Pet of the Week


Trinity is 14-month-old, white shepherd-Lab mix available for adoption from Operation Kindness. He was found in a grove of trees near the Trinity River in Fort Worth hence the name. In addition to having awesome ears, Trinity is playful and friendly. He will probably weigh 60 pounds or more when fully grown. Trinity is neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and on heartworm preventive.

Dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are available for adoption from Operation Kindness, 3201 Earhart Drive (near Keller Springs Road and Midway Road), Carrollton. The no-kill shelter is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (until 8 p.m. Thursday) and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Cost to adopt is $110 for cats and kittens and $135 for dogs and puppies. The cost includes spay or neuter surgery, microchipping, vaccinations and other tests. Those 65 and above and those who adopt two pets at the same time get a $20 discount. For more information call 972-418-PAWS, or visit www.operationkindness.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 31, 2007

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Deaths

David M. Chase, 65, of Richardson, died on Tuesday, Aug. 21, after a long illness.

Chase was born in Milwaukee, Wisc., on April 27, 1942, to Victor and Helen (Voight) Chase. He graduated from Milwaukee University School in 1960 and went on to obtain a degree in accounting and business law from the University of Arizona, graduating from there in 1965.

After graduation from college, Chase worked for Fiebing Chemical Company in Wisconsin. He moved to Dallas in 1971, where he worked for Fiebing for several more years, until ill health forced him to retire.

Chase was an active member of the Lincoln Car Club of Dallas, the Cathedral of Hope and the Men’s Book Club.

He is survived by his two brothers and their wives, Richard and Nancy Chase, and Roger and Phyllis Chase; and by several nieces and nephews.

The family offers special thanks to the Village at Richardson Nursing Home and friends Robert Voelkle and Eric Johnson for the care and concern they showed Chase in the last six years of his life.

No service is planned at this time.

We print notices of deaths of members of the GLBT community at no fee. A questionnaire is available to assist you in organizing the information. Certain information is required. The questionnaire can be e-mailed, faxed or mailed to you. You may supply photos as prints (color or B&W) or scans (min. 300 d.p.i. at 3X5). For more information or to submit a notice, e-mail notices@dallasvoice.com or call 214-754-8710 ext. 113 or ext. 128.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 31, 2007

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Former inmate who sued Texas prisons back behind bars again

By Associated Press

Roderick Keith Johnson sentenced to 19 years for robbery

MARSHALL A former inmate who lost his federal civil rights lawsuit against several Texas prison system officials over claims he was raped by fellow prisoners has been sentenced to 19 years in prison for robbery.

Roderick Keith Johnson, 39, was sentenced after pleading guilty Aug. 20 to robbing a service station in Marshall in February, said District Attorney Joe Black.

Authorities said he had given the clerk a note that read: “I have 9 mm. Put the money in the bag.” Officers arrested him near the station and found a bag of money in his possession, police said.

In his civil suit filed in 2002, Johnson had sought unspecified damages against Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials at the Allred Unit near Wichita Falls, where he said prison gangs raped him almost daily during his 18 months there.

Johnson, who had been in prison for violating his probation terms on a burglary conviction, said he was targeted by inmates because he is gay.

In 2004, a Wichita Falls grand jury declined to indict 49 prisoners Johnson had accused of sexually assaulting him.

Before the suit went to trial, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans dropped eight of the original 15 defendants .

After a month-long trial in 2005 in Wichita Falls, jurors found that the six prison officials were not liable in violating his constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment by ignoring his pleas for protection from inmate rapes. One official had been dropped from the suit during the trial.

Johnson, who returned to his native Harrison County after his release from prison, previously said that he had started a program in Austin for former inmates to re-enter society and wanted to create the same program in East Texas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 31, 2007

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Arkansas conservatives working to put adoption ban on 2008 ballot

By Andrew DeMillo Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK A conservative group hopes a ballot item that would ban unmarried couples from adopting or fostering children will effectively reinstate a ban on gay foster parents overturned by the state’s highest court.

