PIC OF THE DAY: Could this be the iconic new image for gay Dallas?

Above and below are screen grabs from video of the new LED lights on Reunion Tower during a test that was conducted on New Year’s Eve.

As if the tower’s phallic shape combined with the rainbow colors wasn’t gay enough, the new lights were installed by a gay-owned company, Wiedamark Lighting.

Mark Reed-Walkup, co-owner of Wiedamark, told Instant Tea he can’t discuss the project pending an official announcement from Hunt Consolidated Group, which owns the 55-story tower.

For now, check out the video from The Dallas Morning News by going here.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: DMN prints 1st gay weddings; active-duty troops march at San Diego Pride

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. The Dallas Morning News published its first-ever same-sex wedding announcements on Sunday. Two gay couples — Mark Reed and Dante Walkup (right), and James Kreidel and Mark Pierson — had announcements appear under Weddings in Sunday’s Celebrations section of The DMN (Page 11E). Reed and Walkup, who convinced the newspaper to publish same-sex weddings after filing a discrimination complaint with the city, were married in Washington, D.C., last year. Kreidel and Pierson were married in Massachusetts last year. Congrats to both couples.

2. In another head-spinning twist over “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a federal appeals court late Friday temporarily reinstated the policy but ordered the government not to use it to investigate, penalize or discharge anyone. On July 6, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco lifted its stay of a district judge’s ruling halting enforcement of DADT. But last week the Department of Justice asked the court to reimpose the stay, saying its removal could interfere with the orderly legislative repeal of the ban on open service. The appeals court on Friday agreed to reimpose the stay but blocked the Pentagon from discharging anyone under the policy. The military can, however, refuse to accept applications from openly gay recruits. The court gave the DOJ until today to submit additional arguments as to why the stay should remain in place.

3. As the legal maneuvering over DADT repeal continues, a contingent of active-duty military servicemembers marched in a gay Pride parade Saturday for what is believed to be the first time in U.S. history. About 200 active-duty troops, wearing T-shirts representing every service branch, marched in San Diego’s Pride parade. Watch video below.

—  John Wright

The Dallas Morning News’ 1st same-sex wedding announcements have been delayed 1 week

For those eagerly waiting to see the first-ever same-sex wedding announcements in The Dallas Morning News, you’ll have to wait another week.

Mark Reed-Walkup and Dante Walkup, the gay couple that recently convinced The DMN to run their wedding announcement as, well, an actual wedding announcement, reports that publication of the ad has been delayed until Sunday, July 17.

Last week we reported the Walkups’ ad would run Sunday, July 10, but Reed-Walkup said this week’s section had already gone to the printer by the time they booked the ad.

Reed-Walkup said at least one other same-sex couple will also have a wedding announcement in the Sunday, July 17 edition.

Above is a sneak preview (click to enlarge) in the form of the Walkups’ receipt for the ad. As you can see, the “amount due” indicates that “the right thing to do” can also be lucrative, but hey, at least this time the receipt is legitimate.

—  John Wright

Dallas Morning News confirms that it will publish same-sex marriages under Weddings

Mark Reed Walkup, left, and Dante Walkup

Dallas Morning News Publisher James M. Moroney III confirmed today that the newspaper will begin publishing same-sex marriage announcements under Weddings. The DMN has published same-sex marriage announcements for several years, under a separate header that’s currently called Commitments. But until now the newspaper has refused to publish the announcements, which are paid advertisements, under Weddings.

Mark Reed-Walkup and Dante Walkup of Irving, who were legally married in Washington, D.C., last year, filed a discrimination complaint against The DMN in December, alleging that the policy violates a Dallas city ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in public accommodations. The DMN initially indicated through its attorneys that it planned to defend the policy, based partly on Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage. But in a meeting with the couple on Thursday, Moroney and DMN Editor Bob Mong informed them of the policy change.

Moroney told Instant Tea today that the newspaper made the change, which takes effect immediately, because it was “the right thing to do,” adding that he isn’t worried about backlash from conservative readers.

“When you do the right thing, you just do the right thing,” Moroney said. “I believe that publishing same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legally allowed, that publishing those under the Weddings heading in our newspaper, is the right thing to do.”

The Walkups said their marriage announcement will appear in the DMN on Sunday, July 10.

“It was a tremendous relief,” Reed-Walkup said of Thursday’s news. “It’s been a very long, stressful process.”

The couple said they felt the issue was important because the announcements will allow young people to see that same-sex marriage is possible.

“We are legally married and we have the right to let everybody know about it, just like everybody else,” Dante Walkup said.

