“Defining Marriage: A Debate!” at U of H tomorrow

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

One day we will get to the point where an University inviting guests to debate marriage equality will be greeted with the same scorn that an on-campus debate on women’s suffrage or whether or not African-Americans are 3/5 of a person would engender, but that day is not today. Just in time for the expected U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruling on Prop. 8  tomorrow, Feb. 7, the Federalist Society and Outlaw at the University of Houston present “Defining Marriage: A Debate!” at noon in the Bates Law Building room 109.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute, a project of the National Organization for Marriage, will be on hand to defend the continued prohibition against marriage equality. Mitchell Katine, who served as local counsel in Lawrence v. Texas (the Supreme Court case declaring Texas’ law against “homosexual conduct” unconstitutional) will defend marriage as a civil right, constitutionally guaranteed by equal protection under the law.

As a bonus the first 70 attendees to arrive will receive a free Chick-Fil-A sandwich and waffle fries, because we like our civil rights debated with a side of irony.

After the jump get a sneak peak at the kind of keen logical arguments to be expected from Dr. Morse:

—  admin

The good, the bad & the ‘A-List’

These arts, cultural & sports stories defined gay Dallas in 2011

FASHIONS AND FORWARD  |  The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

FASHIONS AND FORWARD | The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

A lot of eyes were focused on Dallas nationally in 2011 — for good and bad — but much of what made the city a fun place last year has specific queer appeal. CULTURE The rise of the reality TV star. 2011 was the year Dallas made a big splash across everyone’s television sets — and it had nothing to do with who shot J.R. (although that’s pending). From the culinary to the conniving, queer Dallasites were big on the small screen. On the positive side were generally good portrayals of gay Texans. Leslie Ezelle almost made it all the way in The Next Design Star, while The Cake Guys’ Chad Fitzgerald is still in contention on TLC’s The Next Great Baker. Lewisville’s Ben Starr was a standout on MasterChef. On the web, Andy Stark, Debbie Forth and Brent Paxton made strides with Internet shows Bear It All, LezBeProud and The Dallas Life,respectively.

‘A’ to Z  |  ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

‘A’ to Z | ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

There were downsides, though. Drew Ginsburg served as the token gay on Bravo’s teeth-clenching Most Eligible: Dallas, and the women on Big Rich Texas seemed a bit clichéd. But none were more polarizing than the cast of Logo’s The A-List: Dallas. Whether people loved or hated it, the six 20somethings (five gays, one girl) reflected stereotypes that made people cringe. Gaultier makes Dallas his runway. The Dallas Museum of Art scored a coup, thanks to couture. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk not only featured the work of the famed designer, but was presented the designs in an innovative manner. Nothing about it was stuffy. Seeing his iconic designs in person is almost a religious experience — especially when its Madonna’s cone bra. Gaultier reminded us that art is more than paintings on a wall. (A close runner-up: The Caravaggio exhibit in Fort Worth.) The Return of Razzle Dazzle. ­­There was speculation whether Razzle Dazzle could actually renew itself after a near-decade lull, but the five-day spectacular was a hallmark during National Pride Month in June, organized by the Cedar Springs Merchant Association. The event started slowly with the wine walk but ramped up to the main event street party headlined by rapper Cazwell. Folding in the MetroBall with Deborah Cox, the dazzle had returned with high-profile entertainment and more than 10,000 in attendance on the final night. A Gathering pulled it together. TITAS executive director Charles Santos took on the daunting task of producing A Gathering, a collective of area performance arts companies, commemorating 30 years of AIDS. Groups such as the Dallas Opera, Turtle Creek Chorale and Dallas Theater Center donated their time for this one-of-a-kind show with all proceeds benefiting Dallas’ leading AIDS services organizations. And it was worth it. A stirring night of song, dance and art culminated in an approximate 1,000 in attendance and $60,000 raised for local charities. Bravo, indeed. The Bronx closed after 35 years. Cedar Springs isn’t short on its institutions, but when it lost The Bronx, the gayborhood felt a real loss. For more than three decades, the restaurant was home to many Sunday brunches and date nights in the community. We were introduced to Stephan Pyles there, and ultimately, we just always figured on it being there as part of the fabric of the Strip. A sister company to the neighboring Warwick Melrose bought the property with rumors of expansion. But as yet, the restaurant stands steadfast in its place as a reminder of all those memories that happened within its walls and on its plates.  The Omni changed the Dallas skyline. In November, The Omni Dallas hotel opened the doors to its 23-story structure and waited to fill it’s 1,000 rooms to Dallas visitors and staycationers. Connected to the Dallas Convention Center, the ultra-modern hotel is expected to increase the city’s convention business which has the Dallas Visitors and Conventions Bureau salivating — as they should. The hotel brought modern flair to a booming Downtown and inside was no different. With quality eateries and a healthy collection of art, including some by gay artists Cathey Miller and Ted Kincaid, the Omni quickly became a go-to spot for those even from Dallas. SPORTS The Super Bowl came to town. Although seeing the Cowboys make Super Bowl XLV would have been nice for locals, the event itself caused a major stir, both good and bad. Ticketing issues caused a commotion with some disgruntled buyers and Jerry Jones got a bad rap for some disorganization surrounding the game. But the world’s eyes were on North Texas as not only the game was of a galactic measure, but the celebs were too. From Kardashians to Ke$ha to Kevin Costner, parties and concerts flooded the city and the streets. The gays even got in on the action. Despite crummy weather, the Super Street Party was billed as the “world’s first ever gay Super Bowl party.” The ice and snow had cleared out and the gays came out, (and went back in to the warmer clubs) to get their football on. The XLV Party at the Cotton Bowl included a misguided gay night with acts such as Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell that was ultimately canceled. The Mavericks won big. The Mavs are like the boyfriend you can’t let go of because you see how much potential there is despite his shortcomings. After making the playoffs with some just-misses, the team pulled through to win against championship rivals, Miami Heat, who beat them in 2006. In June, the team cooled the Heat in six games, taking home its first NBA Championship, with Dirk Nowitzki appropriately being named MVP. The Rangers gave us faith. Pro sports ruled big in these parts. The Mavericks got us in the mood for championships and the Texas Rangers almost pulled off a victory in the World Series. With a strong and consistent showing for the season, the Rangers went on to defend their AL West Division pennant. Hopes were high as they handily defeated the Detroit Tigers in game six, but lost the in the seventh game. Although it was a crushing loss, the Texas Rangers proved why we need to stand by our men.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Let’s Hear A Homosexual Executive At Target Defend The Company’s Reputation With The Gays

