Anti-LGBT legislator running for state senate failed to disclose affiliation with conservative non-profit

Posted on 11 Jul 2015 at 8:48am
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State Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola

A vocally anti-LGBT Republican state representative failed to disclose his affiliation with a socially conservative non-profit organization.

State Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, failed to disclose his leadership role on the board of the Wilberforce and Lincoln Center, Inc. in his six most recent personal financial statements.

(Those can be found here: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.)

The vocally anti-LGBT Republican who is running for state senate has been affiliated with the Waco-based center since 2008, according to records filed with the secretary of state.

James William Odom, a Baylor University graduate student and former spokesman for the university, founded the Wilberforce Center for Civic Engagement in 2008. An amended filing later added the name Lincoln.

Odom, Hughes, Oklahoma oil and gas executive Jerome Loughridge and Attorney General Ken Paxton, who was then a state representative, were all listed as directors of the organization.

It is currently listed at Odom’s home address in Waco.

Paxton recently filed an amended personal financial statement indicating his affiliation with the organization. But personal financial statements filed by Hughes between 2008 and 2014 do not list his role with the organization despite its active non-profit status.

Per state law, elected officials must list all entities, including non-profits, where they serve as members of the board, on their statements said Ian Steusloff, a spokesman with the Texas Ethics Commission.

The commission administers and enforces state election code and oversees the collection of all campaign and personal finance reports filed by legislators.

Failure to disclose this information could result in a civil penalty of $500.

On the six most recent statements, Hughes is only listed as a trustee of the Mineola Foundation and between 2010 and 2012 a brief stint as a director of Central America Mining America Group. A September 19, 2014 required periodic report, however, still lists Hughes as a Wilberforce Lincoln director.

Odom’s résumé, obtained from his Baylor University graduate student profile, indicates he founded Wilberforce Lincoln under the name the Leadership Foundation in Oklahoma in 2000. At the time he was a Republican candidate for Congress. The institute was “dedicated to encouraging principled leadership in the political arena for the preservation of a culture that respects life and cherishes liberty.”

It did not operate again until 2008 when it turned to articulating public policy issues of interest to churches and other religious organizations, including “sanctity of life, family law and national indebtedness.”

Odom, who declined to comment for this story, wrote it has remained dormant because he didn’t have “time or resources to develop its programs.”

Cody Terry, Hughes’ chief of staff, said he was unaware of the organization’s existence.

First elected in 2002, Hughes is currently running for state senate to succeed retiring Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler. In 2014, on The Anderson Cooper Show, he defended a plank on the state GOP’s platform affirming reparative therapy.

Among those endorsing his senate campaign are Texas Values’ Jonathan Saenz, Liberty Institute’s Kelly Shackleford and Texas Eagle Forum’s Cathie Adams and Attorney General Paxton.

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Oklahoma Run ‘n Gun organizers catch heat for controversial photo

Posted on 10 Jul 2015 at 2:34pm

Screen shot 2015-07-10 at 2.26.56 PMOrganizers of the Oklahoma Run ‘n Gun, a biathlon and shooting competition in Pawnee, Okla., ran into some trouble after posting a photo on social media showing two participants holding a rainbow flag as a target.

Event organizers posted the image to promote their July 18 competition. The photo showed two men holding rifles and a caption that reads “new high visibility targets on the 500 yard range.”

Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Troy Stevenson said many activists felt threatened by the post.

“People got really offended and really upset and people were really feeling threatened,” he told KFOR.

Stevenson says he reached out to event organizers after seeing the picture, who assured him it was a joke.

“He assures us that it wasn’t meant as a threat. It was a situation where I don’t think the people doing it understood social media or how bad their joke was,” Stevenson said.

The organizer said participants had trouble seeing the targets, so they simply chose the brightest target available. Unfortunately they chose a rainbow flag.

“You could definitely tell by reading the comments that they were trying to make a joke out of this. But once again, it was going way too far and offending a lot of people and it was very threatening language,” Stevenson said.

The post and their Facebook page have since been removed. A page criticizing the group, however, has appeared.