The head of the Arkansas Family Council said Thursday, Aug. 23, that the broader ban would withstand court challenges better than a measure focusing only on gays and lesbians.

“We looked at what was likely to be pretty bullet proof when it came to constitutional challenges,” said Jerry Cox, the council’s executive director and president.

The council hopes to place the proposed act on the November 2008 ballot. It has submitted the proposal to Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who is reviewing the measure.

The council this year pushed unsuccessfully for legislation that would have banned gay people from fostering or adopting children.

Cox said the ban did not specifically target gays and lesbians partly because the group believed cohabiting heterosexuals are not safe for children, either.

If approved by voters, the ban would take effect Jan. 1, 2009.

Cox’s group has been pushing for a ban on gay parents to be reinstated after it was overturned by the state Supreme Court last year.

Legislation barring any unmarried couple from fostering or adopting children passed the state Senate but failed before the House Judiciary Committee during this year’s session.

Gov. Mike Beebe said earlier this year the measure which was written by the council had constitutional problems and did not offer equal protection to all people.

Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample would not comment on the proposal.

Rita Sklar, the state director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said broadening the ban beyond just gay couples doesn’t make it any less vulnerable to a constitutional challenge.

“It doesn’t make it better,” Sklar said. “There’s nothing better about including a lot more families who are going to have private decisions made for them by the government.”

Cox said the group provided the written proposal to the attorney general’s office on Aug. 21. If McDaniel’s office approves the wording of the popular name and ballot title of the proposal, the Family Council would need 61,947 signatures of registered voters to place the issue on the ballot. That number represents 8 percent of the votes cast for governor in the 2006 election.

It would have until July 2008 to submit the signatures to the secretary of state’s office.

Cox said the group is drafting a guide to adopting and fostering children that it plans to distribute along with petitions if McDaniel approves the ballot title.

“That will enable the people to say on the one hand we’re circulating those petitions to prevent children going to home that aren’t safe, but also that there’s a need for good foster homes in the state.

“There’s a need for children to be adopted,” Cox said.

In 2004, Cox’s group backed a constitutional amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 31, 2007

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Judge strikes down gay marriage ban in Iowa

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Carlson in hot water over tale about public toilet encounter

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Spahr found guilty but not defrocked over lesbian wedding

By Jordan Robertson Associated Press

Court’s punishment for lesbian Presbyterian minister was lightest
possible; Spahr plans to retire by end of month



The Rev. Jane Spahr, center, talks with lesbian couples Connie Valois, second from right, and Barbara Jean Douglass, right, and Annie Senechal, second from left, and Sherrill Figuera, left, outside of a hearing room for the regional judicial committee of the Presbyterian Church in San Mateo, Calif., on Aug. 17. Spahr, a veteran Presbyterian minister, was found guilty of violating church law for officiating the weddings of these two lesbian couples. (PAUL SAKUMA/Associated Press)

SAN FRANCISCO A Presbyterian minister has been found guilty of violating church law for officiating at the weddings of two lesbian couples, but she was given the lightest possible punishment, church and defense lawyers said Friday, Aug. 24.

A regional judicial committee of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ruled 6-2 that while the Rev. Jane Spahr of San Rafael “acted with conscience and conviction,” her actions were still at odds with the church’s constitution, her defense team said in a news release.

The court gave Spahr the mildest penalty it could have a rebuke which amounts to a warning not to repeat the violation. She could have been removed from ministry.

The ruling, delivered late on Aug. 23 to lawyers for Spahr and the denomination, reversed a lower church court’s decision in March 2006 that found Spahr acted within her rights as an ordained minister when she married the couples in 2004 and 2005.

Spahr was the first minister of her denomination to be tried for officiating at the weddings of gay couples.

The top Presbyterian Court ruled in 2000 that ministers can bless same-sex unions as long as the ceremonies are not called a marriage and don’t mimic traditional weddings.

