Guns, God and gays: first day of prefiling for upcoming Lege session

Posted on 10 Nov 2014 at 3:51pm

abaa8de7236b4022851ea2557e2d68b0dc212ddb6ea8b427616006bb297bd2cdToday is the first day for Texas legislators and members-elect to pre-file legislation for the 84th legislative session. This means you get to see just how crazy some of your newly and returning elected officials really are. Don’t worry everyone, the first day of pre-filing didn’t bring out the worst of your electeds just yet. Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, only filed a handful actually, so the worst is yet to come.

As of mid-afternoon, legislators have pre-filed 336 bills.

Rep. Walter “Four” Price, R-Amarillo, filed four bills commemorating the National Day of Prayer, Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, filed HB 195, loosening restrictions on gun toting. Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, is gonna keep abortionists out of the classroom with HB 205.

But wait! LGBT people were recognized by our allies!

Out Rep. Mary Gonzalez, D-El Paso, filed HB 70, an anti-bullying bill preventing discrimination against and harassment of students in public schools based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, filed HJR34, one of many bills targeting the repeal of Texas’ same-sex marriage ban. As the Voice reported, Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, filed HB 130, repealing Texas’ same sex marriage ban. The identical SB 98, was filed by Sens. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and José Rodríguez, D-El Paso. Sen. Rodríguez also filed SB 148, repealing language condemning homosexuality in the state’s health and penal codes.

 

 

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Memorial set for man found in Turtle Creek

Posted on 10 Nov 2014 at 3:20pm
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Robert Letbetter

An obituary was posted and memorial service planned for the man found dead in Turtle Creek on Nov. 3.

While cause of death was not listed for Robert Letbetter, the obituary notes, “Although his struggles were long and difficult, his death came unexpectedly.” Dallas police only said they were waiting for toxicology test results before listing cause of death.

More than 50 pictures are posted along with the obituary.

The memorial service will be held on Nov. 14 in Conroe, where he was born.

 

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This Week in Marriage Equality: Kansas poised to become No. 33

Posted on 10 Nov 2014 at 1:35pm

PrintKansas

Kansas officials asked the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to place a stay on marriage equality while its case works its way through the courts. Either Kansas officials are just dumb or they’re looking for ways to delay equality.

The 10th Circuit already ruled that marriage bans in Oklahoma and Utah violate due process and were created out of animus toward gays and lesbians. Why Kansas officials think that same court would rule the Kansas law doesn’t violate due process and there’s no animus there because, well, Dorothy is from Kansas, is anyone’s guess.

The court gave the state a one-week stay. That stay ends on Tuesday, Nov. 11, unless Justice Sonia Sotomayor grants a stay. However, even though the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the 8th Circuit’s Utah and Oklahoma rulings, they’ve already said they didn’t want to hear those cases. There’s no reason to stay the Oklahoma and Utah rulings for Kansas.

Mississippi

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves will hear a challenge to Mississippi’s marriage ban on Wednesday, Nov. 12. Reeves was nominated to the court by President Barack Obama. Bye bye Mississippi marriage ban.

A decision would be appealed to the 5th Circuit, which also includes Texas and Louisiana and which has not yet weighed in on marriage equality. That court is considered among the most conservative and could come down on the side of discrimination. The 5th Circuit will hear the Louisiana and Texas appeals in January.

Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky

Plaintiffs in the cases in the four states in the 6th Circuit — Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky — whose marriage bans were upheld last week will all appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In any of the cases, plaintiffs could have asked for an en banc hearing in which all of the 6th Circuit judges would have heard the case. Instead, rather than delaying the case and hoping for a nationwide resolution of the issue by the end of June 2015, they each decided for a direct appeal.

Because of the split among circuits, the U.S. Supreme Court is compelled to take a marriage case, but could delay hearing a case until next session. Since the 6th Circuit issued just one decision for all four states, the court could decide to hear from all states or could choose just one appeal.

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‘Time Lords’ Mundell-Patterson tie the knot!

