UPDATE: Police investigating hate as possible motive for graffiti as more taggings found

Posted on 27 Jun 2014 at 6:45am

Det. Kevin Janse at Dallas Police headquarters

Dallas Police are looking into hate as a possible motive for graffiti found early Sunday around Oak Lawn on buildings housing print media offices.

The Legacy of Love Monument and Cathedral of Hope were targeted by taggers with “666” in red spray paint. The Cedar Springs bridge over the tollway was also tagged, as were at least two Dallas Voice distribution boxes.

Chris Kelley, spokesman for Cathedral of Hope, said the church was tagged in two places — on its sign along the street and in the parking lot. By Sunday afternoon, the paint at Cathedral and on the monument had been removed by volunteers.

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Observer and D magazine buildings were also tagged. Ironically, the building housing Dallas Voice was not touched.

Det. Kevin Janse said police have no leads but hope as word spreads about the graffiti, someone will come forward and provide some clues. He said he hopes whoever did this will start bragging about it when he sees the coverage it’s getting and someone will contact police with a lead.

The spray painting occurred late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Janse said police checked video from the Exxon station on Oak Lawn Avenue, but its video did not catch activity at the Observer building across the street.

Officer W.C. Humphrey, who attended the press conference, told Dallas Voice that graffiti is not uncommon, but the particular “666” message at the specific sites is unusual.

Janse said anyone with information about these or additional taggings should contact Dallas LGBT police liaison Laura Martin at 214-490-0541.

Legacy graffiti


Couples begin marrying in Indiana

Posted on 26 Jun 2014 at 11:49am

IN_IS“Governor Pence supports the Attorney General’s efforts to appeal the federal court’s ruling and defend Indiana’s right to define the institution of marriage for the residents of our state,” said the governor’s press secretary. “Because the Governor believes in the rule of law, the State of Indiana will comply with the federal court’s order as this case moves through the appeals process.”

No stay was issued with the ruling declaring Indiana’s marriage law unconstitutional, so county clerks began issuing licenses. The state has requested a stay and one couple who filed the original lawsuit filed opposition to the stay.

In Indianapolis, 186 couples married on the first day of marriage equality, according to the Indianapolis Star.


Dallas Voice contributor gets hitched in Indiana

Posted on 26 Jun 2014 at 10:02am

CWCasey Williams, Dallas Voice’s automotive reviewer (including one of our favorite features, his witty Butch v. Femme headlamp-to-headlamp pairings) is officially married. Casey, who now lives in Indiana, took advantage of the state’s recent entrance into the marriage equality fraternity and wed his longtime partner Jarrod yesterday. (Casey is on the right.)

“[The federal judge's ruling] will probably get [stayed], but there’s nothing they can do about our marriage … finally!” he said.

It’s been a momentous few days for Casey in other ways. He and Jarrod are back at the courthouse today to finalize the adoption of their child. Still, he insists he will not review only cars with Baby On Board window stickers.

Congrats, Casey and Jarrod!


WATCH: Edie Windsor talks about her case on the one-year anniversary of the DOMA decision

Posted on 26 Jun 2014 at 9:48am

Edie Windsor, plaintiff in the landmark case decided one year ago today that found parts of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, talks about her case on this video released by Marriage Equality USA.


Colorado clerks begin issuing marriage licenses

Posted on 26 Jun 2014 at 9:47am

Couples can marry in Boulder … for now.

As a result of the Tenth Circuit’s ruling yesterday that struck down the Utah marriage ban, Boulder County has begun issuing marriage licenses. Lafayette and Longmont counties will begin on Friday, according to the Denver Post.

Colorado is in the same circuit as Utah, so the Boulder County clerk said the ruling applies to her state. The attorney general disagrees and said the licenses won’t be valid.

By the end of the Wednesday, two couples were married. Boulder’s county clerk said she will continue issuing licenses today.

On Wednesday, the Tenth Circuit issued a split ruling declaring Utah’s marriage ban unconstitutional. The court put a stay on its ruling until it’s heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. The stay only mentions Utah, not Colorado, and Boulder’s county clerk acted after advice from the county’s legal staff. The circuit also encompassed Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Wyoming.