Daniel Duty is the Director of Enterprise Strategy at Target. In 1992, Duty was appointed by Target's CEO as a co-sponsor of the company's LGBT business council. Duty provides an insider's perspective on being gay at Target and how the company overcame public and media backlash for supporting a candidate that opposed gay rights. Here, he discusses the clusterfuck that is Target's relationship with the LGBT community after it donated money in a failed attempt to elect proud bigot Tom Emmer governor of Minnesota.

What is it like to be gay at Target? What is the general attitude towards LGBT people?

Duty: It's funny that you ask that question. I couldn't imagine working anywhere else as a gay person. I've had a fantastic career here for the last 10 years. I started many, many pay grades below where I am today. Target has been nothing but supportive of me and my career. As an out gay man who has been advocating very intentionally both inside and outside the company for inclusiveness, the only things that I've gotten back from Target are praise, reward, and support. And you could hear that story from people across this company, because I talk to them all the time.

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

—  David Taffet

FLASHBACK… Newsweek says Obama doesn’t have to defend unjust laws

Newsweek was writing about the administration’s defense of DADT, but the arguments from various legal scholars are general, and apply to the defense of DOMA as well. It’s worth a re-read for anyone asking whether the administration HAS to defend bigoted laws.

There are two different arguments for why Obama could choose not to enforce the law. The first one: he could say it was unconstitutional.

Obama’s other option: simply using his executive power to decide how the laws will be, or won’t be, executed. So Obama could simply order the military to stop applying the law, or to use it much more narrowly and infrequently. “There are a lot of laws on the books he doesn’t rigorously enforce,” notes Geoffrey Corn, a military law expert who teaches at South Texas College of Law. “The courts have recognized that while Congress has full authority to pass laws, the president has authority over when to enforce laws,” says Turley. Many criminal statutes, for example, are often unenforced and prosecutors have a lot of discretion on when to bring charges and what sentence to seek.

Some experts wonder why the administration even chose to defend the law in the first place. Turley maintains that they didn’t have to: “The president has a duty to separate his administration from an unconstitutional statute. If a statute required racial discrimination, would the president seriously be arguing that he and his administration would have to defend the statute all the way to the Supreme Court?” Many liberals feel betrayed by a president who they see as having chosen to enforce and defend a discriminatory law.

As Joe has noted before, the White House outright refuses to answer the question of whether President Obama believes DADT and DOMA are constitutional. More White House obfuscation here.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

White House’s ‘duty to defend the law’ argument comes crashing down

Even the National Law Journal is now beating up on the Obama administration, and saying that the White House’s talking point about having no choice but to defend DADT in court is utter bull. I hope someone sends all of these articles to Valerie Jarrett so she can see why everyone is eviscerating her for alleging, repeatedly, that DOJ simply must defend all laws. It’s flat out untrue, as we’ve been saying for well over a year.  Unfortunately, this article is behind a firewall, but the summary tells you all you need to know.

