Anti-trans marriage license bill dies, but Krause amendment remains

State Sen. Donna Campbell

State Sen. Donna Campbell

Republican state Sen. Donna Campbell’s anti-transgender marriage license bill is officially dead.

SB 1218 passed the Senate last week, but failed to make it out of a House committee and onto the calendar for a vote this week. The bill would have prohibited anyone from obtaining a marriage license with a document that lacks a photo, including an affidavit of sex change.

Daniel Williams, field organizer with Equality Texas, said the organization worked with transgender activists to slow the bill’s progress throughout the session.

“That is absolutely a victory,” he said.

This is the third and last anti-gay bill that’s died this session. However, Fort Worth Republican Matt Krause turned his failed HB 360 into an amendment and tacked it onto a bill last week that passed. The amendment would allow student organizations at state-funded colleges to discriminate against people for membership.

Williams said the bill’s final version will come for a vote this week and the group will work to kill the amendment if it makes it into the bill.

—  Dallasvoice

San Antonio religious leaders threaten lawsuits to end city’s DP benefits

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Philip Sevilla

Two religious leaders are threatening lawsuits if the city doesn’t stop offering domestic partner benefits in light of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s advisory opinion saying they violate the state Constitution.

Pastor Gerald Ripley of Voices for Marriage and Philip Sevilla of Texas Leadership Coalition addressed the San Antonio City Council Wednesday, threatening lawsuits in order to stop the benefits from being offered if the city doesn’t end them by June 30, the San Antonio Express-News reports.

“Lawsuits will be filed if necessary,” Ripley said.

“We cannot allow this in San Antonio. We are not San Francisco,” Sevilla said.

City attorney Mike Bernard told the newspaper the city won’t change its policy until the U.S. Supreme Court rules in two key marriage equality cases.

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro has supported the benefits and said last month Abbott’s opinion to take away the benefits would hold Texas back.

Meanwhile, Fort Worth officials aren’t changing anything to the city’s DP benefits program because of Abbott’s opinion, according to an employee newsletter sent out yesterday.

—  Dallasvoice

TX House passes anti-gay amendment allowing student clubs at universities to discriminate

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State Rep. Matt Krause

The Texas House passed an amendment Wednesday afternoon that would allow student clubs at universities to discriminate against people for membership.

The motion passed 78-67 after a motion to table it failed.

Fort Worth Republican Rep. Matt Krause’s amendment mandates that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board work with institutions to “ensure that each institution does not implement a policy or otherwise engage in a practice that requires a student organization” to accept members who “demonstrate opposition to the organization’s stated beliefs and purposes.”

Krause tacked it onto SB 215 and argued the amendment was about “protecting free speech” in deciding who can join a club. Others said it wasn’t appropriate to decide for universities how organizations on campuses should be handled and called it discriminatory.

Krause originally filed the amendment as HB 360, which didn’t make it before the House floor for a vote. That bill originally stated clubs could discriminate based on race, gender and sexual orientation. A compromise bill later passed out of committee preventing clubs form having to abide by universities’ nondiscrimination polices.

According to Equality Texas, if enacted, Krause’s amendment “would allow officially-recognized student organizations who receive taxpayer funded support from a university to discriminate against a potential member based on race, religion, veteran status, HIV/AIDS status, gender, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression if any attribute of the student ‘demonstrates opposition to the organization’s stated beliefs and purposes.’”

State Rep. Harold Dutton Jr., D-Houston, said during today’s debate that the amendment is discriminatory and takes away freedom from students to join whatever club they wanted to.

“You don’t lose your freedom a mile at a time. You lose it an inch at a time,” Dutton said. “This is another attempt to take away some of the freedoms we have.”

Daniel Williams, field organizer for Equality Texas, said the amendment “barely squeezed through” and had bipartisan opposition. He said the amendment can still be dropped from the legislation as a committee creates a compromise bill that combines the Senate and House version. That bill then goes to another vote.

“There are still many steps left in the process and we will continue to work with our allies in the House and Senate,” he said. “I am very hopeful that this amendment will not become law.”

