Miller slams Oakley over rezone issue

By David Webb Staff Writer

Mayor won’t make endorsement but says councilman supported “‘strong-arm’ tactics by city



Laura Miller

Dallas Mayor Laura Miller won’t say whom she wants to take her place at the horseshoe when she steps down after the June 16 runoff election.

“No comment,” she said in an e-mail this week, “because I don’t want to get in an endorsement situation of any sort.”

But based on what she had to say in a earlier telephone interview, it’s a pretty good bet it’s not Ed Oakley.

Responding to a question about her thoughts on the mayor’s race, Miller said Oakley’s initial support of an agenda item recently brought before the City Council by Councilman Bill Blaydes had alarmed her. The agenda item, if it had been approved, would have forced a rezoning hearing on a 16-acre piece of business property against the owners’ wishes.

The plan was to rezone the property occupied by Hollywood Door, which has operated on the Northeast Dallas site for a half-century, from its current commercial industrial zoning to something more complementary to the single-family houses that now surround it. The owners, Jack Pierce and his family, would have been forced to sell the land and move their business of building industrial overhead and garage doors to another site if that had been accomplished.

“I have a huge problem with that,” Miller said. “I was very dismayed.”

Miller said she asked Oakley, who had signed on to the agenda item with Blaydes and three others to override her wishes, to take his name off the measure. He refused, she said.

Miller said items had been placed on the agenda over her objections only a handful of times during her five-year tenure. The mayor said she considered Oakley’s support of the measure reckless because it involved using “strong-arm techniques” by city officials against a property owner.

“When you run for mayor, you are on your very best behavior, but he did this anyway when everyone is watching,” Miller said

The council voted down the measure, and Oakley was one of the members voting against it. But Miller claims Oakley “flip-flopped” and voted against it at the last minute only after he had failed to convince property owner Pierce to agree to some sort of rezoning during the meeting.

“Oakley was trying to do a deal,” Miller said. “It was just embarrassing. It was terrible.”

In response to Miller’s criticism, Oakley said during a telephone interview this week that he was mystified by the mayor’s “attack.”

“I don’t know why Laura is attacking me on this,” Oakley said. “I don’t really understand why she got so agitated. Bill was asking for the reauthorization. Now, she’s attacking me for what Bill did, and it had nothing to do with me.”

Oakley said Blaydes called him several months ago to tell him there was a piece of land in his district that a neighborhood would like to see rezoned and asked him to support a hearing on it.

“He just called out of the blue,” Oakley said. “If any one of my colleagues had done that I would have said OK.”

Oakley said he did not go look at the property and examine the case before it came before the City Council because he had been so busy.

“If I had taken the time to look at it, I probably would have said, “‘Bill, this is not something I can go along with,’” Oakley said. “It was a single owner in the middle of a neighborhood, and the neighborhood got built up around him.”

Oakley said once he examined the case during the council meeting, he realized it would be wrong to force a rezoning hearing on it.

“Bill said he was doing what the neighborhood wanted him to do, but I told him I could not support doing that,” Oakley said.

But that’s not how the property owner Pierce interprets what happened at the council meeting. Pierce said in a telephone interview he now believes that Oakley tried to trick him in the council meeting into agreeing to some sort of rezoning agreement.

Pierce noted that after it was all over, Oakley approached him and told him he had made the correct decision to stick with his current zoning.

“He laid the technical stuff on me during the session,” Pierce said. “I think later I decided he was trying to trick me.”

In response to Pierce’s remarks, Oakley said he is as baffled by the businessman’s impression of him as he is by Miller’s criticism.

“I wasn’t trying to trick him at the horseshoe,” Oakley said. “I was trying to understand if he fully understood what he was engaged in, and he didn’t.”

Oakley said he attempted to explain to Pierce that he might be able to negotiate a rezoning for more density and greater height that could benefit him and his heirs in the future if they ever decided to sell the land.

Miller said that she is now concerned Oakley’s campaign promise to remove 2,000 crime-infested apartment complexes from Dallas if he is elected mayor will involve similar tactics as were seen in the Hollywood Door case. The mayor said she is concerned that Oakley’s plan will involve big tax breaks for developers.

