My own view is that’s not what decided the 2004 election. I’ve had debates with friends on it. I understand where people are coming from. … No [I don't regret being part of the campaign]. What I regret is the fact that I had not come to terms with this part of my life and therefore, because I had not come to terms with it, I was not able to do what I was able to do in other areas and work for a more inclusive and broader party.
—Ken Mehlman, the former George W. Bush campaign manager and RNC chairman who just came out, and terrible human being who's trying to make things right by trying to knock down Prop 8 [via]
Imperial County, in far southern California, has filed an appeal of Judge Vaughn Walker’s overturn of Proposition 8, thanks the help of an anti-gay Christianist legal group. But do they have standing to do so?
The County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 earlier in the day to approve the appeal, according to the Imperial Valley Press. Close to 70% of Imperial County voters approved Prop. 8, which enshrined a definition of marriage as between one man and one woman in the state Constitution. Attorneys for official backers of Prop. 8, ProtectMarriage, have appealed the ruling. Walker last week denied Imperial County’s effort to intervene in the case, saying the county lacked sufficient interests in the matter to do so. The county, represented by the Christian legal group Advocates for Faith and Freedom, pledged to appeal that denial. Separately on Tuesday, the county filed an appeal challenging Walker’s core ruling on Prop. 8′s constitutionality. “The personal opinion of a single judge in San Francisco should not be substituted for the opinion of over 7 million voters,” Advocates for Faith and Freedom General Counsel Robert Tyler said in a statement. The appellate court will determine whether Imperial County has a right to move forward with its appeal.
Imperial County is mostly desert and has only 140K residents.[Photo credit: Rex Wockner]
Judicial candidates John Loza, Tonya Parker among 4 LGBTs running in local races in 2010
By John Wright | News Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
IN THE RUNNING | Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, clockwise from top left, County Judge Jim Foster, attorney Tonya Parker and former Councilman John Loza are LGBT candidates who plan to run in Dallas County elections in 2010. The filing period ends Jan. 4.
Dallas County has had its share of openly gay elected officials, from Sheriff Lupe Valdez to District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons to County Judge Jim Foster.
But while Foster, who chairs the Commissioners Court, is called a “judge,” he’s not a member of the judiciary, to which the county’s voters have never elected an out LGBT person.
Two Democrats running in 2010 — John Loza and Tonya Parker — are hoping to change that.
“This is the first election cycle that I can remember where we’ve had openly gay candidates for the judiciary,” said Loza, a former Dallas City Councilman who’s been involved in local LGBT politics for decades. “It’s probably long overdue, to be honest with you.”
Dallas County’s Jerry Birdwell became the first openly gay judge in Texas when he was appointed by Gov. Ann Richards in 1992. But after coming under attack for his sexual orientation by the local Republican Party, Birdwell, a Democrat, lost his bid for re-election later that year.
Also in the November 1992 election, Democrat Barbara Rosenberg defeated anti-gay Republican Judge Jack Hampton.
But Rosenberg, who’s a lesbian, wasn’t out at the time and didn’t run as an openly LGBT candidate.
Loza, who’s been practicing criminal law in Dallas for the last 20 years, is running for the County Criminal Court No. 5 seat. Incumbent Tom Fuller is retiring. Loza said he expects to face three other Democrats in the March primary, meaning a runoff is likely. In addition to groups like Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, he said he’ll seek an endorsement from the Washington, D.C.-based Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which provides financial backing to LGBT candidates nationwide.
Parker, who’s running for the 116th Civil District Court seat, declined to be interviewed for this story. Incumbent Bruce Priddy isn’t expected to seek re-election, and Parker appears to be the favorite for the Democratic nomination.
If she wins in November, Parker would become the first LGBT African-American elected official in Dallas County.
Loza and Parker are among four known local LGBT candidates in 2010.
They join fellow Democrats Fitzsimmons and Foster, who are each seeking a second four-year term.
While Foster is vulnerable and faces two strong challengers in the primary, Fitzsimmons is extremely popular and said he’s confident he’ll be re-elected.
“I think pretty much everybody knows that the District Clerk’s Office is probably the best-run office in Dallas County government,” Fitzsimmons said. “I think this county is a Democratic County, and I think I’ve proved myself to be an outstanding county administrator, and I think the people will see that.”
Randall Terrell, political director for Equality Texas, said this week he wasn’t aware of any openly LGBT candidates who’ve filed to run in state races in 2010.
Although Texas made headlines recently for electing the nation’s first gay big-city mayor, the state remains one of 20 that lack an out legislator.
Denis Dison, a spokesman for the Victory Fund, said he’s hoping Annise Parker’s victory in Houston last week will inspire more qualified LGBT people to run for office.
“It gives other people permission really to think of themselves as leaders,” Dison said.
The filing period for March primaries ends Jan. 4.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 18, 2009.