To see how House members voted on Krause’s amendment, go here.

—  Dallasvoice

Log Cabin condemns Harris Co. GOP official for implying gays are pedophiles

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Log Cabin Republicans is angered at the Texas GOP, and especially the Harris County Republican Party, for the gay-baiting and hateful treatment of a precinct chair applicant.

Christopher Busby, vice president of the Houston chapter of Log Cabin, had an interview in April with the county party for a precinct chair vacancy after his application last summer went missing.

But Busby was asked outlandish questions about gay issues, whether he supports pedophilia and sex education for young schoolchildren because he is a Log Cabin member. He was denied the position, which remains vacant. Harris County Republican Party Vacancy Committee member Terry Lowry was the person who continued to insinuate Busby’s connection to LCR meant he supports pedophilia.

“Since learning about this outrageous incident last week, the Log Cabin Republicans National office has attempted to work in good faith with the Harris County Republican Party, the Texas State Republican Party, and the Republican National Committee on this issue, but our best efforts to secure a simple condemnation of Terry Lowry and his mind-boggling ignorance were met with hand-sitting,” LCR Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo said in a statement.

“Ultimately the members of the Vacancy Committee and County Chairman Jared Woodfill, who appointed them, have rejected Reagan and the big-tent philosophy which has made our party what it is today. Terry Lowry needs to resign, Christopher Busby needs to be appointed to fill that vacancy, and the Harris County GOP needs to get its act together unless it wants to bear the responsibility for handing Texas to the Democrats on a silver platter in 2014.”

Houston Chronicle blogger and LCR member David Jennings blogged about the incident:

One of the members of the committee that I talked to today said that what happened during that meeting was  ”criminal” and that they would resign because of it. Another member told me that they were “appalled by the treatment of that young man”. Yet another said that it was “gay baiting” and that one person on the committee “implied that the only reason gays want to be a part of the party is to relax laws so that they can molest little boys”. A precinct chair in attendance to observe the meeting said that “they tried to bait the guy into admitting that he was a pedophile.”

Busby later responded to the blog, saying that he was dismayed that his years of dedication to the Republican Party went unnoticed by the committee. He told Dallas Voice he plans to run for precinct chair without the committee’s blessing during an election.

—  Dallasvoice

2 anti-gay bills die in TX Legislature

Springer.DrewHB 1568 by Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, which aimed to defund school districts that offer health benefits to partners of employees, is officially dead.

HB 360 by Fort Worth Republican Matt Krause also died. Krause’s substitute bill would have allowed school organizations to disregard the college’s nondiscrimination policy.

Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith said the bills didn’t make in onto the last House calendar for May 9, and therefore will not go to the floor for a vote.

“It’s dead,” Smith said. “This is a victory.”

Springer’s bill was considered in committee, and a substitute passed out of committee in late April. The substitute changed cutting school funding to allowing the attorney general to defund and close school districts that offer DP benefits without an appeals process. Only Pflugerville and Austin ISD have elected to offer the benefits.

Equality Texas worked with the House Calendars Committee to ensure both bills would miss the deadline. They could come up again this session if they are attached to another bill, but Smith said Equality Texas would watch changes to bills to ensure that doesn’t happen.

—  Dallasvoice

Not everyone wishes Jason Collins well, including Dallas radio host Chris Krok

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When Jason Collins come out Monday as the first openly gay man on an American professional team sport, his well-wishers included everyone from Mark Cuban to Kobe Bryant to Steve Nash.

But not everyone was so encouraging.

As could have been predicted, FoxNews and its affiliates are among the least supportive — and downright hateful. Media Matters reported that on Monday, when the Collins story was breaking news, FoxNews devoted less than 10 minutes to the story, while MSNBC spent nearly half an hour on it and CNN more than 40 minutes.

But it doesn’t end there.