“I’ve know ever since he got on the council he is too close to developers,” Miller said. “He always gives too much away to developers. I think we give too much tax money away to developers who don’t need money.

“But this is going way beyond that. It’s very troubling to me, and I think it is wrong. And it is scary to me.”

Oakley called Miller’s speculation “beyond” him. In the past, the councilman has defended his support of tax subsidies to developers as necessary to improve Dallas’ economic base and the city’s quality of life.

“This is just total fabrication,” Oakley said. “There are no strong-arm tactics. You’ve got to send a developer out to buy at market rates. We’re not engaging the city. We’re not doing any eminent domain. We can’t do that.”

For Pierce, the experience at the horseshoe has been life-changing, he said.

“I’ve generally led my life apolitical unaware, not a good citizen, unaware of the issues,” Pierce said.

Pierce said he hadn’t planned on voting in the mayoral election, but he’s changed his mind now. The businessman said he would vote for Leppert, and that it has nothing to do with Oakley being gay.

“If he’s honest, has integrity, treats all factions fairly, then he’s my man,” Pierce said. “I’m not sure that’s what I saw of him.”

Oakley said he is flabbergasted by the reaction of Miller and Pierce to his role in the proceedings.

“I’m amazed not true,” Oakley said.

E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 1, 2007.

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Legislature laid off gays, even listened

By John Wright Staff Writer

Equality Texas calls session “‘best combination ever’ for LGBT community



Paul Scott

For the first time in recent memory, the LGBT community avoided any direct attacks during this year’s biannual General Session of the Texas Legislature, which ended Monday, May 28.

And the absence of enemy fire helped allow for some advances, according to Equality Texas Executive Director Paul Scott.

“This is really the best combination ever I guess in the sense of not having any anti-LGBT bills filed, and at the same time having 15 (pro-LGBT) bills filed,” Scott said. “That’s the most that we’ve ever seen filed in any one session.”

In the 2005 session, the LGBT community was hit with a successful constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

In 2003, there was passage of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman, Scott said. That year also saw a proposed amendment that would have banned LGBT foster parenting. The amendment passed both the House and Senate but was removed from a bill by a joint conference committee.

Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, threatened similar legislation prior to this year’s session but never introduced a bill or proposed an amendment.

“We’re just pleased that thousands of children can wake up still having gay or lesbian moms and dads instead of having a state investigator in the house trying to remove them,” Scott said.

Another bill, which would have required people to present acceptable proof of identification before voting, died in the Senate after passing the House this year. LGBT advocates feared the bill, intended as an anti-immigration measure, effectively would have disenfranchised transgender people whose identifications do not match their name or gender.

Meanwhile, several pro-LGBT bills got hearings before committees. Even if bills aren’t voted on or fail to make it out of committee, hearings are considered important because they give groups like Equality Texas an opportunity to present testimony and educate lawmakers.

Those bills included HB 247, sponsored by Dallas Democratic Rep. Roberto Alonzo, which would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in insurance. The bill was heard by a House committee but did not advance to the floor.

“These were conversations we opened up for the first time,” Scott said.

HB 900, sponsored by San Antonio Democratic Rep. Michael Villarreal, would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and housing. The bill received a committee hearing for the second straight session but did not advance.

Another bill that received a hearing but did not advance out of committee, sponsored by Fort Worth Democratic Rep. Marc Veasey, would have launched a study into implementation of the state’s hate crimes act. Backed by Equality Texas, the bill sought to determine why despite 1,500 reported hate crimes since the act’s passage in 2001, there have been only eight successful prosecutions.

HB 833, sponsored by Houston Democratic Rep. Harold Dutton, made it out of committee but died on the House floor. The bill would have prohibited harassment in the state’s public schools. Named for a Houston girl who committed suicide after being bullied by friends, Corrine’s Law was not LGBT-specific, but Equality Texas supported it.

“The one thing that we feel really proud about is we were the only statewide organization working to get this bill even onto the floor of the House,” Scott said.

“It would have created a state model policy, which is definitely something we advocate. There is a wide variety of policies out there, and we feel like the state needs to come up with a model policy.”

