Welcome aboard, Erin Moore

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We are thrilled to welcome aboard the newest addition to the Dallas Voice family, graphic artist Erin Moore.

That name may sound — probably does sound — familiar. That’s because Erin has been an active member of DFW’s LGBT community for years. She has been president of Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and vice president of Stonewall Democrats of Texas.
Erin’s also served on the Human Rights Campaign’s national Board of Governors and co-chaired National Coming Out Day.She grew up in Slidell, La., and moved to Dallas in 1992 to be staff adviser to Southern Methodist University’s student newspaper the Daily Campus. From there she began doing layout and design for Texas Lawyer and most recently worked at Brown & Partners designing jewelry advertising for national clients. Erin’s partner, Patti Fink, is currently president of DGLA and hosts the show that Dallas Observer named best talk show in Dallas, Lambda Weekly.

—  Tammye Nash

Record number of Texas voters back legal recognition for gay couples

A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll this week showed nearly 70 percent of Texans support legal recognition for same-sex couples – the highest percentage since polls began asking the questions in 2009.

The Tribune’s poll showed 36 percent support same-sex marriage and 33 percent support civil unions, for a total of 69 percent in favor of relationship recognition. Although with 25 percent against marriage or civil unions, the data could be interrupted as 58 percent against same-sex marriage.

Still, the findings in support of relationship recognition are 6 points higher than the second-highest result in February 2010, when a Tribune poll found 63 percent of Texans supported relationship recognition, with 28 percent in favor of marriage and 35 percent supporting civil unions.

The new poll is also 9 points higher than a Tribune poll from this February, which showed 31 percent supporting marriage and 29 percent favoring unions, totaling 60 percent in favor.

Erin Moore, who serves as co-chair of National Stonewall Democrats Leadership Council and was a member of the national Platform Committee, said polls are not a good basis for argument, but help get conversations started.

“I think it’s a great gauge of attitude, but I don’t think we should use it as ammunition for a basis for any sort of argument,” she said.

Moore said she questions the new poll because the percentage for marriage equality and civil unions were equal, as it has been in past years. She said she worries if people are against relationship recognition but choose civil unions to not appear bigoted.

“I wonder how much of that is support and how much of that is let me pick the non-bigoted answer but still not say I’m in favor of marriage,” she said.

As for the 9-point jump in support from February and the highest percentage in favor of marriage equality, Moore said that high a jump is a “significant shift” and that President Barack Obama’s public support for same-sex marriage and local efforts have helped the movement.

“What I attribute it to is that we’re continuing to do our work and get out into communities and to let people know that separate but equal doesn’t work in that we are full-fledged citizens who deserve rights that everybody else has, and that word is getting out,” she said.

In May 2011, a Tribune poll found 61 percent of Texans supported gay relationships with the support split between 30 percent backing  marriage and 31 percent favoring civil unions.

A Texas Lyceum poll in October 2010 found that Texans supported gay relationships by 52 percent. More than half at 28 percent supported marriage equality and 24 percent supported civil unions.

An Equality Texas poll released in December 2010 asked Texans 12 questions related to LGBT equality. The survey didn’t give an either/or option, but rather asked each question separately, resulting in 43 percent supporting gay marriage and 63 percent favoring civil unions.

In 2009, a Texas Politics Poll found 61 percent of people supported relationship recognition, with 29 percent for marriage equality and 32 percent for civil unions. A Texas Lyceum poll the same year found 57 percent in support, with 25 percent for marriage and 32 percent for civil unions.

—  Anna Waugh

Texas Dems add marriage equality to platform

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Erin Moore

A marriage equality plank was added to the Texas Democratic Party’s platform during this weekend’s state convention in Houston. QSanAntonio has the full text of the marriage equality plank:

“Texas Democrats join President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in calling for and affirming equal rights including marriage equality for all Americans. We, along with our President and Vice President, recognize that same sex marriages should be valid and legal in America.

“Texas Democrats support President Obama and the United States Justice Department in recognizing that the Federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and in refusing to defend DOMA in any Federal Court proceeding. We call for the total repeal of DOMA.

“Eight states and the District of Columbia have now recognized marriage equality and have legalized same sex marriages.

“Texas Democrats support the full inclusion of all families in the life of our state, with equal respect, responsibility, and protection under law, including the freedom to marry. Government has no business putting barriers in the path of people seeking to care for their family members, particularly in challenging economic times. We support the repeal of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, the Texas Defense of Marriage Act and the Texas Constitutional Marriage Amendment and oppose other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving same sex couples.”

Erin Moore of Dallas, outgoing vice president of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus, reportedly was instrumental in getting the marriage equality plank added as a member of the platform committee. The party also reported added a plank to the platform on adoption which states, “We support adoption of children by loving, qualified parents regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, and the rights of families created by those adoptions.”

—  John Wright

Planned protest to become a celebration

Daniel Cates

What was going to be a protest in response to North Carolina’s vote against same-sex marriage has turned into a likely celebration after President Barack Obama came out in support of marriage equality today.

Daniel Cates, North Texas regional coordinator for GetEQUAL and organizer of tonight’s rally on Cedar Springs in Dallas, said the focus of the event has changed but he still wants to call on other elected officials to support equality.