DUTY TO DEFEND?:
The Obama administration opposes “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but it’s still poised to defend the law all the way to the Supreme Court. Justice Department officials say they are duty-bound to defend an act of Congress. Yet history shows that this argument doesn’t always apply. During the last six years, according to records maintained by the Senate, the Bush and Obama administrations told Congress 13 times that they were not defending a federal law in court.

And a reader sent me the article.  Here’s a small excerpt:

In 1992, back when Congress could occasionally agree on something, there was bipartisan anger over a beverage called Crazy Horse Malt Liquor because it insulted the memory of a Native American chief who happened to frown on alcohol.

Congress quickly passed a law barring federal approval of any beer label that displayed the words “Crazy Horse.” The brewer promptly sued, and not surprisingly a federal judge found the law unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

When the question of whether to appeal the ruling in Hornell Brewing Co. v. Brady arose, then-Solicitor General Drew Days III decided it would be futile; the law was beyond rescue. “Congress seemed to accept the decision not to go forward,” Days wrote later.

So much for the vaunted governmental “duty to defend” acts of Congress, which has been invoked often in recent weeks in connection with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law barring gays from the military — a law that the Obama administration opposes but still is poised to defend. In cases much bigger than Crazy Horse — think Buckley v. Valeo and INS v. Chadha — SGs have been throwing provisions of federal laws under the bus for decades. And Senate records show that, 13 times in the past six years, during both the Bush and Obama administrations, the Justice Department has told Congress it is not defending an act of Congress.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Valerie ‘Lifestyle Choice’ Jarrett falsely claims DOJ required to defend all laws; says critics don’t ‘actually understand’ process

Senior  Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett also appears to take a swipe at those of you aren’t happy with the President’s less-than-fierce advocacy on this issue. Apparently, you just don’t understand the way things work.  (Oh trust me, I think we’re beginning to.)  From Igor Volsky in The Wonk Room.

JARRETT: Until Congress repeals it, the Justice Department is doing what it is required to do, and that is to defend the laws of the land. But I want to be very clear, the President thinks that it is time for the policy to end and that is what he intends to ask Congress to do.

You know what, c. Believe me, we wish that it were another way because the President has been so clear. And I think there are many members of the gay community who actually understand this, and who are working with us to try to put pressure on Congress to repeal it. It’s clear that vast majority of American people think that it should not be the law. And we are determined to have Congress revoke it. But we have to go through that orderly process.

I think it’s time someone got Valerie Jarrett a new set of misinformation talking points, because the current ones have already been debunked, embarrassingly so.

No, Valerie, DOJ is not required to defend, or appeal, or enforce every law.  That’s a lie.  Newsweek did the best summation of the options the President has here, but to quote from their story, “Most experts in constitutional and military law say [President Obama] has other options” than simply appealing, defending and enforcing the law.

Don’t believe me?  How about Ted Olsen, George W. Bush’s solicitor general:

As Ted Olson — former Solicitor General under President George W. Bush — explains, “it happens every once in awhile at the federal level when the solicitor general, on behalf of the U.S., will confess error or decline to defend a law.”

“I don’t know what is going through the [Obama] administration’s thought process on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” Olson said. “It would be appropriate for them to say ‘the law has been deemed unconstitutional, we are not going to seek further review of that.’”

Guess you’re wrong, Valerie.

Not to mention, if Valerie Jarrett is so sure that “the Justice Department is required to defend the law of the land,” then why has the Obama administration refused to enforce lots of other laws since they came into office?  We’ve enumerated them before.  Let me share with you a bit of that post:

A) Last October the Obama administration outright ignored federal law regarding marijuana because it was at odd’s with the administration’s policy preferences with regards to medical marijuana.

B) Then there is President Obama’s use of signing statements to simply ignore laws passed by Congress.

C) Then there’s this from the NYT just two months ago:

T]he approach will make it harder to keep track of which statutes the White House believes it can disregard….

[T]he administration will consider itself free to disregard new laws it considers unconstitutional….

Mr. Obama nevertheless challenged dozens of provisions early last year. The last time was in June, when his claim that he could disobey a new law requiring officials to push the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to adopt certain policies angered Congress….

Last year the Obama administration disregarded a statute that forbid State Department officials to attend United Nations meetings led by nations deemed state sponsors of terrorism. Congress has included that restriction in several recent bills.

D) Then there was the time that the Obama administration refused to enforce immigration laws because they didn’t comport with the administration’s policy preferences.