Although he generally was pleased with the results of the session, his first as executive director, Scott said Equality Texas isn’t looking back.

“Our philosophy is that the session has not ended,” he said. “The 2009 session has just begun.”

E-mail wright@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 1, 2007.

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Denton case illustrates need for federal Matthew Shepard Act

By Ben Briscoe Staff Writer

Lauper’s True Colors Tour to raise money, awareness about issue in Dallas on June 23



Chris McKee

On the night of Dec. 3, 2005, Chris McKee left his favorite Denton bar on Fry Street, like he had done so many times before. But this night was different.

It all started as McKee was saying goodbye to a friend that he calls “the biggest queen in Denton.”

“We don’t do the handshake thing; when we say hello or goodbye we kiss each other,” McKee said. “Apparently that offended a group of people on the street, and two men followed me to my car as I was getting ready to leave. They kept saying “‘faggot this’ and “‘queer that.’”

McKee says he kept his back turned to the men and tried to ignore them at first, but then they walked up and elbowed him in his sides. McKee asked them what their problem was and the men immediately replied, “Let’s kick this faggot’s ass.”

By the end of that night, McKee had been repeatedly kicked in his side and had his hand slammed in a car door.

According to the FBI, McKee is not alone in suffering a crime motivated by hate. About every six hours someone in the U.S. is victimized because of his or her sexual orientation. Despite this statistic, the current federal hate crime law has no protection for sexual orientation like it does for race, color, national origin and religion.

That’s something the Matthew Shepard Act hopes to fix. Named after the gay University of Wyoming student who was beaten and left, tied to a fence, to die in 1998, the bill would add sexual orientation, gender identity and disablement as categories under the current federal hate crimes law.

The Matthew Shepard Act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives recently, but it’s having some trouble getting off the ground in the Senate, partly because of fear it could limit religious speech.

Leaders of the Baptist church in particular have lobbied against it, wearing T-shirts with a picture of Jesus that read, “This man could never hate anyone.” They say that under the legislation, some biblical verses would be considered hate speech, and therefore, prosecutable if read aloud in church.


Cyndi Lauper

When Grammy award winner Cyndi Lauper heard about this struggle in the Senate from Sheppard’s mother, Judy, she decided to do something about it.

“I am friends and family of the gay community,” Lauper said. “And when your friends and family are treated like that, you need to stand up and say something.”

Lauper has chosen an unusual method for making that stand.

“I’m not a politician, and I can’t speak very well,” she said. “But I can sing really well, so I thought I would go out and do that.”

Lauper approached the Human Rights Campaign, an organization that supports the Sheppard act by lobbying Congress. Together, they decided to create the True Colors Tour. The tour will feature Lauper, Erasure, Debbie Harry, The Dresden Dolls and emcee Margaret Cho.

The tour stops in 16 cities this summer, including Dallas on June 23 at the Smirnoff Music Centre. Special guest Rosie O’Donnell will also be at the Dallas performance.

One dollar from every ticket purchase will go toward HRC’s efforts in getting the act passed. But the political activism doesn’t stop there.

“While we are singing loud and dancing together, we will be doing something good,” Lauper said. “This is a very proud, strong community and we all need to stand together. That was we can make a difference and get this act passed. If we fragment, we can’t win.”

To make that unified stand, Lauper will be asking everyone in attendance to write their senators, via the HRC website, and tell them that the act should be passed.

According HRC President Joe Solmonese, the organization couldn’t be happier with the tour.

“There is no better way to increase the fight than to bring Cyndi in,” he said. “Along with her, you get tens of thousands of fans, and if there is one thing we know, it’s that the number and volume of calls, notes and letters really matters. The higher it is, the more chance of making a difference your cause has.”

McKee is also very excited about the tour.

“One of my friends just bought me tickets,” he said. “When I go, it’s going to be more than a little emotional. I’m very glad this is happening, and I think we need to have a lot more of these community-unifying events if we ever want our voice to be strong enough to be heard.”

E-mail Briscoe@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 1, 2007.

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Gay mayoral candidate gets boost from HRC

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How much more “‘out’ can he get?