Posted on 10 Nov 2014 at 11:36am

Timmy and TJ Mundell-Patterson

Earlier this summer, we did a story and photospread about Timmy Patterson and TJ Mundell, two Dallasites and Doctor Who fans whose engagement photos of them posing with a TARDIS (the time-traveling 1950s police box of the series) went viral. Well, engagement photos are, of necessity, followed by a wedding — and now that’s a reality. The couple got hitched legally on Saturday. (They will now be know as Timmy and TJ Mundell-Patterson.) We assume no Silurians interrupted the proceedings, but we haven’t see any official photos yet. It’s nice, though, that The Doctor will now forever have the same companion. Congrats, guys!

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Burglars break into Flower Reign on Cedar Springs

Posted on 10 Nov 2014 at 11:24am
Flower Reign

Shane Walker, left, and Bill Fulmer, in Flower Reigh soon after their opening earlier this year

One or more burglars broke the front door lock to enter Flower Reign by Shane Walker on Cedar Springs Road at 4:09 a.m. on Friday Nov. 7.

Computers, phones and a cash box were taken.

Owners Shane Walker and Bill Fulmer said they’re looking forward to the restaurant opening next door and Liquid Zoo, a new bar, opening across the street. Both will have later hours and bring more activity to that end of the street.

If anyone saw any activity in the store around that hour, please contact Dallas police detectives in the Northwest Division at 214-670-6179 and reference case #267612-2014.

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Only 8 precincts in Dallas voted against nondiscrimination

Posted on 10 Nov 2014 at 9:42am

nondiscrimination mapThanks to Andrew Fisher who made this map of how Dallas voters approved a Dallas city charter amendment on nondiscrimination. Only eight precincts voted against the proposal and were located in southwest Dallas at Dallas Baptist University, in Oak Cliff at the junction of I-35 and 67 better known as Christ for the Nations Institute and in a high concentration of trailer parks in southeast Dallas.

That means all precincts in north Dallas, far north Dallas and far far north Dallas, where the concentration of Republican voters are and where most of Governor-elect Greg Abbott’s votes came from, voted for the proposal.

“Feels pretty good to live in Dallas today, guys,” Fisher wrote on his Facebook page.

The proposal places sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in city employment into the Dallas city charter. Both have been protected by city ordinance since 1995. This overwhelming approval contrasts sharply with the protests going on in Houston against a city nondiscrimination ordinance that passed earlier this year.

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Patty Griffin: The gay interview

Posted on 10 Nov 2014 at 8:19am

Patty1Editor’s note: Patty Griffin, the Texas-based singer-songwriter, will perform in Dallas on Thursday at the Majestic with blues legend Mavis Staples. We sat down with the artist to talk about her two albums released in 2014, and her gay fans.

By Chris Azzopardi

There are singers, there are songwriters … and then there’s Patty Griffin. Not only has the celebrated songstress been praised for her versatility, Griffin’s untouchable talent has earned her a Grammy and landed her material on releases from some of the industry’s biggest names. For artists seeking poetic musings (and really sad songs), Griffin is a go-to. And besides, the Dixie Chicks, Kelly Clarkson, Bette Midler and Emmylou Harris have all given a second life to the writer’s rootsy tunes.

Griffin’s own catalogue, though, is immense, and just this last year she added two more gems to her repertoire: American Kid, a work of staggering genius that, not surprisingly, topped many best-of lists, and Silver Bell, her “lost” LP, shelved by her then-label, that was released 13 years after she recorded it. She’ll perform (probably from both albums) alongside Mavis Staples at the Majestic on Nov. 13.

From her hometown down the road in Austin, Griffin — who also draws inspiration from her spouse, Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant — chatted about feeling like a “weirdo,” which song of hers helped a kid come out to his parents and getting over her religious prejudices to record a gospel album. — Chris Azzopardi

Dallas Voice: American Kid is obviously very connected to your late father, who was dying as you were writing it. What is the most difficult song for you to get through live? Patty Griffin: I don’t think I have a great deal of difficulty getting through them. My emotional response varies from night to night, and there are times when that can make it hard to sing, but there hasn’t been one in particular that’s gotten me too emotional to sing. It’s all emotional.

