Our friends at DFW Style Daily did a wonderful write-up of our upcoming Swimsuit Edition, which comes out tomorrow. You can read about it here, and see a few exclusive photos (that you won’t even see at Dallas Voice!) Thanks Lisa!
In a long overdue ruling, the Central Conference of American Rabbis condemned “conversion therapy.” The CCAR is the rabbinical association of Reform rabbis.
While Reform Judaism began welcoming gay and lesbian Jews into congregations in the 1960s and officially recognized same-sex marriage in 1997, most Orthodox still condemn gays and lesbians and have encouraged “conversion therapy.”
The Orthodox conversion therapy organization is called JONAH and has been condemned by all Jewish groups, including the Union for Reform Judaism, the organization of Reform synagogues in North America. JONAH is based in New Jersey, which has banned use of “conversion therapy” on minors. The organization was founded by Arthur Goldberg, who was an executive vice president of a Wall Street investment bank convicted for fraud.
“Reform Judaism has long recognized that the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities is something to be celebrated and affirmed, not a condition to be treated,” said Rabbi Steven A. Fox, the Chief Executive of the CCAR. “The Reform Rabbinate has long been at the forefront of advocating for full equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender individuals and the extension of protection of individuals of all ages.”
Gay and lesbian rabbis have been ordained for decades and at least one transgender rabbi has been ordained. But it took a lesbian heading the CCAR to call attention to the issue of “conversion therapy” and condemn it.
Earlier this year, the CCAR’s 2,000 members elected Rabbi Denise Eger as its president. Eger is lesbian has been rabbi at Congregation Kol Ami, a predominantly LGBT Reform synagogue in Los Angeles since the early 1990s. She is expected to be in Dallas for the installation of her friend The Rev. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas as Cathedral of Hope’s new senior pastor.
Blythe Beck has barely a week left leading the brigade at Kitchen LTO, Casie Caldwell’s “permanent pop-up” in Trinity Groves. She’s the longest serving chef as the concept, which is itself intended as a laboratory for concepts and chefs who might be able to open another restaurant somewhere else. And that time has come.
Beck and Caldwell are uniting for Pink Magnolia, their new partnership that will take over the shuttered Driftwood space in Oak Cliff. The name combines Beck’s famous love of one color with her steely Southern influences, and will surely feature her signature “naughty” recipes. Best of all, it gives Beck, finally, a place to truly call her own, floorboards to shingles. It will open later this summer. Congrats!
The Turtle Creek Chorale donated its entire catalog of recorded music and videos to The Dallas Way at its weekly rehearsal last night (Tuesday, May 19).
The Chorale is the most recorded male chorus in history with 38 CDs and four DVDs including the Emmy-winning “After Goodbye: An AIDS Story.”
Members of The Dallas Way, the North Texas LGBT history project, and University of North Texas, the repository for items donated through The Dallas Way and other LGBT organizations and individuals, were on hand to receive the donation.
Chorale Executive Director Bruce Jaster, along with chorale President Kevin Hodges, passed a basket of the recordings to Mike Anglin. Anglin was a founder of both The Dallas Way and Turtle Creek Chorale and, as an attorney, incorporated both organizations.
Anglin told the story of another Chorale founder, John Thomas, asking him to incorporate the Chorale into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Anglin laughed and said, “Aren’t you just going to sing?” But the Chorale grew into a million-dollar organization that has traveled around the world performing and is an anchor organization in the Dallas Arts District.
Anglin passed the collection to Dreanna Belden, UNT Libraries assistant dean for external relations, who will add it to the LGBT collection and portal to Texas history.
Jaster also announced Chorale member Tri Truong would become the organization’s new marketing director.
After the presentation, the chorale began rehearsing for its next concert, Turtle-ly 80s at 7:30 p.m. on June 12 and 13 and 2:30 p.m. on June 14 at City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora St. Tickets are available here.
Randy Berry, special envoy for the human rights of LGBT persons, and USAID Senior LGBT Coordinator Todd Larson leave for Jamaica tomorrow (Thursday, May 21), to discuss the rights of LGBT people and other marginalized groups with Jamaican leaders, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of State.
Berry and Larson will spend three days in Jamaica meeting with representatives from the Jamaican government as well as religious, business, academic and civil society organization leaders.
Homosexuality remains criminalized in Jamaica, and the Caribbean Island is well-know for homophobia and violence against LGBT people. Human Rights Watch released a report last October documenting 56 cases of violence against LGBT people.
An organization called JFLAG has announced plans to stage the island’s first LGBT Pride celebrations in August this year. The theme for the celebration is “The Pride of a People: Breaking the Rules of Oppression,” and JFLAG has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise the $10,000 needed to pay for Pride.
Texas state Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, intends to attach an amendment similar to his previous bill barring the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples to a bill protecting clergy from being forced to perform same-sex marriages during a House floor vote on Thursday, May 21.
Bell filed HB 4105, also known as “The Preservation and Sovereignty of Marriage Act,” ahead of an anticipated summer Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality. It would have withheld pay from county clerks issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. After its defeat last week, Bell told reporters he wasn’t giving up on it.