By David Webb – The Rare Reporter

Time Magazine article makes Oakley sound almost closeted



David Webb – The Rare Reporter

There was a quirky report in Time Magazine recently about Dallas’ mayoral runoff pitting veteran gay City Council member Ed Oakley against straight political newcomer Tom Leppert.

In “The Lavender Heart of Texas,” which is now on newsstands, the writer described Oakley as a businessman who had avoided mentioning his sexuality while he was building his profitable construction company and of being alarmed that widespread attention now to his sexual orientation could cost him the mayoral election. In contrast, the writer portrayed lesbian Sheriff Lupe Valdez as being a “bit more open” when she campaigned for office.

My reaction to that was, huh? In fact, I had to go back and read those few paragraphs again to make sure I had interpreted them correctly.

I don’t know how long the writer spent in Dallas researching his story, but it obviously wasn’t quite long enough.

First of all, any voter who lives in Dallas who is unaware Oakley is gay has been asleep in the voting booth. When you consider that he almost single-handedly convinced all but a couple of members of the City Council and the city manager, the police chief and the fire chief to ride in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, you realize this guy is not bashful about discussing gay rights. What’s more, his construction company is best known for its work for Caven Enterprises, Dallas’ premiere gay and lesbian nightclub venture.

Secondly, although I greatly respect Valdez and am quite fond of her, I recall with great clarity how uncomfortable she seemed to be with questions about her sexuality during the early days of her campaign. It was the subject of a lot of discussions among the staff at this newspaper.

I doubt that Valdez was open about her sexual orientation during her 24-year law enforcement career, and why would she discuss sexual orientation in connection with a business matter? Before her successful campaign for sheriff, Valdez ran for a Dallas County school board position and never approached anyone at this newspaper for coverage, to the best of my recollection.

When Valdez won the sheriff’s office two years ago, most straight voters had no idea she was a lesbian until after she was in

office and the media began reporting it. And when County Judge Jim Foster and District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons were swept into office last November, most straight voters were surprised to learn that they were gay not because they were hiding it but because there wasn’t any reason for them to broadcast the information during their campaigns.

Again, I’m not knocking Valdez or anyone else about how they choose to acknowledge their sexual orientation. It’s everyone’s right to address that subject on the schedule and to the degree that best suits their individual interests. I’m sure as the election grew nearer Valdez probably had grown much more comfortable discussing her sexual orientation.

The point is that no other public official in Dallas has been more open in the media about their sexual orientation than Oakley.

That said, I think I know how the writer of the Time article probably got a bit confused. At this point in the race for mayor, it’s a forgone conclusion that Oakley is going to take the LGBT vote, so it’s not the voting bloc where he needs to devote most of his attention. I guess that’s at least one of the reasons why one of our reporters couldn’t get him on the phone last week to respond to some comments Leppert made in an interview that and a possible growing animosity toward reporters that all politicians on the rise seem to experience.

But even though Leppert made some gay-friendly comments in last week’s issue of the Dallas Voice (I view someone agreeing to ride in a gay rights parade as a pretty friendly gesture.), I feel confident in saying it was way too late and too little to make much of a difference to gay voters.

Leppert claimed that his failure to seek an endorsement from the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance’s political action committee during the general election probably was an oversight by his campaign, but I’m having a hard time buying that. I know how diligent DGLA political action campaign volunteers are about repeatedly following up with campaigns to make sure everyone is aware of the schedule. I suspect his campaign staff may have conveniently misfiled those reminders.

The truth is that it’s much safer for Leppert to appeal to LGBT voters now that his opponent is an openly-gay politician. It reminds me of something Donna Blumer, an archconservative former City Council member and previous president of the Eagle Forum, had to say about all of the candidates running in the 2002 mayoral election supporting a citywide anti-discrimination ordinance that included sexual orientation. “What are you going to do?” Blumer reportedly said in exasperation to her friends. “They’re all for it.”

That’s where we are today in the mayor’s election. It’s not going to hurt Leppert to make gay-friendly statements. In fact, those remarks may be seen as a way to temper other strategies, such as his campaign drawing attention to Oakley’s strong LGBT support. That seemed to be the intention of a press release the campaign sent out this week noting that Stonewall Democrats of Dallas had pushed the Dallas County Democratic Party to endorse Oakley.