The attorney general’s actions indicate that Colorado will not accept the decision of the court in its marriage cases, as the Oregon attorney general did several weeks ago, and will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.


BREAKING: Tenth Circuit upholds marriage equality in Utah

Posted on 25 Jun 2014 at 11:54am

10th CircuitThe Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the lower court ruling in the Utah marriage discrimination case — Kitchen v. Herbert — that the U.S. Constitution guarantees same-sex couples due process and equal protection.

This is the first ruling by an appellate court since the landmark U.S. v. Windsor case was decided last June, striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and instructing the federal government to recognize marriages of same-sex couples.

“Today’s decision by the Tenth Circuit affirms the fundamental principles of equality and fairness and the common humanity of gay and lesbian people,” said Peggy Tomsic, one of the attorneys in the case. “As the Court recognized, these families are part of Utah’s community, and equal protection requires that they be given the same legal protections and respect as other families in this state.  The Court’s ruling is a victory not only for the courageous couples who brought this case, but for our entire state and every state within the Tenth Circuit.”

The 10th Circuit also heard the Oklahoma marriage discrimination case the same day, and is expected to hand down its ruling in the case any time now.


Breaking: Indiana judge strikes down marriage ban

Posted on 25 Jun 2014 at 11:39am

The wedding march continues.

A spokeswoman for Lambda Legal has just announced that U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young has ruled Indiana’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional. Lambda Legal challenged the law on behalf of five couples seeking the freedom to marry in Indiana or recognition of a marriage from another state.

Rae Baskin, left, and Esther Fuller

Rae Baskin, left, and Esther Fuller

“It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love,” Young wrote in his ruling, after noting that every federal district court that has ruled regarding same-sex marriage has ruled against discriminatory bans.

Young continued, “In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as a marriage — not a same-sex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.”

Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Paul D. Castillo said his organization is thrilled with the ruling. “Indiana now joins the momentum for nationwide marriage equality and Hoosiers can now proclaim they are on the right side of history,” he said.

Amy Sandler, one of the plaintiffs, called Young’s ruling “an awesome day for Indiana. … We are especially happy for our children because they’ll be growing up in state that values all families equally.”

Lead plaintiff Rae Baskin said she and her partner have “waited for this moment since we decided to share our lives with each other.”

Read the decision here.

Read more about the families and the entire case here.


Town’s residents vote to reinstate lesbian police chief

Posted on 25 Jun 2014 at 10:47am
Crystal Moore

Crystal Moore

Residents of Latta, S.C., on Tuesday approved a referendum that changes the town government from a “strong mayor” format to a “strong council” format — thus giving the town council the authority to reinstate lesbian police chief Crystal Moore, according to reports on SCNow.com, the website for The Morning News.

Latta Mayor Earl Bullard fired Moore in April after giving her several reprimands and claiming that she failed to maintain order and that she questioned authority. Many of Latta’s about 1,400 residents, however, believe that Bullard fired Moore  because she’s gay — a belief bolstered, despite his denials, by a recently-released recording of a phone call in which the mayor launched into a rant declaring he would rather leave his children with a raging alcoholic than with someone whose “lifestyle is questionable.”

Ballots in the referendum vote will be canvassed on Friday, and council members have said their first order of business afterward will be reinstating Moore.


Some advice for Gary Oldman

Posted on 25 Jun 2014 at 10:40am

garyoldmanDear Gary Oldman,

In your interview with Playboy magazine, you rant about the hypocrisy that allows leftist humorists and celebrities to “get away with” insulting people, and the unfairness that right-wingers can’t do the same thing. Here’s one of the examples you used:

Bill Maher … said to Seth MacFarlane this year, “I thought you were going to do the Oscars again. Instead they got a lesbian.” He can say something like that. Is that more or less offensive than Alec Baldwin saying to someone in the street, “You fag”? I don’t get it.

Since you clearly don’t get it — and have totally missed the point — allow me to explain.

