Pack your bags and head for Ole Miss to git hitched later this week. Maybe.

mississippi-flag-e1387132309472“Gay couples could start obtaining marriage licenses in Mississippi as early as this week if the predictions of at least six top legal scholars nationwide hold true,” according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

That’s Jackson, MISSISSIPPI.

Mississippi with the Confederate flag in its state flag. Yes, the state that beats Texas with worse healthcare and a worse education system. Looking at a map, it’s the one two states to the right. Mississippi might beat Texas to marriage equality by 15 states.

And Mississippi was our only real competition in the race to be last in equality. A Mississippi victory positions Texas nicely to be last.

However, the 5th Circuit, one of the most conservative courts in the country, would almost certainly stay a decision to allow marriage equality. Wouldn’t they?

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves heard the case on Monday, Nov. 17. He was appointed by President Barack Obama. No Obama or Clinton appointee has ruled against marriage equality since the Windsor decision in June 2013. A quick decision is expected. Like this week. And they just might sneak in a few marriages before the 5th Circuit stays any ruling.

The 5th Circuit is scheduled to hear appeals of Texas and Louisiana cases on Jan 5. If this ruling is issued quickly, it could be heard then as well.

—  David Taffet

Only 8 precincts in Dallas voted against nondiscrimination

nondiscrimination mapThanks to Andrew Fisher who made this map of how Dallas voters approved a Dallas city charter amendment on nondiscrimination. Only eight precincts voted against the proposal and were located in southwest Dallas at Dallas Baptist University, in Oak Cliff at the junction of I-35 and 67 better known as Christ for the Nations Institute and in a high concentration of trailer parks in southeast Dallas.

That means all precincts in north Dallas, far north Dallas and far far north Dallas, where the concentration of Republican voters are and where most of Governor-elect Greg Abbott’s votes came from, voted for the proposal.

“Feels pretty good to live in Dallas today, guys,” Fisher wrote on his Facebook page.

The proposal places sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in city employment into the Dallas city charter. Both have been protected by city ordinance since 1995. This overwhelming approval contrasts sharply with the protests going on in Houston against a city nondiscrimination ordinance that passed earlier this year.

—  David Taffet

Where’s your fucking polling place?

vote-buttonIf you missed early voting, today’s your last chance to vote. Don’t know where to vote? YourFuckingPollingPlace.com will tell you where to go.

Just enter one simple piece of information. In the red box, enter “Your fucking address here.”

I put in my address and got the answer, “Esperanza Fucking Medrano Elem School, 2221 Lucas Dr., Dallas TX 75219.”

Exactly fucking right.

However, if the information’s wrong or you need to look up another address, you can try again.

“Look for your fucking polling place again? I apparently have nothing better to do than help your ass all fucking day,” the site politely tells you.

Just some helpful and fun advice from your friends at Dallas Voice. And despite what the moron Kimberly Guilfoyle on Fox News advised, get out and fucking vote.

—  David Taffet

Oral arguments set in Texas and Louisiana marriage cases

Attorney General Greg Abbott

Atty. Gen Greg Abbott pandering in front of the 11 Commandments monument at the Texas Capitol. Yes, I know there are 10, but look closely at the monument and you’ll find 11 listed, which makes this among my favorite fake religion monuments.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will hear the Texas and Louisiana marriage equality cases on Jan. 5.

In September, Judge Martin Feldman in Louisiana became the first federal district court judge to uphold a state’s marriage ban since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last year.

Texas’s marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional by San Antonio District Judge Orlando Garcia in DeLeon v. Perry. His decision is stayed pending appeal.

In his appeal, Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott resorted to using the “pedophile, incest and marrying farm animals” defense. Because underpopulation has been a worldwide plague, Abbott uses the responsible procreation defense that’s been thrown out by court after court.

What we found most interesting was his inclusion of a story from Dallas Voice written by Anna Waugh about a case from Fort Worth that is still pending before a trial court. Two Fort Worth men who claim they are heterosexual would like to get married in Texas.