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Cocktail Friday: Bastille Day Edition

Posted on 10 Jul 2015 at 1:15pm

Le Vert Cooler

If you’re a francophile, you know that July 14 is Bastille Day, the French equivalent of America’s Fourth of July. And as a francophile, you probably want to raise a glass in support. Of course, you could toast with a glass of wine (France is know for its many wine regions), but this is a cocktail recipe blog — what to do?

Simple: Make a cocktail made with Lillet, an aperitif wine that has been around since before the French Revolution and which blends well with spirits for its own cocktail. There are three kinds of Lillet — not surprisingly, the Rose, the Blanc and the Rouge (just like wine!). Here are two recipes, one with Blanc and one Rose … both delicieux!

Lillet Rose Spritz

Le Vert Cooler

2 oz. Lillet Blanc

1/4 oz. St-Germain liqueur

1 oz. sparkling wine (champagne preferably!)

Grapes, thyme.

Making it: Muddle about 10 grapes with 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, then add Lillet and the st-Germain, in a Mason jar. Screw on lid and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Top with bubbly! Salud!

Lillet Rose Spritz

1 oz. Lillet Rose

1 oz. dry grapefruit or citrus soda

Fresh grapefruit

Sage.

Making it: Add Lillet and soda in a wine glass, and top with ice. Garnish with sliced grapefruit and sage leaf. Bonne sante!

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Two Muslims, including a ‘Daily Show’ correspondent, pen open letter on marriage equality

Posted on 10 Jul 2015 at 12:04pm

rainbow-flagFollowing the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of marriage equality nationwide, author Reza Aslan and comedian and “Daily Show” correspondent Hasan Minhaj urged their fellow Muslims to celebrate the decision in an open letter.

Published on ReligionDispatches.org, they urge their fellow Muslims to do the right thing–really the Muslim thing, as they put it–and stand up “for marginalized communities, even when you disagree with them.”

Unlike many other religious minorities, white evangelical Christians are afforded the privilege of spewing (and bankrolling off) hate anti-LGBT language.”Sure Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee can call the Supreme Court decision the precursor to the End of Days and the final battle of Armageddon. But if you try saying something like that on TV you may end up in Guantanamo. You may not like the Supreme Court’s decision but you’re willing to tolerate it,” even if the legal ruling violates one’s religious beliefs.

“We Muslims are already a deeply marginalized people in mainstream American culture. More than half of Americans have a negative view of us. One-third of Americans—that’s more than one hundred million people—want us to carry special IDs so that they can easily identify us as Muslim. [emphasis mine] We shouldn’t be perpetuating our marginalization by marginalizing others. Rejecting the right to same-sex marriage, but then expecting empathy for our community’s struggle, is hypocritical.”

According to the Public Religion Research Institute, 42 percent of Muslim Americans support marriage equality.

The thoughtful piece stands out for a few reasons. For one, they acknowledge the crucial need for intersectionality, otherwise the belief activists from other social movements for equality and recognition collaborate with one another. For another, they know it’s still difficult being Muslim not just in a non-Muslim majority country, but the United States in particular.

As someone impacted by the marriage equality ruling and member of another religious minority (the Religious Society of Friends), it’s necessary to share this call to action. Not just because it’s a Muslim thing or Christian thing or moral thing, but the right thing. As members of the LGBT community we transcend race, class, gender, and values. But like our fellow Muslims, we share a history of injustice and discrimination as well.

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Videos from the Round-Up’s past

Posted on 10 Jul 2015 at 8:00am
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Alan Pierce, left, and Gary Miller, center, have owned the Round-Up Saloon since 1998

The Round-Up Saloon is celebrating its 35th anniversary on July 11. In an article about the bar, I mentioned the Willy Nelson video filmed at the Round-Up. Here it is:

I also mentioned Lady Gaga appearing at the bar. Here’s a video of her original 2008 appearance that she credits with helping propel her career:

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Mortality is a bitch

Posted on 10 Jul 2015 at 7:55am

Getting to the heart of the matter after a health scare

Haberman-Hardy-Mortality is a bitch. Having survived the 1980s and, by some twist of fate, not acquiring HIV/AIDS, I felt that I had somehow cheated fate. Once The Epidemic began, I figured I would end up checking out sometime in my mid 40s, if I was lucky.