Simply put: Yes, Baldwin’s usage is more offensive. Here’s why. The word that Maher used — “lesbian” — is one that is completely acceptable to use. Ellen may well say, “I am a lesbian,” and no one would call her self-hating. “Fag,” on the other hand, is a derogatory word intended to injure. Had Maher called Ellen a “dyke,” perhaps he would have received more backlash. And there’s a reason for it.

Did you see that part in your rant where Bill Maher said something to Seth MacFarlane on TV? That’s called a celebrity interview, the kind you were doing with Playboy. Maher is a comedian, and was using humor. Alec Baldwin arbitrarily shouting, in anger, the epithet “fag” at a stranger? Less acceptable. Sort of like how I can say, “Bitch, please” to my friends … but if I spit the words “Dumb bitch!” at a 9-year-old girl at a playground, I have perhaps misused it.

You see the difference there, don’t you Gary? How I can call you “an idiot” to your face for your stupid comments, but it would be rude to say the same to a mentally-impaired person? (Though, come to think of it, perhaps you are mentally impaired, in which case I apologize.)

Lisa Lampanelli, the insult comedian, calls folks in her audience “fags” all the time. And even the gay ones — hell, especially the gay ones — laugh it up. It’s a joke. It’s meant to diffuse tensions, not create them. No one is a victim in a Lisa Lampanelli set; they paid to be there. And having interviewed Lisa on many occasions, I can tell you, the gay community has no more sincere ally … even though she called me a fag to my face.

Which doesn’t mean comedians can’t cross the line, or get in trouble. A few years ago, a story I wrote (where Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a “cunt”) went viral, and it led to calls that Maher should apologize and be vilified. That didn’t get too far, perhaps because Maher has a history of skewering everyone (right and left) whom he feels deserves contempt.

Personally, I think attacking everyone for using the word “fag” has become too politically correct, as well. Queer used to be an insult — now it’s an identity. But Gary, please — do you really not get the difference between humor and anger, between satire and hatred, between derogation and parody? Is there hypocrisy? Sure. But if you cast an anonymous vote for an Oscar for 12 Years a Slave not because it was a damned good movie but because you worried you’d be called a racist … well, I think maybe your issues run deeper the not understanding political correctness.  And anyone who would defend Mel Gibson by saying “we’ve all said those things” may need a session of sensitivity training.


Congregation Beth El Binah celebrates the biblical holiday Gay Pride Shabbat

Posted on 25 Jun 2014 at 9:11am

Rabbi Steve Fisch and former President Diane Litke

The tradition of Pride Shabbat follows Proverbs 16:18, which instructs, “Pride comes before the fall,” according to Rabbi Steve Fisch of Congregation Beth El Binah.

Fisch explained Jews are instructed to celebrate Pride before fall, so Dallas Pride in September is fine as long as it’s before the autumnal equinox. Fort Worth Pride, which takes place in October, violates God’s commandment, he said. The Fort Worth LGBT community would be going to hell, Fisch explained, “but we don’t have hell, so they’re safe as far as I’m concerned.”

On Friday, Congregation Beth El Binah celebrates the ancient biblical festival of Gay Pride Shabbat. Cantor Sherri Allen of Temple Beth Shalom in Arlington will join Fisch to conduct Pride Shabbat service at Resource Center, 2701 Reagan at 7:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Fisch said he invited Allen because the congregation sings so terribly.

“On a really good night, listening to us sing three different tunes in five keys all at once can be painful,” Fisch said.

While Beth El Binah was the first synagogue in Texas to celebrate Pride, it is no longer the only one. Pride Shabbat celebrations are more common in Reform synagogues, but in Texas at least one Conservative synagogue also celebrates Pride. In Austin, Congregation Agudas Achim held Pride Shabbat earlier this month, calling on some of its LGBT members to read Torah.

In a statement released this week, the Union for Reform Judaism said, “Reform Judaism has a long and proud history of working for the full inclusion of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) people in Jewish life and for their full civil rights.” But not all Reform synagogues celebrate Pride Shabbat. In Dallas, Congregation Beth El Binah is the only synagogue that does.