than usual wedding announcements, would be made.

Announcement of the vote came a day after the death of Jack Evans. Evans married George Harris in a religious ceremony after a 53-year engagement at a service held at Midway Hills Christian Church. The Rev. Bill McElvaney, retired pastor of Northaven UMC presided. McElvaney was brought up on charges after the wedding. Northaven’s senior pastor, the Rev. Eric Folkerth, attended along with dozens of other Methodist ministers from around the state.

Evans and Harris were legally married a year ago today (June 26, 2015) in the first civil ceremony for a same-sex couple held in Dallas County. Again, Folkerth didn’t preside, but attended. Instead, his wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, performed the wedding.

Northaven’s statement concludes by saying marriage is “an intensely personal and pastoral event.”

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BREAKING NEWS: SCOTUS strikes down Texas law restricting abortions

Posted on 27 Jun 2016 at 10:28am

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The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the Texas law requiring clinics that provide abortions to have surgical facilities and doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The court issued its 5-3 ruling this morning (Monday, June 27), reversing the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding the law in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

NPR reports that conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, while Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan in the majority.

Breyer, writing for the majority, said the restrictive law would “vastly increase the obstacles confronting women seeking abortions in Texas without providing any benefit to women’s health capable of withstanding any meaningful scrutiny.” Read Breyer’s entire opinion, Ginsberg’s concurring opinion and dissenting opinions by Thomas and Alito here.

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#IAmDone stages rally against pastor’s hate speech in Fort Worth

Posted on 26 Jun 2016 at 11:31pm

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About 50 people organized by #IAmDone, a new direct action group created in the wake of the June 12 murders at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, staged a peaceful protest across the street from Steadfast Baptist Church in Sansom City on Sunday morning, June 26, speaking out against hateful comments made by the pastor of the church.

The main goal of Sunday’s protest, said organizer Karen McCronklin, was “to make a peaceful response to a hateful statement.”

On Thursday, June 16 — just five days after a gunman armed with an assault rifle murdered 49 men and women at Pulse, and injured more than 50 others — Steadfast Baptist Pastor Donnie Romero posted a video on YouTube, in which he defended hate speech by another homophobic preacher, Roger Jimenez of Sacramento, Calif., and said that the men and women killed in Orlando deserved to die.
“These 50 sodomites are all perverts and pedophiles,” Romero sad in his video. “They’re the scum of the earth and the earth is a better place now and I’ll take it a step further. … I’ll pray to God like I did this morning, and I will again tonight, that God will finish the job that that man started.”

That kind of hatefulness, said McCrocklin and others at the rally, cannot go unchallenged anymore.”When this kind of hate speech happens, we’re going to take a stand against it,” organizer Steve Atkinson said.

After #IAmDone first announced plans to protest outside Romero’s church, the pastor said publicly that he and others in his congregations carry guns and would not hesitate to use them to defend their church. That put the #IAmDone organizers, already on high alert for violence in the wake of Orlando, in an even more protective stance, and even more determined to meet Romero’s hate with peace.

Protest organizers worked with police in Fort Worth and Sansom Park to make sure the protest was as peaceful and safe as possible. The group then gathered in a parking lot about a block away from the church and marched with a police escort to a spot just across the Jacksoboro highway from the church.

Protestors sang “Jesus Loves Me” as they waved a rainbow flag and a transgender Pride flag, along with posters bearing messages of pride and love.

One poster bore photos of iconic Dallas couple Jack Evans and George Harris, and the words “This is what love looks like.” Evans and Harris were together more than 50s years, and were the first same-sex couple legally married in Dallas County last year. Evans died Friday after a lengthy illness.

In addition to chants and singing, McCrocklin read aloud the names of those killed in Orlando and the Rev. Stephen Sprinkle with Brite Divinity School at TCU led the group in prayer.

Among those attending the protest were Dale Blackwood and Clint Nelson, Sansom Park residents who have been together 17 years. The owners of the dry cleaners they use — Morenos — brought a flat of water for protestors, as did the owners of River Oaks Café. Alan Small, another Sansom Park resident, brought his three children to join the protest.