Oakley, on the other hand, must make sure all voters realize that he is the most knowledgeable and most experienced candidate on the ballot. That’s going to require him talking about a much broader platform than just gay rights. Unfortunately for Oakley, the gay angle has captured the attention of the mainstream media and they’re running with it in some cases to the exclusion of the larger, bigger picture. All of this is happening against the backdrop of a small number of fanatics who are warning that Dallas is about turn into Sodom and Gomorrah if Oakley wins.

It would and should concern any gay candidate. My hope is that on June 16 voters will look at the records of the candidates and decide who is best prepared to lead the City of Dallas.

Leppert, 52, a successful former chief executive officer of an international construction company and a Republican contributor, has never held public office. He has been a Dallas resident for only a little more than three years, and he failed to vote in several recent local elections. He has shown that he can run a successful business, but can he guide the city to greater heights?

In contrast, Oakley, 54, as was reported in The Dallas Morning News this week, “has an “encyclopedic knowledge of City Hall operations.” His experience includes three terms as a City Council member and service on the Plan Commission. He’s also well known for helping forge a consensus on the City Council on several occasions and has helped put together major bond packages.

So if the voters can just keep their minds on what’s best for Dallas and off what the candidates might do in their privacy, I think I know whom our next mayor will be.

E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 1, 2007.

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Frisco City Council runoff features gay candidate

By David Webb Staff Writer

Moss hopes LGBT voters will help put him in office, notes “‘every vote counts’ in race that could be close



Chris Moss

A runoff race for Place 4 on the Frisco City Council features Chris Moss, an openly-gay eight-year resident of the city.

“I think my chances are very good,” Moss said in a telephone interview. “I think there are some people out there who thought I wouldn’t be able to do that. I think they might have been surprised that I did so well.

Moss finished second in the general election with 842 votes, compared to opponent David Prince’s 1,044 votes, which were just five votes short of giving him a majority vote and avoiding a runoff election. A recount confirmed the accuracy of the count.

Moss, who is a risk management consultant, said his good showing has generated excitement among his supporters, who include a former mayor, two former council members and a former chamber of commerce president.

“It’s sort of ignited some excitement about my campaign, and I think we are going to ride that wave all the way to victory,” said Moss, who currently serves as a member of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

Moss is president of Frisco Pride, an LGBT social organization, and a trustee of the Collin Equality Foundation, a nonprofit group raising money for educational purposes. He was a founding member of the Collin County Gay and Lesbian Alliance, but is no longer associated with the group, he said.

Moss said Frisco is a “family-oriented” town, but it has a sizable LGBT population. The straight residents are generally accepting of gay people, he said.

“I’ve just found people to be very accepting in my personal experience,” Moss said.

He noted that his partner was president of the homeowner’s association for two years.

“Our neighbors were completely aware of who we were when they elected him to the board of directors, and we’ve always gotten along with our neighbors very well,” Moss said.

“It’s not to say we haven’t had anybody who hasn’t been ugly to us at all but generally speaking, when people get to know us they tend to be convinced pretty quickly our intentions are pure,” Moss said.

Moss said he is operating a grass roots campaign, primarily going door-to-door. He also has sent out brochures, made phone calls and sent e-mails, he said.

The candidate, who is endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, said he is hoping for a strong turnout from his supporters on Election Day.

“It’s one of those situations where every vote counts,” Moss said.

E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 1, 2007.

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Rain blocks reopening of Cedar Springs bridge

By John Wright Staff Writer

NTAA officials hope to open bridge by end of June

An unseasonably wet spring again has pushed back the reopening to traffic in both directions of Cedar Springs Road across the Dallas North Tollway bridge.

The bridge where Cedar Springs eastbound has been closed since October for a widening project initially was slated to reopen by the end of March.

In April, NTTA officials pushed that date back to early June due to wet weather combined with utility relocation issues. And on Wednesday, May 30, NTTA engineering director Mark Bouma said the authority now hopes to reopen the bridge by June 29 at the latest.