From the brief (pages 23-24):

Not all persons who wish to marry a same-sex partner will have a homosexual orientation. The plaintiffs in McNosky v. Perry, No. 1:13-CV-00631-SS (W.D. Tex.), have publicly admitted that they have a heterosexual orientation and plan to marry each other as a statement of solidarity with same-sex couples. See Anna Waugh, Tarrant County Marriage

 

—  David Taffet

This Week in Marriage Equality

Westboro-horiz

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has a new ally in his fight to stop marriage equality in his state — Westboro Baptist Church

The Department of Justice is a week late, but not one penny short. The department announced it will recognize marriages performed in Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming, bringing the total to 32 states, which includes all marriage-equality states. DOJ announced recognition of seven states last week.

Marriage-equality attorney Ted Olsen said the U.S. Supreme Court is at a point of no return with marriage equality.

“I do not believe that the United States Supreme Court could rule that all of those laws prohibiting marriage are suddenly constitutional after all these individuals have gotten married and their rights have changed,” Olson said. “To have that snatched away, it seems to me, would be inhuman; it would be cruel; and it would be inconsistent with what the Supreme Court has said about these issues in the cases that it has rendered.”

However, officials in some of the new marriage equality states are throwing temper tantrums. Here’s how they’re dealing with it:

Idaho

State Sen. Steve Vicker suggested Idaho stop issuing marriage licenses altogether.

“If we’re not allowed to determine the standards for a marriage license, then maybe we should just not issue them,” Vicker told WorldNetDaily. “Another potential avenue I’m exploring is just eliminating marriage licenses in Idaho.”

Great idea. It’s usually called cutting off your nose despite your face and that’ll last until the first straight couple that planned a wedding in Idaho finds out they can’t get married.

North Carolina

After the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts ordered state court administrators to marry same-sex couples, 28 Republican state senators wrote a letter asking the order be reversed. They claim the order violates religious freedom. Senate leader Phil Berger promised to introduce legislation protecting state officials who wish not to marry or perform weddings for same-sex couples. Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis hired National Organization for Marriage chairman John Eastman to lead a legal team appealing a ruling that overturned the state’s marriage ban earlier this month.

Kansas

Kansas continues to resist coming into compliance with its circuit court and begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Anti-gay Gov. Sam Brownback, who is leading the state’s opposition to marriage equality and is up for reelection next week, has a powerful new ally — Westboro Baptist Church. The God Hates Fags Church filed a motion in to join Brownback in his suit to stop equality.

In her motion to the court, church leader Margie Phelps, who is an attorney, included the entire stories of Noah and the destruction of Sodom. Oddly, the story of Sodom is about the sin of not welcoming the stranger. It isn’t clear from her motion if she understood she was appealing to a U.S. court, not a religious court.

—  David Taffet

Time to destroy another landmark in Dallas

Cabana Hotel

Cabana Motor Hotel as seen from Dallas Voice office

The old Cabana Motor Hotel on Stemmons Freeway just outside of downtown Dallas is on the verge of being sold and redeveloped.

The property was purchased by Dallas County in 1985 and was used as a jail until 2009.

The property has a storied history. In 1962, Jay Sarno, who developed Ceasar’s Palace and Circus Circus in Las Vegas, built the Cabana and the hotel was owned by Doris Day.

In 1964, the Beatles stayed here on their first North American tour. During the 1960s and early ’70s, it was the place for touring rock acts to stay, including Jimi Hendrix, The Dave Clark Five, Led Zeppelin and The Monkees.

Raquel Welch worked here as a cocktail waitress while modeling for Neiman Marcus.

The hotel is not a registered landmark. The county is negotiating with Lincoln Property Company for its sale, according to the Dallas Morning News.

