Anti-Sam protest fizzles at Cowboys Stadium

Pro-EqualityOf the more than 3.62 million members of the American Decency Association claimed by organizer Jack Burkman that planned to protest the Dallas Cowboys game on Sunday, exactly none showed up.

Supporters, however, did show up with signs that read, “Thank you Cowboys” and “Love beats hate.”

Even the American Decency Association disavowed Burkman. On its website, they wrote, “We are not the group in Texas using the name ‘American Decency’ headed by Jack Burkman that is being targeted as planning a protest against football player Michael Sam in Dallas this Sunday.”

American Decency doesn’t claim to like Sam. After disavowing Burkman, the man who proposed a bill to Congress to ban gay players in the NFL, American Decency claims to support “Biblical, traditional marriage.” You know, where marriage is between a man and as many women and concubines as he can afford, but very often has one special wife.

They complain about the kiss between Sam and his boyfriend — which they put in quotes — and then summarize, “In saying all of this, I make this point: We are not the ones behind the protest, but we also do not condone the lifestyle of Michael Sam.”

So since American Decency is against everything that Michael Sam stands for, but they weren’t behind the threatened protest, they ask that people stop emailing them hate mail.

But let’s end on a better note. Here’s a message from a church that doesn’t preach hate and vitriole:

Pro-Sam

 

 

—  David Taffet

Seventh Circuit strikes down Indiana and Wisconsin marriage bans

Judge Richard Posner

Judge Richard Posner

The losing streak ends at 1 loss.

A day after a Louisiana judge upheld a state marriage ban for the first time since the Windsor decision, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Wisconsin and Indiana, upholding lower-court decisions. Judge Richard Posner wrote the marriage bans are a violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection. The three-judge panel’s decision was unanimous.

The judge involved in yesterday’s decision in Lousiana and the judge who wrote today’s decisions were both Reagan appointees.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, wrote, “Today’s sharp and scathing ruling demolishes the arguments and unsubstantiated claims made by opponents of the freedom to marry, repeated in the outlier decision out of Louisiana yesterday, and affirms what nearly 40 other federal and state courts have found: the denial of the freedom to marry inflicts real harms and is constitutionally indefensible.”

—  David Taffet

DART begins service to DFW Airport

DART mapThe final station on DART’s Orange line now links Dallas to DFW Airport — in a way it doesn’t link Dallas to Love Field. The new DART station is actually inside DFW Airport at Terminal A. Walk from the station to the terminal and once inside security, link to any of the airport’s gates.

DART skirts Love Field and does not go to the airport. A bus takes passengers from Inwood Station to Love Field’s terminal.

While the trip to DFW airport might take longer than driving, riding DART can save quite a bit of money. Terminal parking is $20 per day and long-term parking is $9 per day. A DART trip is $2.50 each way, but parking is free at DART stations. Overnight parking is available at Market Center Station and Inwood Station in Oak Lawn and Hampton Station and Westmoreland Station in Oak Cliff.

From any of the downtown or Oak Lawn stations, take the Orange line. From Oak Cliff, transfer to the Orange line at West End Station. On the Red or Blue lines from the north, transfer to the Orange line anywhere between Mockingbird Station and West End Station. From South Dallas, transfer from the Green line anywhere from Arts District Station to Bachman Station.

Travel time to DFW Airport is 50 minutes from West End Station downtown, 43 minutes from Market Center Station, 41 minutes from Parkland Station and 39 minutes from Inwood Station.

Once the Orange line splits from the Green line at Bachman Station, the train makes five stops in Irving before arriving at the airport.

The Orange line originates in Plano during rush hour, LBJ at other times, and is DART’s longest line. From Downtown Plano Station to DFW Airport is a 90 minute train trip.

DART and Fort Worth’s The T continue to operate the TRE, which stops at CentrePoint Station south of DFW Airport with a shuttle bus transferring passengers to each of the terminals at the airport.

From Denton, train travelers can take the A train from downtown Denton to Trinity Mills Station, transfer to the Green line to Bachman Station and transfer to the Orange line to the airport.

—  David Taffet

Virginia could become marriage-equality state No. 20 this week

John G. Roberts portrait

Chief Justice John Roberts

Virginia could become marriage-equality state No. 20 on Thursday if U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts doesn’t stay the lower court’s ruling.

Roberts set a deadline of 5 p.m. today for the attorneys representing same-sex couples in Virginia’s Bostic v. Schaefer case to respond to the defendants’ request for a stay of the Fourth Circuit’s ruling overturning the state’s marriage ban. If Roberts rejects the stay request, gay and lesbian couples could begin receiving marriage licenses in Virginia starting at 8 a.m. on Thursday morning.

The Bostic plaintiffs case are represented by Ted Olson and David Boies on behalf of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, who are joined by the ACLU and Lambda Legal. Olson and Boies were the attorneys on the winning side of California’s Proposition 8 case.

If put on hold, Virginia will have to wait until the Supreme Court rules on marriage equality. That happened in Utah when the Tenth Circuit refused to stay its decision, but the Supreme Court put the ruling on hold. Both Utah and Virginia have been referred to the Supreme Court for review.

—  David Taffet

LGBT groups join forces for school supplies drive

imageRainbow LULAC has teamed up with Resource Center, Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, DIVA, Texas Latino Gay Pride and Congregation Beth El Binah for a school supplies drive for DISD students at 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 21 at Havana, 4006 Cedar Springs Road.

