Time for John Carona to grow a pair

John Carona

The Texas Tribune is the latest to weigh in on Republican State Sen. John Carona’s remarks to Dallas Voice in support of pro-equality legislation, with the video report below by Alana Rocha.

The Tribune focuses on Carona’s comments about marriage and compares them to its poll released yesterday showing that nearly 70 percent of Texans share Carona’s position — supporting some form of legal partnerships for same-sex couples, whether it be civil unions or marriage.

But Carona still isn’t talking, not to us, not to the Dallas Observer and not to the Tribune, about his comments last Monday (and strangely the Dallas Morning News has remained on the sidelines). But the fact is, despite all the reports saying he has, we still don’t truly know whether Carona is backtracking on his comments. All we have is hearsay from the Texas Pastor Council’s Dave Welch — not the most reliable source — but by remaining silent Carona is choosing to allow Welch to speak for him.

So here’s our advice to you, senator: Grow a pair and own your comments that we got on tape, then tell the Pastor Council to take a flying fuck. You told me you were concerned about representing constituents in your conservative district, and you questioned my statement that poll numbers show a majority of Texans support equality. Well, the latest poll shows that 70 percent back relationship recognition for same-sex couples, which based on several previous polls includes a majority of Republicans. These numbers can only be higher in your urban Dallas district than they are statewide. You also told me you were an independent voice who wasn’t afraid to buck the Republican Party line. Now stop kissing Welch’s ass and prove it!

Watch the Tribune’s video report below.

—  John Wright

Houston Area Pastor Council accuses Mayor Parker of violating oath of office

Mayor Annise Parker

Mayor Annise Parker has been quite vocal on the issue of marriage equality lately. Last month she co-chaired the bi-partisan “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry.” This last Valentine’s Day she greeted marriage equality activists in front of city hall, declaring it “Freedom to Marry Day” in Houston (an action that carried no legal weight).

Of Course the Houston Area Pastor Council is riled up about all this talk of “freedom” and “equality.” In a statement released today HAPC characterized Parker’s actions as a “declaration of war on the traditional family.” Former mayoral candidate and HAPC president Dave Welch (who famously once claimed that the solution to the AIDS crisis was to “shoot the queers”) said ““The battle lines are drawn again as [Mayor Parker] proves her contempt for the churches of the city, the traditional family and our state Constitution.”

The statement from HAPC also claims Parker “violated her oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution of the State of Texas” by advocating for the legal recognition of same-sex couples, which is prohibited under the Texas Constitution. HAPC may want to check out the Houston Mayoral Oath of Office before making such accusations, because this is the oath Parker took when she assumed office:

“I, Annise Parker, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the duties of the office of mayor of the city of Houston of the State of Texas, so help me God.”

Absolutely nothing about upholding or defending the Constitution of the State of Texas, just a promise to execute her duties and a prayer for God’s assistance. The city charter says nothing about the mayor having a duty to uphold the Texas Constitution. So, considering that the mayor’s oath was to execute her duties, and the charter doesn’t say that she has a duty to not criticize the state, it’s hard to imagine how advocating for marriage equality would violate her oath of office.

But let’s assume that Parker had sworn to uphold the state constitution. Members of the state legislature and statewide elected officials like the governor do take that oath. If we follow the logic of the HAPC, those individuals would be violating their oaths of office if they publicly advocated changing what the Texas Constitution has to say about marriage. Which is interesting because in 2005 a majority of state legislators and Gov. Rick Perry did just that when they pushed through the constitutional amendment that currently prohibits marriage equality. By the arguments of Dave Welch and the HAPC all of those individuals should be removed from office for violating their oath.

I’m starting to like where this is going…

—  admin

WATCH: Anti-gay pastor accuses Mayor Annise Parker of promoting ‘GLBT agenda for Houston’

If LGBT Houstonians needed another reason to run, not walk to the polls, this video from mayoral candidate and Houston Area Pastor Council Executive Director Dave Welch should provide it:

The video, complete with soundtrack appropriate to the third act of a Lifetime original movie, attempts to suggest that Mayor Annise Parker, who is seeking re-election to a second term, has engaged in an insidious plot to advance the “gay agenda.” As evidence Welch provides the mayor’s executive order clarifying that the city’s employee nondiscrimination policy covers gender expression and identity, an executive order policy prohibiting police or city employees from barring transgender people from use of gender appropriate restrooms, and the appointment of Texas’ first out trans judge, Phyllis Frye (maybe Welch meant to say “trans agenda”). Welch also attacks Parker for the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau efforts to attract LGBT tourists, a tactic we’ve already seen in this race from candidate Fernando Herrera.

Welch’s most damaging evidence, however, is the chaste, almost Victorian, peck on the check that Parker gave her partner of 20-some-odd years, first lady Cathy Hubbard, immediately after being sworn in. The horror of the kiss is repeated twice in the video, both times in slow motion so viewers can understand the true terror of two people in a loving mutual relationship. Welch closes by encouraging viewers to show the video at their churches.

Early voting in the Houston mayoral race started Monday. Early numbers show historically low voter turnout with only 2,557 people voting in person. That’s down almost half from the 4,089 people who voted on the first day of early voting in 2009 when Parker was first elected.

—  admin

WATCH: Nikki Araguz debate with right-winger Dave Welch and trans leader Cristan Williams

This aired on Houston’s Fox affiliate last night. The station also aired the story below about the case, and is conducting a poll on its website (on the lower right side) about whether transgender/transsexual people should be allowed to legally marry. So far, a whopping 88 percent of respondents say YES!

UPDATE: After the jump, I’ve posted a press release about all this issued by the Transgender Foundation of America on Thursday afternoon.

—  John Wright