And though I had pretty much withdrawn from the community and settled for suburbia, the Sword of Damocles was always hanging over me. If I got a cough, I was sure it was pneumocystis pneumonia. Every spot or bruise became Kaposi’s  sarcoma. I got tested and huddled awaiting the diagnosis that never came.
I re-emerged into the community after a few years and realized so many people I knew were no longer around. Many of those who were still around now struggled with HIV and the side effects of the early treatments.

It all gave me a healthy dose of realization of the fragility of life.

Cut to today.

I am wired up to several machines, all constantly monitoring the one single organ that makes all life possible — the heart. I never expected to live much beyond 40 since that was the life expectancy of most of my friends from the 1970s. So reaching the age of 65 — a birthday I hope to celebrate later this month — was something I never planned on.

Funny how I dodged an HIV infection I once felt sure would end me, only to be ambushed from another angle when I thought I was safe.

It started with a lingering case of bronchitis, most likely acquired while at a leather event in Tulsa. The persistent cough didn’t want to go away, so I sought medical help, which consisted of antibiotics that cleared up the cough but left me with a pain in my chest.

Health-issue-logoI attributed this to the extreme bouts of coughing that came with the disease, and so I waited for the soreness to go away.

But after a couple of days it was subsiding. And in addition, I had become short of breath and felt fatigued very easily. Finally, while having breakfast with my partner Patrick, I realized that the simple act of chewing toast was wearing me out!

That surely wasn’t left over symptoms from the bronchitis.  After some soul searching and discussion with Patrick, we decided a trip to the hospital was in order.

When I sat down at the admissions desk at Baylor Hospital in Dallas, they took my pulse and asked if it was normally low. I shrugged my shoulders and responded, “I never tracked it much.”

Within minutes I had been whisked into a suite filled with high-tech medical machines and I was wired to just about all of them.  It was about this time it hit me:

This was not bronchitis; this was my heart.

As I was explaining the events leading to the visit for the third time, a doctor entered and confirmed that, indeed, it was my heart and I was probably looking at getting a pacemaker.

The room came to a complete stop. People were frozen and the words echoed in my ear like a bad special effect from a film: “Getting a pacemaker.”

That was something “old people” had. I’m not one of those!

In my ear the voice of a delightfully acerbic friend who died many years ago whispered with his amazing Southern lisp, “But you are Blanche, y’are.”

In my generation, gay men didn’t age. They stayed young, and lithe and pretty. They danced to Donna Summer and partied til dawn. They cruised the leather bars and had anonymous encounters in the baths.

They were smart and independent and upwardly mobile. They were politically active and loud and visible. But they were never old.

Part of that was because of the youth culture and part because of The Epidemic, which snatched so many men at their prime. Aging was not on the radar.

So, here I was getting a diagnosis of heart disease, followed by a prognosis indicating I would live many more years, most likely with this gadget implanted in my chest.

What is that all about?

All I heard was “heart disease” and the rest of the prognosis rolled off me. I was annoyed because I had so much more to do — writing, politics, activism, work, sex.  I didn’t have time for heart disease!

After three days of being confined to a bed, wired to monitors and having to ask for assistance with the simplest functions, like taking a leak, I began to understand what had happened and who I was and what I really had time for.

First, I was given a major dose of humility as a parade of friends filled every minute of every day with visits, messages and well wishes. I did not deserve such good friends, but I graciously demurred to their judgment and accepted their gifts of time, prayer and company.

Second, I was put through a battery of medical procedures, which were fascinating and frightening, especially when you read the fine print on the “informed consent” paperwork.

Third, I was given the gift of a good deal of time alone, to contemplate what had happened and what could happen and just what was important in life.  It also gave me a lot of time with Patrick to discuss our fears and let each other know how much we loved each other.

Finally, it gave me a lot of time to be with God, or at least my interpretation of God, and that gift assured me that the great mysteries are still there, that I am not the center of the universe and that what we call grace is real.

So where does that leave me?