Spahr, who will retire at the end of this month, plans to appeal.

“My gut reaction was, “‘Oh no, no,’” said Spahr, who came out as a lesbian three decades ago. She said she wants the church “not to tolerate us, but to accept us.”

The initial complaint was brought by a minister from Bellevue, Washington, in the Presbytery of the Redwoods, which oversees 52 Pacific Coast churches from Marin County to the Oregon border.

The Rev. Robert Conover, head of the Redwoods Presbytery, said the ruling underscores the disunity within the church on the issue of same-sex marriage.

“This in no way can be characterized as a victory,” said Conover, “but simply as an ongoing display of the deep difference of opinion on matters of faith and practice.”

Many Protestant denominations are divided over how they should interpret what the Bible says about homosexuality. In the Presbyterian Church, several theologically conservative congregations have announced plans to break away from the denomination over the last year.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 31, 2007

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Celebrity Watch

Kidman reunites with “‘Hours’ director



Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman is, without a doubt, one of the great screen actresses of her generation.

But since winning an Oscar for “The Hours,” she’s appeared in several films not worthy of her talents, including “Bewitched” and “The Invasion.” So it’s good news that she’s reuniting with Stephen Daldry, gay director of “The Hours,” for a film that will co-star Ralph Fiennes.

“The Reader,” based on the international best-seller, deals with a 15-year-old German boy who has an obsessive love affair with an older woman during World War II, only to find out after the war’s end that she is the defendant in a Nazi war crimes trial and is quite likely guilty of an unspeakable offense.

No word yet on when “The Reader” goes before the cameras, but it’s all but guaranteed an eventual Oscar marketing campaign.

“‘Powder Blue’ features encounter between transgender prostitute, priest

After “Crash” won the Best Picture Oscar two years ago (over “Brokeback Mountain,” alas), it was inevitable we’d get more intersecting-lives-of-strangers-in-Los-Angeles movies.

Now comes word of “Powder Blue,” which takes place entirely on a Christmas Eve of chance connections.

One stranger, played by newcomer Alejandro Romero, happens to be a transgender prostitute who crosses the path of priest Forest Whitaker and shares a secret past with him.

Patrick Stewart, Jessica Biel, Kris Kristofferson, Patrick Swayze and Ray Liotta all co-star.

Shooting now, “Powder Blue” is expected to hit theaters in 2008. Maybe even at Christmas time.

Gordon-Levitt deals with “‘Uncertainty’

He may have begun his career with the silly sitcom “Third Rock from the Sun,” but Joseph Gordon-Levitt is rapidly becoming one of indie cinema’s hottest actors, thanks to his roles in “Mysterious Skin” and “Brick.”

He obviously hopes to keep his streak going with his next project, “Uncertainty,” from “The Deep End” directing team of David Siegel (who’s straight) and Scott McGehee (who’s gay).

This new film will be mostly improvised by the cast, from a script by the directors about a couple facing an important decision on the Fourth of July. It will feature various versions of that same day, each one the result of a different decision by the characters.

Filming is currently under way, so “Uncertainty” could be a certain thing as early as 2008.

“‘Spawn’ artist MacFarlane making “‘Oz’ a darker place

Talk about not being in Kansas anymore!

Warner Bros. is returning to Oz, but this time it’s not the Technicolor haven for singing Munchkins and horses of a different color that you remember. Todd MacFarlane, the artist who created the hellish world of “Spawn,” will bring his dark Oz toy line to the big screen in a new movie to be written by Josh Olson (“A History of Violence”).

“Oz” will put a new twist on L. Frank Baum’s gay-favorite classic, giving us a Dorothy who takes an active role to save herself from the bizarre world she’s entered. (Think of “Alien”‘s Ripley but with pigtails, and accompanied by a snarling warthog, Toto.)

The studio is currently seeking a director.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 31, 2007

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Not enough bounce

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Indie comedy s s s oars

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