It’s been really great to have songs in my own life that speak about him. I didn’t think about it at the time, about honoring him; I was just trying to get myself through him passing away. I didn’t think about how great it would be later to tell his story, at least from my point of view. I don’t know how thrilled he’d be about some of these things!

How is creating and performing music a catharsis for you? To me, it’s just my nature. It’s how I’m built. I feel like I have to do it, you know? I think anybody who’s a musician who gets to be 50 and is still a musician, that’s really how they’re built. They really have to do it. So it’s very second nature to me. It’s really, really not hard for me to express myself that way.

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Marriage ban in WV struck down weeks after marriage equality began

Posted on 07 Nov 2014 at 3:40pm

PrintAlthough West Virginia became a marriage equality state several weeks ago when the state’s attorney general conceded, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia made it official today, ruling in favor of Lambda Legal’s plaintiffs and striking down the discriminatory marriage ban as mandated by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier ruling striking down a similar ban in Virginia.

In his ruling, Judge Chambers critiqued the 6th Circuit’s Nov. 6 ruling. That opinion that upheld the marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennesse said that marriage rights should be decided through the democratic process. Chambers criticized the ruling saying the 6th Circuit failed “to recognize the role of courts in the democratic process. It is the duty of the judiciary to examine government action through the lens of the Constitution’s protection of individual freedom. Courts cannot avoid or deny this duty just because it arises during the contentious public debate that often accompanies the evolution of policy making throughout the states. Judges may not simultaneously find a right violated yet defer to an uncertain future remedy voluntarily undertaken by the violators.”

“We are grateful to Judge Chambers for this ruling that officially puts an end to the long fight for marriage equality for West Virginia’s same-sex couples and their families. This decision clears away the last obstacle to marriage equality in the state,” said Beth Littrell, Lambda Legal Senior Attorney. “Even though the Fourth Circuit’s decision had already cleared a path for West Virginia to issue marriage licenses, this is still a great day for equality. The state is indeed stronger today after the Court’s ruling confirming that all loving West Virginia couples and their families now have equal access to the privileges and protections of marriage.”

Lambda Legal filed this lawsuit in October 2013 on behalf of three same-sex couples and the child of one couple, arguing that West Virginia’s marriage ban unfairly discriminates against same-sex couples and sends a purposeful message that lesbians, gay men, and their children are undeserving of the legal sanction, respect, protections, and support that different-sex couples and their families are able to enjoy through marriage.

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Dallas Police ask for help in identifying suspect in Oak Lawn burglary

Posted on 07 Nov 2014 at 1:42pm
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Suspect in Oak Lawn-area burglary

 

Dallas Police have asked for the public’s help in identifying a suspect that may have been involved in a Nov. 1 burglary in the 4000 block of Bowser Ave., in Oak Lawn.

The suspect is a black male, about 20 years old, 5-11, 180 pounds. Police said he was seen at the location of the residential burglary on Bowser and was then seen fleeing the scene in a green, 1997-99 Buick LeSabre with damage to the front end and driver’s side. Within 45 minutes of the burglary, the suspect used a credit card stolen in the Oak Lawn-area burglary at a store in the 9700 block of Webb Chapel.

The video below shows the suspect using the stolen credit card.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Philip Strodtman at 214-670-6047.

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Cocktail Friday: Big Ginger

Posted on 07 Nov 2014 at 1:09pm

2 GINGERS_BIG GINGER 2014With fall upon us, a liquor I begin to enjoy more and more as the weather chills is whiskey. Here’s a simple colder-clime drink to swig with a dog in your lap and a sweater on your back.

2 parts 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey

Ginger ale

Lemon and lime wedges

Making it: Simplicity is key here — add the whiskey to a pint glass with ice, top with ginger ale (to taste), garnish with a squeeze of lime and lemon.

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