“We’re going to try to beat that, but if you’re a better forecaster of the weather than we are, I’m ready to bring you on board,” Bouma said, adding that the project site saw more than 6 inches of rain in May. “We need a few dry days to be able to get that work in. With it raining virtually every day, it’s been difficult to get in and be able to get the subgrade stiff enough to where we can pave on it.”

Crews have poured the bridge deck, Bouma said, but still must install rails and pave approaches.

After the south half of the bridge reopens to one lane of traffic in both directions, demolition and reconstruction of the north half will begin. That work is expected to be done by late summer.

Widening of the Cedar Springs bridge is part of a $50 million project to revitalize the south end of the tollway. The project also includes replacement of the original toll plaza at Wycliff Avenue, repaving of the tollway between Lemmon Avenue and Interstate 35; replacement of the Oak Lawn bridge, and the widening of Oak Lawn Avenue to six lanes between Maple Avenue and Interstate 35.

It is scheduled to be finished in spring 2008.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 1, 2007.

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ExxonMobil shareholders vote down policy change for 8th time

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North Texas GLBT Chamber to host Dallas mayoral candidates

By Staff Reports

Candidates Oakley, Leppert to meet with members at breakfast on June 8, presenting opening statements before taking questions

The North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce will host Dallas mayoral candidates Ed Oakley and Tom Leppert at a breakfast meeting at Cityplace Conference Center on June 8 at 7:30 a.m.

Sherry Briggs, president of the chamber, said the chamber members are excited to be hosting the candidates’ forum.

“As a chamber of commerce, we are deeply concerned with the economic well being of North Texas, but we are equally attuned to issues that affect the overall GLBT community,” Briggs said.

Tony Vedda, the chamber’s executive director, said the forum is expected to draw a large audience.

“We realize that a large percentage of the GLBT community is very interested in the election,” Vedda said.

For information about attending the forum call Vedda at 214-821-4528 or e-mail him at news@GLBTChamber.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 1, 2007.

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N.H. governor signs civil unions into law

By Staff and Wire Reports

State becomes ninth, not including District of Columbia, to offer some form of protection for same-sex couples



Gov. John Lynch

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch approved civil unions for same-sex couples by signing the bill into law on Thursday, May 31.

This makes New Hampshire the ninth state in the nation, not including the District of Columbia, that provides at least some form of state-level recognition for same-sex couples.

“The state of New Hampshire can now proudly be counted among the one out of every five states in the country that are leading the way in recognizing the love and commitment of all couples,” Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said.

The bill passed the state Legislature last month with a vote of 14 to 10 in the Senate and 243 to 129 in the House of Representatives.

The civil unions will be available starting in January. Same-sex couples will have the same rights, responsibilities and obligations as married couples. Under the bill, same-sex unions from other states also will be recognized if they are legal in the state in which they were preformed.

HRC isn’t the only organization happy about Lynch’s signature. The National Stonewall Democrats are praising the new civil unions as well, saying that they passed because of the newly elected Democratic majority in both the state House and Senate following the 2006 general election.

“New Hampshire has not only provided family protections in the form of civil unions, but the Granite State has just given us an example of why it is important to elect Democrats to public office,” NSD Executive Director Jo Wyrick said.

In previous years, the Republican-controlled state legislative bodies had made repeated attempts to enact anti-gay legislation such as bans on adoption and defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Many activists, including Solmonese and Wyrick, hope that New Hampshire’s actions will be repeated in other states.

“It is my hope that New Hampshire’s successful effort will serve as inspiration across the nation that it can be done,” New Hampshire’s Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley said.

New Hampshire Senate President Sylvia Larsen says it was a no-brainier to pass the law.

“This is not a state that believes in discrimination,” she said. “And once people understood that same-gender couples were being denied rights like hospital visitations and the right to inherit the homes they’d shared with their loved ones — stories like that opened our eyes. And once your eyes are opened, you can’t close them again. This is the right thing to do.”

Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey have civil union laws similar to New Hampshire’s. California and Oregon have domestic partnership laws that grant a broad spectrum of state-level rights, benefits and responsibilities to same-sex couples. Hawaii, Maine, Washington and Washington D.C. recognize same-sex relationships and offer a handful of rights to same-sex couples. Only Massachusetts gives the full right of marriage to same-sex couples.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 1, 2007.

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