Federal Marriage Amendment reintroduced with strong Texas support

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Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Plano, one of four Dallas congressmen supporting the anti-gay marriage amendment.

UPDATE: Congressman Tom Latham’s office called this morning to say his name never should have been on the bill. Placing his name on the bill was a staff member’s mistake and it was withdrawn as soon as the mistake was discovered.

ORIGINAL POST: Since part of the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down, the Federal Marriage Amendment has re-emerged but appears to have little chance of passage at this time.

In the House of Representatives, one Democrat and 38 Republicans, including eight from Texas, have co-sponsored a House Joint Resolution proposing an amendment that would enshrine marriage in the Constitution as between one man and one woman.

Texas has twice as many co-sponsors of the bill as the next closest state, North Carolina, with four. The Democratic co-sponsor is Nick Rahall of West Virginia.

Four of the Texas Republicans are from the Dallas area — Rep. Sam Johnson of Plano, Rep. Joe Barton of Arlington, Rep. Kenny Marchant of Coppell and Rep. Ralph Hall of Rockwall.

Other Texas representatives co-sponsoring the resolution are Rep. Steve Stockman, Rep. John Carter and perennial crackpot Rep. Louie Gohmert.

Since its introduction, the resolution has already lost one co-sponsor, Tom Latham, R-Iowa,, but picked up Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, this week. Latham’s state has marriage equality.

The only current co-sponsor from a state with same-sex marriage is Rep. Andy Harris, R-Maryland.

No women co-sponsored the resolution. Only one co-sponsor is under 40 and all are white men.

Each house of Congress would have to pass the proposed amendment by a two-thirds vote before going to state legislatures where it would have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states. More than a quarter of the states have marriage equality.

FMA was first proposed in 2002 and last failed in the House of Representative in 2006.

—  David Taffet

Gay discrimination claim against Exxon advances; Resource Center sends letter

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Tico Almeida

The Illinois Department of Human Rights has agreed to investigate a discrimination claim against ExxonMobil brought by the group Freedom to Work.

The Illinois department said the investigation would take up to a year.

Tico Almeida, founder of Freedom to Work, said his group brought the charges in Illinois because that state has some of the country’s strongest protections based on sexual orientation.

In May, the organization sent similar resumes to ExxonMobil for an open position. The difference was that one applicant was lesbian while the other was straight and slightly less qualified. The company contacted the straight woman and held the job open for her even when she didn’t respond. The more qualified lesbian candidate was never contacted.

Locally, Cece Cox, CEO of Resource Center Dallas, sent a letter this week to two ExxonMobil executives — Malcolm Farrant, vice president of human resources, and David Rosenthal, vice president of investor relations and board secretary. Last year, she met with them along with LGBT executives from Dallas-area Fortune 500 companies to discuss implementing nondiscrimination policies.

“As most of my subsequent inquiries to you have gone unanswered, I am writing today to see where things stand on the matters that were discussed,” she wrote.

She references the recent ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act and bipartisan Senate committee approval of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act this week.

Cox’s full letter is below:

—  David Taffet

DFW Federal Club hosts Town Hall discussion on DOMA, Prop 8 rulings

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The DFW Federal Club is hosting a HRC Town Hall event tomorrow evening that will discuss the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings.

HRC Legal Director Brian Moulton will explain the rulings, answer questions, and explain what LGBT advocates should expect and do next in the marriage equality movement.

An individual has offered to match federal club pledges made at the event up to $25,000.

The event is Friday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Tower Club on the 48th floor of Thanksgiving Tower, 1601 Elm St. RSVP is required.

For more information or to RSVP, go here.

—  Anna Waugh

Rep. Matt Krause acknowledges gay marriage won’t ruin ‘traditional family’

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Fort Worth Republican state Rep. Matt Krause has stated before that he’s against same-sex marriage, but he opined over the holiday weekend that gays marrying won’t ruin opposite-sex marriages.

“I’ve said this before, but with last week’s DOMA ruling, I think it bears repeating. The heterosexual community has done more to undermine the traditional family than same-sex marriage ever could,” Krause posted on his Facebook page. “High divorce rates, rampant infidelity, and the astronomical numbers of children being born into homes without fathers should cause us much concern. While it is important to be active and engaged on all fronts that seek to undermine the family, we fool ourselves if we think same-sex marriage is the one thing that could destroy the nuclear family. Agree or disagree?”

Krause, who’s worked for the anti-gay Liberty Counsel, authored HB 360 earlier this year. In its initial form, the bill would have allowed university clubs to discriminate based on race, gender and sexual orientation. Krause later reworded the measure and offered it as an amendment to another bill, but it was cut from the final version.

Many who’ve commented on Krause’s Facebook post agreed with him, while some pointed out that he shouldn’t be against same-sex marriage.

—  Anna Waugh

You can still catch ‘The Out List’

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Talk about good timing: After a few preview screenings in theaters (including in Dallas), HBO’s documentary The Out List debuted last Thursday, just as the whole country was talking about the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions. The film makes a nice coda to those lawsuits, as well as Pride month, and it resonates especially in Dallas because one of the subjects is Dallas sheriff Lupe Valdez.