—  David Taffet

Equality comes to the Equality State tomorrow

safe_imageEquality comes to Wyoming, whose nickname is The Equality State, on Tuesday, Oct. 21.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights brought suit against Wyoming to come into line with the rest of the Tenth Circuit after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from Utah and Oklahoma, also in that circuit.

The state announced that it would not appeal, clearing the way for marriages to begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Wyoming becomes marriage equality state No. 32 after AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, ID, IA, IL, IN, ME, MD, MA, MN, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OK, OR, PA, RI, UT, VA, VT, WA, WV and WI, plus DC.

—  David Taffet

Idaho becomes marriage equality state number … umm… lost count

When Idaho’s Atty. Gen. Lawrence Wasden withdrew his request for a stay on Monday, Oct. 13 and Gov. Butch Otter decided on Tuesday to stop challenging the Ninth Circuit’s ruling on marriage equality, that cleared the way for Idaho to become a marriage equality state.

While Texas and Mississippi continue to battle for last place, Idaho became marriage equality state No. 29. Or 32. We lost count.

Marriages started today in Idaho. Facebook friend Cindy Gross from Boise sent these pics and called the day very exciting. Gross works with the Add the Words campaign trying to get sexual orientation and gender identity added to Idaho’s Human Rights Act.

“Couples getting married today didn’t want their pictures taken because they were afraid they’d lose their jobs,” she said.

But Boise was celebrating with city officials performing weddings. She said lots of straight people were out celebrating along with everyone else.

 

—  David Taffet

Abbott wants to reduce out-of-wedlock births so he’s against same-sex marriage

Texas AG Greg AbbottAtty. Gen. Greg Abbott filed a new brief in the Texas marriage case that the Fifth Circuit decided to fast-track. His main argument is that the state doesn’t have to prove same-sex marriage will hurt opposite-sex marriage, just that opposite-sex marriage is better.

“Second, Texas’s marriage laws are rationally related to the State’s interest in reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births. By channeling procreative heterosexual intercourse into marriage, Texas’s marriage laws reduce unplanned out-of-wedlock births and the costs that those births impose on society.”

So how’s that channeling going for you Greg?

Here are some stats from the Centers for Disease Control website for teen births, ages 15 to 19 in 2010, the latest year for which I found a state-by-state comparison.

The overall U.S. birth rate is 34.3 per 1,000 teens ages 15–19 in 2010, the latest year available on the Centers for Disease Control website.

But that number is not equally distributed across the country.

In Massachusetts, the rate is 17.1 per thousand and in Texas it’s 52.2 per thousand. That’s more than three times the teen pregnancy rate in traditional values Texas than in marriage-equality Massachusetts.

Massachusetts, the first marriage-equality state, legalized same-sex marriage in 2003.

In his fight against marriage equality, Abbott said the State is interested in “reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births.” That hasn’t happened.

Let’s compare a few other states to Texas. In civil union state No. 1 that became marriage equality state No. 2, the Vermont teen birth rate is 17.9 per thousand.

Another early marriage equality adopter was Iowa. That’s state’s teen birth rate is 28.6 per thousand, still below the national average.

Comparing Texas to other large states, New York has a rate of 22.6 per thousand and California has a rate of 31.5 per thousand. Both now have marriage equality but didn’t in 2010, the year of these stats.

Texas isn’t in last place, however. Once again, Texans can proudly say “Thank God for Mississippi,” with its 55.0 rate. Arkansas and New Mexico teens are both breeding at faster rates than Texas teens as well.

These are just teen birth rates and marriage equality may have absolutely nothing to do with it. So either Abbott’s argument collapses because marriage equality is irrelevant to unwed teen birth rates or marriage equality actually encourages teens not to get pregnant.

—  David Taffet

LifeWalk 2014

Thousands of people participated in LifeWalk on Oct. 5. The total raised will be announced after money from final fundraisers and corporate matches are collected and should top $500,000. Photos by Erin Moore and Chad Mantooth.

—  David Taffet