Another man, who identified himself as a former Baptist minister who is now an atheist, said he hadn’t known about the planned protest when he decided to come and protest Romero’s remarks. “I was really surprised to see all these people here,” he said. “I expected to be here by myself. But I am glad everyone came out.”

#IAmDone was created to be able to organize quickly to answer hate with peaceful direct action. Organizers said they expect to stay busy once the Texas Legislature convenes in January. Most of those involved — McCrocklin and her partner, Marla Custard, Atkinson and his husband, Ted Kincaid, spouses Patti Fink and Erin Moore, and others — are longtime activists in the LGBT community.

Check the #IAmDone Facebook page for information.

See photos of the rally below.

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Black Tie Dinner Sneak Peek: Kuchling Award winner, headline entertainer announced

Posted on 26 Jun 2016 at 1:02pm

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DVtv went to the Black Tie Dinner Sneak Peek Party on Thursday night, where Brad Pritchett talked to co-chairs Nathan Robbins and Mitzi Lemons about the plans for the 35th annual fundraising dinner, set for Oct. 1, and about Kuchling Award winner Dr. Steven Pounders and singer Deborah Cox.

Read more about Pounders, Cox, and the BTD here. And watch the video below.

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Wings lose to Indiana in Pride Night game

Posted on 25 Jun 2016 at 11:31pm

The WNBA’s Dallas Wings lost to the Indiana Fever 92-87 in the teams first Pride Night game on Saturday, June 25.

Warming up on the court pregame, both teams wore rainbow Orlando United shirts and the large screen in the center of the arena announced, “Wings Pridenight, Saturday 6/25 vs Indiana.”

Plenette Pierson, profiled in this week’s Dallas Voice, scored seven points. Karima Christmas racked up 21 points, Odyssey Sims 18 and Glory Johnson, back after a suspension, 15.

The season runs through Sept. 18 with eight more home games that are played at College Park Center on Center Street in Arlington on the UT Arlington campus and Dallas Wings games are a blast.

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BREAKING NEWS: DOD’s ban on transgender servicemembers to end in July

Posted on 24 Jun 2016 at 5:16pm

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The U.S. Department of Defense announced today that its ban on open military service by transgender men and women will end in July.

“This final remnant of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will now be put to rest,” said Victoria Rodríguez-Roldán, J.D., director of the Trans/Gender Non-Confirming Justice Project of the National LGBTQ Task Force.

“This decision is a great victory for the many trans people who have served and sacrificed in the military over the years,” Rodríguez-Roldán continued. “They also served in fear of being discharged from the service for simply being who they are. Thankfully this now will change. We look forward to hearing more implementation details.”

The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus also issued a statement applauding the decision to lift the ban. Roddy Flynn, executive director of the caucus, said, “The entire LGBT Equality Caucus thanks the White House and the Pentagon for this historic policy change. The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was an important step forward, but LGBT equality is not complete if the transgender community is left behind.”

Flynn added, “This country has the greatest fighting force in the world because we place readiness and security above arbitrary exclusion or discriminatory policies. Transgender service members should not have to hide their identity to serve their country. For too long these courageous soldiers have been forced to serve in silence.  Thanks to this new policy, we will have a stronger, more focused and more just military.”

Flynn said the caucus thanks Secretary Ash Carter for “his vision and leadership in bringing this discriminatory ban to an end.”

Retired Navy SEAL Kristen Beck and retired staff sergeant Shane Ortega, national transgender military liaisons with the Military Freedom Coalition, issued a joint statement: “We are elated at the news of the pending repeal of the transgender military ban and are thankful to everyone who worked so hard to see this day come to pass. We look forward to working with our military brothers and sisters to see successful implementation. We march forward into an age of greater equality.”

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Share your proudest memories to honor the victims of Orlando

Posted on 24 Jun 2016 at 4:46pm

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#‎RestInPRIDE is a video campaign honoring our brothers and sisters whose lives were taken far too soon at LGBT nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, FL. More info here- www.RestInPRIDE.org

Please get involved by uploading your own video to www.facebook.com/RestInPRIDE , and donating NOW to OneOrlando.Org

Song Download “LIGHT” by Brian Justin Crum, available on iTunes, with all proceeds to benefit the OneOrlando Fund.