Dallas City Councilmen Adam Medrano and Philip Kingston and Dallas County Schools Trustee Omar Narvaez will be on hand to collect the supplies. Crayons, 3-ring binders, back packs, 5-subject notebooks, pens, pencils and writing tablets are among the supplies needed.

Supplies can be dropped off that night at Havana or during the business day at Dallas Voice, 4145 Travis, Third Floor through Aug. 22.

—  David Taffet

Flower Reign by Shane Walker opens

Shane Walker and Bill Fulmer opened Flower Reign by Shane Walker, their new flower and gift shop on Cedar Springs Road that was more than a year in the making.

The store is much more than flowers. Hats, jewelry, sunglasses, cards, candles and books are among the other gift items available in the store.

“Anyone can come here and find something — gift, accessories,” Walker said.

The couple plans plenty of parties and other events. As they explained, the cashier counter turns into a fabulous bar.

One wall is filled with art and every two months they plan to bring in a new artist and host a reception.

They hoped to open by Valentine’s Day, but zoning, asbestos, plumbing and electrical problems delayed construction. The corner space had never been zoned retail. No one at the city cared decades ago when Nuvo opened on what was still thought of as a derelict street. Seems the city cares now. Problems with the building resulted in all new electrical, plumbing, walls ceiling and fixtures.

There’s plenty to see. Walker loves hats and has a number of interesting one displayed, including one signed by Michael Jackson.

The result is a fabulously photogenic new addition to the Strip.

—  David Taffet

Police investigating break in at Youth First

Youth First

Youth First after an overnight break in. (Photo courtesy of Resource Center)

A break in occurred at Youth First on Harry Hines Boulevard overnight, which Resource Center personnel discovered this morning.

Resource Center spokesman Rafael McDonnell said they discovered the burglary on Friday morning. He said it took place after hours Thursday night, after all youth had left the building.

The door to Youth First program director Mike Cruz’s door was kicked open. A karaoke machine, stereo system and several gaming systems were taken.

“It looks like when the Grinch stole Christmas,” McDonnell said.

He said when he was over at the facility earlier today, police were still dusting for fingerprints, and they’re still totaling up what was taken. They’re also looking into what will be covered by insurance and how large the deductible is.

“The computers appear intact,” he said.

Anyone with information should contact Det. Laura Martin, LGBT liaison with the Dallas Police Department. Her number is 214-490-0541.

As a side note from Dallas Voice, anyone with Microsoft, a retailer or any or any other company or donor who would like to help Youth First replace what was taken may contact Cameron Hernholm at Resource Center at 214-528-0144.

—  David Taffet

Long time volunteer and activist Chet Flake dies

Flake.Chet

Chet Flake

Longtime Dallas activist and volunteer Chet Flake has died.

Flake is predeceased by his partner Bud Knight. Together, they won Black Tie Dinner’s Kuchling Award in 2011. The award was posthumous for Knight, who died in November 2010.

The couple was together for 45 years. They married in Vancouver in 2005.

Flake volunteered at Resource Center since 2003.

“We miss him already,” Resource Center CEO Cece Cox said. “Chet volunteered here at the front desk at the community center and at Nelson Tebedo. He was on the front lines. So many people who came to the community center and clinic interacted with him. He made them feel comforted and welcome and encouraged the staff and other volunteers.”

In addition, the couple participated in Oak Lawn Community Center’s Buddy Project and was an early Turtle Creek Chorale volunteer. He’s a member of St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church where he volunteered. Flake and Knight raised thousands of dollars for LifeWalk, where they billed themselves as the “oldest walkers.”

Flake was a teacher and later a school administrator in Southern California. He became a consultant in math and science for Xerox Corp. and Ginn Publishing Company.

Memorial service will be held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Aug. 16 at 10 a.m.

—  David Taffet

Utah becomes first state to file for cert

Supreme-Court(5)

U.S. Supreme Court

On Tuesday, Utah became the first state to file a writ of certiorari, commonly referred to as cert, with the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold its marriage ban.

In June, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Utah’s marriage ban unconstitutional, the first such ruling by a federal appeals court.

The state had three choices. It could have accepted the ruling and begun issuing marriage licenses. It could have could have asked for a hearing en banc, meaning a new hearing would have been held at the appeals court level, but this time heard by the entire court, rather than a three-judge panel. Or, as it did, it could have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Two other states that have received appeals court rulings— Oklahoma and Virginia — also may file writs of cert. Four additional states’ cases — Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee — were heard by an appeals court this week and may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court once a ruling is handed down.

The U.S. Supreme Court is in recess and reconvenes the first Monday in October. That’s when they’ll begin to decide which cases to hear during the upcoming session. If a marriage case is heard, a decision isn’t expected until June 2015. Traditionally, the most controversial decisions are left until the last day of the session. The court may also decide not to take a case during the 2014-15 session to allow more lower courts deal with the issue before hearing a case the following session.

—  David Taffet

Eureka Springs celebrates Arkansas marriage equality with a wedding reception

Eureka SpringsMore than 40 restaurants and businesses in Eureka Springs, Ark. contributed to an event described by one local TV station as the first “mass gay wedding reception in the Bible Belt.”

After the Arkansas anti-marriage amendment was declared unconstitutional, about 500 same-sex couples married in the state before a judge placed a stay on the decision.

The reception was held in Eureka Springs to honor those couples that married.

According to another local TV station, the Eureka Springs City Council called on the Arkansas to offer marriage equality.

Michael Walsh put together the event he titled Married to Equality.

“In addition to being the first city in Arkansas where gay people could get married, we’re the first city in Arkansas to throw them a wedding reception,” Walsh told Arkansas Matters.

—  David Taffet