Need I go on?

I’d like to think that a senior White House official, who just spoke at the HRC dinner, isn’t lying to our community about the state of play with regards to DOJ and the law.  I’d like to think that she’s simply seriously ignorant of how all of this works.  But this isn’t the first time the Obama administration has tried to mislead the gay community on this issue.  They do it a lot.  And it’s always the same false talking points about how they have no other option than to defend the law.

And it’s a lie.

Finally, with all due respect to Valerie Jarrett, why is the White House using someone who thinks being gay is a “lifestyle choice” to be their top spokesperson on gay issues?  Regardless of whether it was a simple slip of the tongue for Jarrett’s to use the phrase to recently describe a now-dead gay bullying victim, her use of the anachronistic and supremely offensive language shows that she is not intimately familiar with our community and our issues.  No gay spokesperson would use that phrase, ever.  But it seems there aren’t any senior White House advisers who are openly gay (or Cabinet secretaries, or Supreme Court nominees), and the only gay spokespeople they have are unfortunately relatively low level.  So we have to rely – the President has to rely when getting advice on our issues – on someone who thinks the state of play in the gay community is offensive religious right talking points from twenty years ago.

The Obama administration has done this much damage to the gay community’s decades-long relationship with the Democrat party in only 19 months.  Imagine how bad it’s going to be at the end of four years.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Rather fey GOP Rep. wants to defend DOMA in court

Yet another example of how the President is getting zero credit for acting like a Republican. He’s still basically being accused of being a homo-loving left-wing pinko, regardless of how badly he’s acting on our issues. Why not just do the right thing, do what he promised to do (on our and so many other issues), and stop the charade of pretending he’s being bipartisan. Obama’s not being bipartisan, he’s being played.

Keen News Service:

Claiming that the Obama Department of Justice is not doing enough to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has asked a federal court for permission to serve as an intervenor-defendant in two cases expected to come before the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

In its motions to intervene October 5, the ADF claims the Department of Justice is mounting “no defense at all” for DOMA. The lawsuits in question challenge only DOMA Section 3 –the section that limits the interpretation of “marriage” for any federal purpose to heterosexual couples.

“We should be strengthening and protecting marriage, not subjecting it to a hostile takeover through the courts,” said Dale Schowengerdt, legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, in a press release. “If the Obama administration won’t defend marriage, we are ready and willing to do so.”




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Why Did Michigan AG Mike Cox Rabidly Defend Andrew Shirvell? Because They’re Political Buddies

Why did it take so long for Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox to dismiss assistant attorney Andrew Shirvell? Because the two are politically and financially intertwined. "Intertwined" in a way the totally heterosexual Shirvell would never be caught with another dude. Because he's straight. And hates gays!

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

—  John Wright

Wash. Post editor won’t defend or explain endorsement of NOM-backed candidate

The Washington Post’s endorsement of NOM-backed candidate Delano Hunter has caused a firestorm of criticism. We blasted it here. Over the weekend, Kerry Eleveld took a whack at it, too, stating “When The Washington Post endorsed Delano Hunter for D.C. City Council it endorsed homophobia by justifying his stance against marriage equality.”

The author of the Post editorial, Joanne Armao, tried to downplay Hunter’s homophobia despite his deep ties to one of the nation’s leading homophobic organizations. NOM exists to be homophobic. Jeremy Hooper posted the mailer sent by NOM in support of Hunter. It’s homophobic.

Michelangelo Signorile invited Armao to be a guest on his show today to discuss the editorial. She refused. Armao told Signorile’s executive producer David Guggenheim that the editorial speaks for itself and she wouldn’t be in a position to elaborate or discuss how much (if anything) the Post knew about NOM’s relationship with Delano Hunter.

Okay, then.

Ms. Armao would only have to do a search of her own paper to know about NOM’s relationship with Hunter. It’s been reported here (that one actually includes the homophobic mailer from NOM) and here.

Well, Ms. Armao has quite a perch at the Washington Post’s editorial page. She shouldn’t tell Washingtonians that marriage equality doesn’t matter. And, she shouldn’t be telling us that Hunter isn’t a homophobe when his campaign’s existence is so deeply tied to NOM.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Won’t Have to Put Down Cigar to Defend Prop 8 In Court

And I was soo looking forward to another round of appeals and counter-motions: "A California court has refused to order Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown to appeal a ruling that overturned the state's gay marriage ban. The 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento on Wednesday denied a conservative legal group's request to force the officials to defend Proposition 8 in court. The court did not give a reason why it turned down the request by the Pacific Justice Institute." Things would be so much easier if Meg Whitman was governor. [AP]


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Queerty

—  John Wright