Featuring: Rumer Willis, Greg Louganis, Candis Cayne, Bruce Vilanch Wilson Cruz, and 49 members and allies of the LGBT community sharing their memories in honor of those who sadly can’t make anymore of their own.

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Cocktail Friday: The Siege of Lisbon

Posted on 24 Jun 2016 at 2:09pm

TheSeigeofLisbon_LizClayman_01We’ve all heard of champagne cocktails, and even wine spritzers. But porto — a form of wine that originated on the Iberian peninsula — isn’t all that familiar as a cocktail mixer. The sweetish wine mixes well with other liquors, though, as this recipe bears out.

1.5 oz. of Sandeman Porto Founders Reserve

1 oz. gin

3/4 oz. fresh lime juice

3/4 oz. simple syrup

Angostura bitters

Making it: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and top with ice. Shake to chill and dilute. Strain into a chilled rock-filled double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with an edible flower.

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The Brick/Joe’s saying farewell after 25 years

Posted on 24 Jun 2016 at 12:06pm

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Brick owners Howard Okon, second from right, and Greg Parrish, right, pictured here with friends at the Brick, announced this week they are closing the bar July 24 and retiring.

Howard Okon and Greg Parrish announced this week that, after 25 years, they are closing The Brick/Joe’s and retiring from the bar business.

The popular Wycliff Avenue bar’s final day will be Sunday, July 24. Watch for Dallas Voice’s profile of the bar and its owners during the month of July, before the final day.

Here is the full text of Okon and Parrish’s announcement:

The Brick Dallas would like to thank the community and our patrons for 25 wonderful years in Oak Lawn. We have seen many changes in the last 25 years in the LGBT community and the bar industry, made many new friends over this time, and lost some along the way. The Brick has an amazing staff that has been loyal and now are some of our closest friends. This includes DJs, promoters and entertainers. We have strived to provide a fun, entertaining and safe environment for everyone.

It is now time for us to start a new chapter in our lives. Over the years we have watched many young men and women go from kids into productive members of the community. We started here when our community had few places to go. Times are changing, and we are hopeful that progress continues for the LGBT community and Oak Lawn.

July will be our last month in business and our final day will be Sunday, July 24.

We hope you will come by in the following days and say goodbye to us as we prepare to say goodbye to Dallas.  We have a full calendar of events in July and hope to see all of our customers before we close our doors July 24th with our “Farewell” Party.

As one of the last founding members of The Dallas Tavern Guild remaining, I want to say thank you to all the members and bars who have been a part of this group. Michael Doughman has been a great leader and we wish many more years of events and strength for The Tavern Guild and all the bars.

We could not have been in business for 25 years without teaming up with these great agencies: Resource Center, AIDS Arms, LifeWalk, AIDS Services of Dallas, GDMAF, Legacy Counseling Center, The Red Foundation, The Purple Party and many more.

Thank you to our softball (Titans, Hashtags, Synergy), volleyball (DIVAS) and rugby teams that have been very supportive to us for many years.

Thank you to our loyal poker players who come out week after week to play poker and eat pizza.

Thank you to Greg Turner (Camille), Bob Wright, Dan Lambert, Betty Neal, Gaylan Zant and Adam Metts for your years of service to The Brick.

A very special thank you to Mikey Howard, and Dannee Phann for being the most amazing managers we could have asked for.

Thank you to our staff and friends: Jimmy, Laurie, Shawn, Dwayne, Mickey, Charles (DJ Unique), Ivan (Ida Mae), Netta, Michael, Brittanie, Larry, Jason, DJ Rudeboy, Stanley, Chris, Andy, Brandon, Jennifer, Shy T, Jay, Blake, Pay, CJ, Cooper, K, Baby, Lukas, Skylar, Aubrey, Kingston, Travis.

Orlando Strong!

Howard Okon and

Greg Parrish

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