Although the couple prevailed, Reed-Walkup criticized the city of Dallas for its handling of the discrimination complaint. He said an investigator wasn’t assigned to the case until April, and city officials failed to communicate with the couple about the status of the complaint.

Reed-Walkup eventually set up meetings with Moroney and Mong on his own.

“Now I understand why 53 complaints have been filed and not a single one of them has ever been prosecuted,” Reed-Walkup said. “It’s broken and it needs fixed.”

Read a statement from the couple below.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Dallas Morning News reportedly agrees to publish same-sex weddings

Thomas-Mark-Reed-and-Dante-Karl-Walkup
Mark Reed-Walkup and Dante Walkup

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Mark Reed-Walkup, a local GetEQUAL board member who filed a discrimination complaint against The Dallas Morning News for refusing to publish his paid same-sex wedding announcement, reports that the newspaper has agreed to change its policy and he will be dropping the case. “We met with the CEO and Editor today of the Dallas Morning News and they are changing their policy to allow same-gender wedding announcements be placed in their wedding section,” Reed-Walkup wrote Thursday evening. “We are dropping our lawsuit tomorrow. OH F’ING HAPPY DAY! Thank you Dallas Morning News for doing the right thing today!” Stay tuned to Instant Tea for more.

2. Jesse Garcia, president of Dallas’ gay LULAC chapter and former president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, says he is moving to Washington, D.C., to accept a position with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Children, Youth and Families. Stay tuned for more on this as well.

3. Thanks to KPRC in Houston, which also broke the original story, we now know what Southwest Airlines pilot Capt. James Fritzen Taylor looks like. Sort of. At left is a grainy, black-and-white photo of the Argyle man whose anti-gay, mysoginistic rant over an stuck cockpit microphone in March has created a PR nightmare for the Dallas-based airline over the last 10 days. Taylor has apologized for the rant, and a flight attendants’ union has accepted his apology. No word on whether Taylor’s wife has forgiven him, but any gay, granny or grande will tell you that if this guy really wants to get laid, he needs to post some better photos of himself online.

—  John Wright

Groom-to-be Mark Reed of Dallas named to GetEQUAL’s new Board of Directors

Mark Reed, far right, is shown chained to the White House fence prior to his arrest in May. Reed, of Dallas, has been named to GetEQUAL’s Board of Directors.

Dallas activist Mark Reed has been named to the nine-member Board of Directors for GetEQUAL, the national LGBT direct action group.

Reed, who co-owns a lighting company on Oak Lawn Avenue with his partner, Dante Walkup, served on the executive steering committee for last year’s National Equality March. Since then, he’s participated in several GetEQUAL actions. In May Reed was arrested for chaining himself to the White House fence in protest of “don’t ask don’t tell.”

“I accepted a board member position with GetEQUAL because I strongly believe in their mission to inspire our community to rise up and demand full equality and social justice,” Reed told Instant Tea on Wednesday. “For too long we have been asked to be patient for our rights and that strategy has clearly not worked. As Cleve Jones has stated, ‘If we want to be equal, we have to act like we are.’ For me, that means refusing to be treated like a second-class citizen and holding leaders accountable who don’t believe the time is right for our freedom.

“I am very impressed with the talent of people recruited to join the provisional board and am looking forward to working with them to provide leadership and guidance to GetEQUAL. This position is for a six-month period and a decision to remain with the board will be determined at the end of my term.”

According to Reed’s bio on the GetEQUAL website, he and Walkup, who’ve been together for 1o years, plan to marry on Oct. 10, 2010.

—  John Wright

QL's Wilkinson, Vanderslice get in Mark Reed's face during last night's rally on Cedar Springs

I’ll have more on last night’s rally on Cedar Springs in tomorrow’s Voice, but for now I wanted to share this video of Queer LiberAction’s Blake Wilkinson and Rick Vanderslice confronting National Equality March organizer Mark Reed and his partner, Dante Walkup, during the rally. Wilkinson is apparently still smarting about Reed’s decision to cancel a plane ticket he’d given Wilkinson to attend the march over comments criticizing the event that were posted on QL’s Web site. During the confrontation, Wilkinson and Vanderslice get in Reed’s face and call him  a “piece of shit”  and a “slimy motherfucker.” Reed responds by calling Wilkinson “a fuckin’ liar.” I was paying attention to the rally and missed the whole thing, but Laura McFerrin captured it all on video and passed it along this morning. It’s definitely worth three minutes of your time.

—  John Wright