BREAKING: ExxonMobil adds sexual orientation, gender identity to EEO policy

exxonmobil.siAfter 15 years of fighting shareholder resolutions, ExxonMobil added sexual orientation and gender identity to its nondiscrimination and anti-harassment policies.

Media relations manager Alan Jeffers confirmed the policy in an email to Dallas Voice:

ExxonMobil’s U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity and Harassment in the Workplace policies have been updated to include sexual orientation and gender identity, which is consistent with ExxonMobil’s long-standing practice of listing enumerated protected classes as defined by federal law.

ExxonMobil’s policies prohibit all forms of discrimination in any company workplace, anywhere in the world.  ExxonMobil supports a work environment that values diversity and inclusion, and has numerous inclusive programs and policies that help make ExxonMobil a great place to work.

The link to the policies are available here.

—  David Taffet

Fired DISD official played role in getting rid of gay investigator

Jeremy-Liebbe

Jeremy Liebbe

A DISD official who resigned after accusations of discrimination was at the center of a controversy last year that ended in a gay DISD police investigator leaving.

Carmen Darville, head of DISD human resources, resigned after the Dallas Morning News obtained instant messages in which she made fun of age, race and religion.

Jeremy Liebbe was an investigator for DISD until he was placed on leave last year for looking into charges that his boss, Tonya Sadler Grayson, lied on her job application. Darville defended Grayson and Liebbe eventually lost his job, even though Grayson had actually lied on her application about having served a year on probation.

—  David Taffet

Sally Kern withdraws anti-gay bill

KernSallyLoRes

Sally Kern

Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern, a Republican, withdrew a bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to LGBT people, according to Tulsa World.

Her bill, “the Business Protection Act,” read:

“No business entity shall be required to provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges related to any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person, group or association.”

She said the bill wouldn’t have done what she intended for it to do, and she’s right. Instead, it would have been declared unconstitutional and, in its ruling, any court would have said the law was based on animus and turned sexual orientation and gender identity into protected classes.

Oklahoma state Sen. Kay Floyd, a Democrat, who is lesbian, said, “This is great news. Your letters, emails, and calls are already making a difference. The sooner we defeat the rest of these divisive and unconstitutional bills, the sooner we can get back to working for everyday Oklahomans.”

Kern submitted two other anti-gay bills so far this session. One prevents taxpayer money and government salaries from licensing or supporting same-sex marriage. The other is called the “Freedom to Obtain Conversion Therapy Act.”

—  David Taffet

Plano mayor addresses anti-gay venom spewed at rally

PlanoPetition

Rally attendees signed a petition to repeal Plano’s nondiscrimination ordinance

About 24 pastors and 100 spectators gathered at a library in Plano today (Jan. 7) to denounce the new Plano equal rights ordinance.

Liberty Institute attorney Jeff Mateer, who explained that his Plano-based group “defends religious liberty,” called the ordinance unconstitutional and said it “threatens the religious liberty of Plano citizens and businesses.”

Opponents have 10 days to collect 3,800 signatures to force the city council to repeal the ordinance or call an election. A pastor from Prestonwood Baptist Church said ministers would be denouncing the ordinance from the pulpit and collecting signatures in church. He claimed that doesn’t violate their non-profit status because they are not supporting a candidate or party. He called the issue bi-partisan.

Dave Welch, an agitator from Houston who heads the Houston Pastors Council, said his group collected more than 50,000 signatures and verified more than 30,000. He didn’t tell the group that fewer than the 17,000 required signatures were actually valid.

“There was no discrimination in Plano and no need for this ordinance,” Welch said to a standing ovation.

Members of Collin County’s delegation to the state House of Representatives pledged to pass a law that would outlaw any LGBT protections by cities.

Pat Gallagher, a Plano city councilman who voted against the ordinance, rose to address the group. He was shouted down because he voted against the proposal for the wrong reason, wanting to delay the vote rather than because he had strong religious views on the issue.

Plano Mayor Henry LaRosiliere spoke to reporters at Plano City Hall about an hour after the library rally.

“It’s fair. It’s legal. It’s constitutional,” LaRosiliere said about the ordinance.

Welch said at his rally that he wanted to debate the ordinance with the mayor.

“The debate is over,” LaRosiliere said. “We respect the rights of all 270,000 citizens.”

The mayor said he will let the petitioning go through its process and have the city secretary verify the signatures. If 3,800 signatures are valid, the council will vote to either repeal the amendment or put it on the ballot.

LaRosiliere stood firm repeating several times the debate about equality was over. He said companies such as Toyota moving to the city had nothing to do with passage of the ordinance, but that Plano respects every one of its citizens.

—  David Taffet

3.5 magnitude earthquake hits and this time it’s personal

earthquake_destruction

Lawn chairs were overturned in the most damaging Irving earthquake to date

An earthquake registering 3.5 magnitude hit Irving at about 3 p.m. today (Jan. 6).

This is the largest earthquake to hit Irving and the largest in the area since a 3.6 magnitude earthquake hit Azle in 2013.

In the Dallas Voice office, the earthquake was felt by people on one end of the office, but not by those in the center of the building.

Executive Editor Arnold Wayne Jones said, “It sounded like a bull came barreling through the office.”

Advertising Director Chad Mantooth said he felt the earth move under his feet. He felt the sky come tumbling down, while social media manager Stephen Mobley mostly just screamed like a little girl.

Others on staff said, “What the frack? The gays caused it.”

—  David Taffet

Progressive responds to one of its agents promoting bigotry in Plano

Plano hatredProgressive Insurance sent a response — really a non-response — to one of their agents promoting hatred in Plano.

Although the Plano nondiscrimination ordinance has religious exemptions that include not only churches, but also nonprofit organizations and just about anyone else who really, really wants to discriminate, extremists have begun a recall campaign.

Plano residents found a flyer on their doors sponsored by a church located in neighboring Wylie. A Progressive insurance agency located in Plano is collecting signatures for the recall petition. Just 3,700 signatures are required to place the ordinance on the ballot. Progressive is one of Human Rights Campaigns large donors and received 100 percent on the Corporate Equality Index.

Over the weekend, Progressive sent a response to my inquiry about whether this represents their values or if they were even aware one of their agents was promoting bigotry. Here’s the answer I received:

“At Progressive, we’re committed to creating a diverse work environment where all of our employees can successfully thrive, and where their uniqueness is celebrated. The views of our more than 35,000 independent agents are their own and do not always reflect the views of Progressive.”

—  David Taffet

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