FoxNews reporter Todd Starnes tweeted sarcastic, inane and condescending blasts at Collins. Among them: “Remember when professional athletes were judged on their athletic prowess — and not who they bedded?” (ummm … since when have basketball players’ private lives been out-of-bounds, especially when they date famous models, singers and actresses?); “The NBA is turning into GLEE” (ummm … if you wanna judge athletes by abilities only, why be so rude about one openly gay player?); and “Have any professional athletes announced they are heterosexual today?” (ummm … yes, Todd, on a daily basis — every time they talk about their wives and girlfriends).

Locally, it’s just as bad.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

San Antonio man beaten unconscious in apparent anti-gay hate crime

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From left, Aurelio Huerta-Gonzalez, Filiberto Huerta-Gonzalez and Juan Huerta-Gonzalez.

San Antonio police arrested three brothers over the weekend for the brutal beating of their gay neighbor.

Juan Huerta-Gonzalez, 35, Aurelio Huerta-Gonzalez, 33, and Filiberto Huerta-Gonzalez, 30, allegedly beat their neighbor, 48, while he was doing laundry at their apartment complex, San Antonio’s KENS-5 reports.

The victim told police one of the three men called him a derogatory name in Spanish before one of them punched him in the face. The others then allegedly held him down, beating him until he was unconscious. He then called police when he woke up.

Aurelio Huerta-Gonzalez allegedly told officers that he didn’t like the victim looking at them all the time and calling him and his brothers “baby” and “sweet thing” all the time. He also said a fourth man punched the victim first because of the way he was looking at him and the brothers pulled the man off of him.

But the victim was only able to identify the three brothers and not the other man.

The men were charged with assault and police are investigating it as a hate crime.

—  Dallasvoice

Resource Center Dallas sends letter opposing Zedler amendment

Cece Cox

Cece Cox

Equality Texas is collecting letters to send to legislators encouraging them to oppose an amendment that would ban and defund LGBT resource centers on college campuses.

The amendment filed by state Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, claims that the centers endorse high-risk behavior and the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Resource Center Dallas CEO Cece Cox sent a letter today, stating that the amendment has “no public health value.”

“It exists for one reason and one reason only: to target college student resource centers simply because the centers provide services to the LGBT community,” the letter reads in part. “It’s intent is mean-spirited and discriminatory, and is rooted in the inaccurate belief that sexual orientation and gender identity ate behaviors.”

Read the full letter below.

—  Dallasvoice

Houston student targeted for HIV status, ‘homosexual agenda’ in election

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A flier circulated on a Houston college campus this week targeted a student body vice president candidate’s sexual orientation and HIV status.

Kristopher Sharp, a junior social work major at the University of Houston-Downtown, said administrators called him in to meet with them on Tuesday and he learned about the anti-gay flier.

The flier, above, has a picture of him with an X over it below the caption, “WANT AIDS?” and urges students not to support him and his running mate’s “homosexual agenda.”

On the back of the flier is a copy of a medical document from one of Sharp’s recent doctor appointments that contains his home address, phone number and HIV status.

Sharp, 23, said he’s out on campus and is open about his HIV-positive status, having spoken about his experience with the disease at a World AIDS Day event. He said he keeps a folder of medical forms in his student senator desk in the student government office since his doctor is a few blocks from campus. He said he recently noticed forms missing.

Seeing the flier and realizing someone took his forms shocked him.

“I was devastated,” Sharp said. “I knew going into this that there would be some people who wouldn’t support me because of who I am.”

—  Dallasvoice

Texas native Michelle Shocked sees shows canceled after anti-gay rant

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Michelle Shocked during a 2008 performance at the House of Blues in Dallas.

Michelle Shocked has a rollercoaster musical career, but even more up and down is her view of homosexuality.

Shocked went on an anti-gay rant Sunday during a show in San Francisco, telling the audience 90 minutes into the show that “God hates fags and you can tweet that I said so.” Management reportedly responded by cutting off her microphone and ending the performance after most of her fans left.

Her outrage during the show has led to a Change.org petition for venues to cancel her scheduled appearances, and many venues have canceled her upcoming shows while others are listened as tentative.

Shocked was once labeled as lesbian and bisexual after a 1990 Outlines article where she spoke about being a gay role model and not knowing how to identify.

—  Dallasvoice