Though an amendment must be considered germane to a bill, Equality Texas reports that Bell intends to attach HB 4105 to SB 2065, which passed the Senate last week on a 21-10 vote with all Republicans and one Democrat voting for it.
While HB 4105 died before it could get a vote, it garnered support from the majority of the House HOP caucus.
During the debate over SB 2065, the ACLU, Equality Texas and Texas Freedom Network advocated for language that a clergy member may only refuse to officiate marriages that violate their conscience “in that official capacity.” Despite their efforts Estes refused in both the State Affairs Committee hearing and on the Senate floor to add the language.
Without the four words, opponents argued, faith leaders may be able to refuse to perform same-sex marriage if they serve in a secular capacity, such as justice of the peace or county clerk.
Proponents, including numerous conservative faith leaders, argued the bill was necessary to protect their right to deny performing a same-sex marriage.
Just hours after a so-called “religious freedom” bill died in the Louisiana Legislature on Tuesday, May 19, Gov. Bobby Jindal had issued an executive order allowing businesses to discriminate based on owners’/operators’ religious beliefs on marriage.
“We are disappointed by the committee’s action to return the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act to the calendar,” Jindal said in a statement Tuesday afternoon, according to a New Orleans Times-Picayune report. “We will be issuing an Executive Order shortly that will … prevent the state from discriminating against persons or entities with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman.”
The Times-Picayune notes Jindal told reporters the order was issued Tuesday afternoon and went into effect immediately. The order will remain in effect until 60 days after the end of the next legislative session. The next governor, however, can repeal it upon entering office in January, if he or she chooses.
The New Orleans newspaper also quoted state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, who criticized the timing of the order, as well as Jindal’s decision to buck the will of the Legislature.
“It’s a sinful attempt to deflect from the failures of what should be the top legislative priority, what we’re dealing with every day, which is a bogus state budget,” she said from the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon.
The Washington Post today (Wednesday, May 20), noted that Jindal’s executive order nearly mirrors the content and intent of the failed “Marriage and Conscience Act,” which itself closely resembles Religious Freedom Restoration Acts like the one that was vetoed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson after an outcry from businesses, led by Wal-Mart, and the one recently enacted in Indiana, throwing that whole state into an uproar and hitting the Hoosier pocketbook hard and fast.
A similar measure died last week in the Texas Legislature.
The Post notes that one of the main reasons the Marriage and Conscience Act died in the Louisiana Legislature is because lawmakers feared it would impact the state’s economy, and would be especially harmful to tourism in a state that thrives on its visitors:
New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau Chief Executive Stephen Perry called the bill “a radioactive, poisonous message,” saying it could cost the state $65 million per year.
But Jindal, in New York Times op-ed last month, said money doesn’t matter: “As the fight for religious liberty moves to Louisiana, I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath,” he wrote.
Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk predicted that the executive order will substantially harm the tourism industry in the state. “Gov. Jindal’s stunt today once again underlines his disregard for Louisiana families, his disdain for the state legislature and his apparent contempt for the state’s tourism industry — the only segment of our economy his failed policies haven’t crippled,” Handwerk said.
The Post also pointed out that Jindal’s decision to stage an end run around the Legislature seems especially hypocritical, considering his attacks on President Barack Obama’s use of executive orders in connection with immigration reform.
On Friday, our second annual Swimsuit Edition — featuring nine models, great summer accessories, multiple location shoots and tons of sexy (and often revealing) swimwear — hits newsstands. Last year’s was a huge hit and a big sellout, so pick up yours as soon as you can to see what’s hot (including a sneak peek of the brand-new collection by local gay designers Marek+ Richard) in poolside fashions this season.
Here are a few pix to whet your appetite. And you can see more exclusive photos later this week at DFW Style Daily!
LeTourneau University, an NCAA Division III school in Longview, has specifically banned any gay student-athletes attending the school from dating, and has banned vocal support among students for marriage equality. Any athlete caught engaging in such “immoral behavior” could be kicked off his or her team.
“Consistent with our desire to celebrate and model a Scriptural approach to sexuality, the University prohibits same-sex dating behaviors and public advocacy for the position that sex outside of a biblically-defined marriage is morally acceptable.”
LeTourneau Univ. is an inter-denominational Christian school with an enrollment of about a couple thousand students. The school has a history of being anti-gay, having once brought in “ex-gay” speaker Christopher Yuan to talk about how God can make people not be gay.
A religious freedom to discriminate bill that had been working its way through the Louisiana legislature died today (Tuesday, May 19), according to the Baton Rouge Advocate.
The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Mike Johnson (R-Bossier City) said the proposed law was misunderstood and that it’s purpose was to come out before the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.
Um, no, the bill was understood quite clearly. The Bossier City representative was trying to do just what Texas Republicans, like Rep. Linda Koop, were trying to do — pass a law that said the state didn’t have to follow a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and legalize discrimination as long as you use religion as your reason to discriminate.
The head of the New Orleans Visitors and Convention Bureau told the Advocate that it would be impossible to bid against other states for large events if the bill passed.
The bill died in committee when the chair of the House Civil Law Committee called the bill a distraction and problematic.
The Baton Rouge newspaper said the bill had “full throated support” from the state’s governor, Bobby Jindal.