Valdez is the fourth of the celebrities interviewed, and the second (immediately following screenwriter Dustin Lance Black) from San Antonio. Valdez is also the first of the interviewees to openly discuss her faith and how it affected her coming out, as well as how her ethnicity set her apart as “other.” It’s an interesting and diverse lineup, and if you missed it, you can see it this week again. It airs on HBO Wednesday, July 3, at 3:30 p.m. (and again three hours later on HBO West, as well as on HBO Latino), then on Friday, July 5 at 1:30 p.m.

My only real criticism is: Why is it that on the poster, interviewee Larry Kramer, above left, looks like Emperor Palpatine?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

DVtv: Dallas Day of Decision rally

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In this week’s issue, we explain the effect of the U.S. Supreme Court rulings on Texans.

But on Wednesday night, after the news had sunk in, LGBT Dallasites and people around the nation celebrated with rallies.

Cars honked and the crowd swelled Wednesday, and even when a woman took the mike and went on an anti-LGBT rant, the audience carried on in celebration of the historic decisions.

Watch our video below.

—  Anna Waugh

WATCH: RuPaul on DOMA, with ‘Love!’

America’s most famous drag queen, known for throwing her share of shade, gets serious for a minute, gathering the cast and crew of the upcoming Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race to make a statement about the repeal of DOMA. Everybody say “Love!”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

PHOTOS: About 500 attend Day of Decision rally on Cedar Springs

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By the time Dallas’ Day of Decision rally began at 7 p.m. at the Legacy of Love Monument, more than 300 people had gathered. As the crowd grew to close to 500, police closed a lane of Oak Lawn Avenue and two lanes of Cedar Springs Road.

GetEQUAL TX organizer Daniel Cates began the rally with chants of, “Right here, right now, I deserve full equality!”

Before the scheduled speakers, people from the crowd spoke in an open-megaphone session. One who claimed to be an “ex-lesbian” was countered with a chant of “No more hate” until the mic was taken from her and she left the steps of the monument.

Some of the speakers discussed the implications of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decisions. Lambda Legal’s Ken Upton called the DOMA ruling a broad decision. He said it would take awhile to sort out the full implications.

“The ruling benefits the whole LGBT spectrum,” trans activist Oliver Blumer said. “It breaks down barriers.”

—  David Taffet

Out TX officials praise Supreme Court rulings, look ahead

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Annise Parker

Local and state officials and agencies applauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings Wednesday in striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and allowing a pathway for marriage equality to return to California.

In two 5-4 decisions, Section 3 of DOMA was ruled unconstitutional and the federal government will have to recognize legally married same-sex couples. But Section 2 that addresses states recognizing same-sex marriages, was not up for consideration and the high court dismissed the Proposition 8 case on standing. So while many officials in Texas were pleased with the DOMA ruling, their attention turned to how to create marriage equality in Texas.

“The desire to legally affirm and protect loving relationships and families is fundamental and one that the American people increasingly understand and support,” lesbian Houston Mayor Annise Parker said in a statement. “The Court’s decision strikes down an inequality that has prevented legally married same-sex couples from enjoying the same rights as other married couples. Today we take a huge step forward, but this fight is not over. It is my hope that the decision leads to greater acceptance and tolerance — and ultimately to full equality.”

Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, who’s openly gay, said he was glad the ruling found that gay couples deserve the same federal protections.

“It is the concept of equal protection that ensures all Americans regardless of background may enjoy the freedom and dignity afforded to them by the constitution and not just a privileged few who happen to be members of a particular racial or ethnic group, religious denomination, gender or sexual orientation,” Fitzsimmons said.

—  Anna Waugh

IMMIGRATION EQUALITY: Binational couples clear winner in DOMA ruling

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Rachel B. Tiven

The full impact of the today’s DOMA ruling will become more clear over the next few weeks, months and years, but one clear immediate winner is binational couples.

For some people, the effect of the ruling will depend on whether they live in marriage equality states or not. For immigration purposes, that will not make a difference. Immigration law recognizes marriages that are valid where celebrated.

Binational couples who are legally married will be able to apply for green cards for the partner who is not a citizen. That partner will be able to remain in the country legally without returning home to renew visas every two years and will be able to get a driver’s license and work. The green card also creates a path to citizenship.

“At long last, we can now tell our families that yes, they are eligible to apply for green cards,” said Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality. “Many of our families have waited years, and in some cases decades, for the green card they need to keep their families together.”

She said couples forced into exile will be able to return home and couples who are separated can be reunited.

“Today’s decision closes a discriminatory chapter in American immigration law,” Tiven said.

According to the Williams Institute, there are about 1,607 binational same-sex couples in Texas. That’s fourth-most behind New York, California and Florida. There are some 40,000 binational same-sex couples nationwide.

More coverage in Friday’s Dallas Voice with reaction from local binational couples.

—  David Taffet