Remembering Judge Buchmeyer as a friend to our community

Posted on 22 Sep 2009 at 9:17am

When Judge Jerry Buchmeyer declared the Texas sodomy law 21.06 unconstitutional, little did he know that he was ruling for equality for his own kids.

I met Judge Buchmeyer when his son, Jon Paul, was raising money to produce the film “Gay TV: The Movie.” Gay comedian Jason Stuart starred. I played George, the video store manager, and we filmed those scenes at TapeLenders.

I also was one of the right-wing demonstrators who took over the gay television station. (The film predated Q Television, Here and Logo by 10 years).

To raise the money, Judge Buchmeyer hosted several parties in his home for his friends as well as for members of the LGBT community, and he loved bringing those groups together.

Judge Buchmeyer, who was appointed to his federal seat in 1979 by President Carter, was a true friend to the LGBT community. He was a speaker at one of the first Dallas PFLAG meetings. He spoke to Stonewall Business Association. His talks were always warm and heartfelt, but most of all, hysterically funny.

Jerry Buchmeyer simply didn’t accept discrimination. Once appointed to his federal seat, he did something about it. His ruling that changed Dallas City Council representation to the current 14-1 system led to the election of the first openly gay City Council members. Blacks and Hispanics, a rarity in city hall before the ruling, are regularly represented now as well.

He made the living situation of many of Dallas’ poor better with his desegregation rulings that affected Dallas Housing Authority.

The hateful comments in the Dallas Morning News announcement of his death underscore just how controversial Judge Buchmeyer always was. I think he’d get a kick out of them.

A personal message to Jon Paul and Pam: Your dad made all of our lives better. May his memory be a blessing.

— David Taffet

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