Well first, no pacemaker! Turns out I had two sizable blockages, both of which were removed during the angiogram. I had had a heart attack and didn’t even realize it.

It also leaves me with the realization that the people left in my generation still have a lot of work to do. We still have gifts to give the community, and we are valued for our experiences.

Yes I am old, and for that I am truly grateful.
Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and board member for the Woodhull Freedom Alliance. His blog is at DungeonDiary.blogspot.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 10, 2015.

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It’s not just Irion County in Texas ….

Posted on 09 Jul 2015 at 4:01pm
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Dave Ermold and David Moore

Irion County Clerk Molly Criner has been getting a lot of attention here in Texas for her steadfast refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But there are others around the country.

In Kentucky, David Ermold and his partner, David Moore, have video footage of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and her employees not only refusing to issue a marriage license to them, but calling the police on them as well.

The incident happened Monday, July 6, just a few days after the ACLU filed suit against Davis and Rowan County on behalf of four couples — two same-sex couples and two opposite-sex couples — who were denied marriage licenses by Davis’ office.

According to ABC News, Ermold said Davis “reiterated her religious views. She spoke to us about Adam and Eve and about Eve was from the rib of Adam. I was starting to get a little upset and I ended up walking out.”

“She was very specific in stating that she was denying our license based on her personal views,” he added. “She was worried about her own soul.”

Ermold and Moore, who have been together 17 years, said they know they could have gone to a different county to get a license. But they wanted to get the license in the county where they live, own property and pay taxes.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear on June 26 issued a statement praising the Supreme Court decision for ending the “unsustainable and unbalanced legal environment” created by the patchwork of local and state laws regarding marriage equality. He also sent a letter to all Kentucky county clerks, reminding them of their oath to uphold the law and urging them to abide by the Supreme Court’s decision.


ABC US News | World News

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Zini’s is closed

Posted on 09 Jul 2015 at 2:07pm

Zini'sZini’s Pizzeria, which has had a store on Cedar Springs Road since 2005, was locked out of its space by its landlord today, July 9. No one is answering the phone at its original Deep Ellum location and the phone has been disconnected at its Greenville Avenue spot.

The lockout notice claims Zini’s is in default of rent payments. A similar notice was placed on the door several weeks ago, but then reopened. Caven Enterprises owns the property.

Cedar Springs has two other pizza places — Amico’s is next to Alexandre’s and Italia Express is across the street from Zini’s.

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Throwback Thursday: Remember when Texas wasn’t a marriage equality state?

Posted on 09 Jul 2015 at 1:33pm

David Roof newDAVID. UP on the roofFor Throwback Thursday we found these two pictures of me, both taken on the roof of our office’s dangerous parking garage structure.

The one on the left was taken way back when, two weeks ago, before Texas became a marriage equality state (and before I got my hair cut). The one on the right was taken this afternoon, after marriage equality and after I got engaged (and got a haircut).

With all the progress we’ve made, it’s hard to remember back to the days when same-sex couples couldn’t get married. Remember when we could get fired from our jobs for being gay? (Who would ever guess I was gay?) Remember when we could lose our homes, be denied housing or have to pay extra for car rentals with our partners?

Oh, wait, none of that’s changed. Hopefully it won’t be long, though.

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Drag Racer Pearl releases signature fragrance. You’ll never guess the name

Posted on 09 Jul 2015 at 12:20pm

Screen shot 2015-07-09 at 11.19.17 AMHow would you like to smell like a drag queen? No, not mascara, Ponds and gin, but a perfume designed by a drag queen to reflect her unique aesthetic. So far, no alumna of RuPaul’s Drag Race has yet marketed a signature cologne … until now. And the queen with the sense for scents? Pearl.

So, if you’re Pearl, what do you call your new fragrance. Well, she came up with a doozy: Flazeda, Say it with me again: Flazeda.

Yes, the made-up word that Ru mocked her for on last season’s RPDR — Pearl’s portmanteau malaprop, a mashup of blase and “la-de-dah,” we assume — has now been embraced as her defining moment.

The cologne comes out officially on July 15 (priced: $124 for a 50 ml bottle), but you can pre-order it now here.

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