“Obviously we want to celebrate the president joining the conversation,” Cates said. “That is wonderful, so we will celebrate that, but we will continue to call on the Democratic National Committee to follow suit and go ahead and endorse marriage equality and full federal equality. And we will also continue to call on our president to sign that executive order and to push for employment protections.”

On the Facebook page for the rally, GetEQUAL TX wrote, “While we have every reason to protest tonight, we now also have a reason to celebrate! Tonight we will make a clear call for elected leaders from Mayor Mike Rawlings to Members of Congress to the DNC to follow the President’s example and stand up for what they know is right!”

The group added that crews from several local TV stations will be on hand for the rally, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Legacy of Love monument at Oak Lawn Avenue.

 

—  David Taffet

With National Stonewall Democrats ‘struggling,’ Dallas chapter marks its 15th anniversary

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas will celebrate its 15th anniversary tonight, during the group’s regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Ojeda’s on Maple Avenue.

“October marks the 15th anniversary when founders Bill Fry, Christy Kinsler, Gary Fitzsimmons & Michael Milliken gathered in a living room and created our organization,” the group wrote in an email Monday. “I don’t know if they realized where we would be today, but I sure am glad they did it! A warm hearted thank you to our founders, and especially to each and every one of you who has made SDD grow and develop into what we are today!”

Featured speakers at tonight’s meeting will be Dallas County Elections Administrator Toni Pippens-Poole, who’ll talk about the new voter ID law, and County Democratic Party Executive Director Steve Tillery, who’ll talk about constitutional amendments on the November ballot. And yes, there will be cake!

Meanwhile, National Stonewall Democrats Michael Mitchell announced his resignation Monday after two years in the position. Mitchell, almost laid off earlier this year due to budget problems, told Metro Weekly the national group is “struggling” to raise money due to the bad economy and the fact that the mainstream Democratic Party has become so pro-LGBT. National Stonewall currently has only six of 15 board positions filled (including Erin Moore of Dallas), but the group’s leaders insist there’s still a place for the organization — largely because of the 70 local chapters like Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. From interim executive director Jerame Davis: “It doesn’t matter how good the DNC is on LGBT issues, if, for instance, the Democratic Party in Mississippi is horrible and they elect a Democrat to Congress that doesn’t care about the LGBT community. The work is never-ending, regardless of how things might look in Washington or however many successes we might have on a national level, there’s still a lot of work to be done in the various states.”

 

—  John Wright

Erin Moore re-elected vice president of Texas Stonewall Democrats at state convention in Corpus Christi

Erin MooreAt the Texas Democratic convention is in Corpus Christi, which continues through this weekend, Erin Moore has been re-elected vice president of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus.

Dan Graney was re-elected president of TSDC. He is the past co-chair of Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio.

Carol Grappa of Fort Worth will be secretary, and Shaun Nelson of Houston will be treasurer. Nelson is also vice president of Houston Stonewall Young Democrats.

Moore, who serves as president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, was recently named a grand marshal for this year’s Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. As president and vice president of TSDC, Graney and Moore sit on the State Democratic Executive Committee.

“I’m glad I’ll get two more years to serve,” Moore said. “The statewide elections are so important this year, and I look forward to working with this great team.”

—  David Taffet

Reaction to Hodge withdrawal from race

Terri Hodge
Terri Hodge

Rep. Terri Hodge withdrew from the primary for reelection to her House seat and pleaded guilty to a charge of not reporting about $75,000 in income on Wednesday. Her trial would have started six days after the primary.

The district encompasses parts of Oak Lawn, including the southwest side of Cedar Springs Road.

Stonewall Democrats president Erin Moore said, “We’re sorry to have this happen. She’s been a great advocate for our causes, but she needs to take care of her personal matters.”

For the primary, Stonewall endorsed Hodge. Although it is a procedural matter, Moore said that the board would meet to discuss what happens with that endorsement. She could not change or rescind the endorsement herself.

Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance president Patti Fink said, “I think it’s a sad day for our community because she’s been such an amazing advocate for us in the House.”

Paul Scott, executive director of Equality Texas, said, “We have worked with Terri and she has been supportive and receptive during her tenure. She was supportive of the Resource Center, which was in her district. We look forward to continued support from Eric Johnson or whoever replaces her.”

—  David Taffet

Stonewall backs 59 candidates in primary

Phyllis Guest, from left, Erin Moore and Ron Ausemus are sworn in as three of Stonewall's officers for 2010 during last night's meeting at Ojeda's.
Phyllis Guest, from left, Erin Moore and Ron Ausemus are sworn in as three of Stonewall’s officers for 2010 during last night’s meeting at Ojeda’s.

I’ll have more on Bill White’s keynote speech to Stonewall Democrats last night in Friday’s Voice, but for now I wanted to share a full list of the group’s 59 endorsements in the March 2 primary. The list was ratified almost unanimously by Stonewall’s general membership last night, after being recommended by an endorsement committee that met last weekend.  Out of 150 people who attended the standing-room-only meeting last night at Ojeda’s, only two voted against the slate, with an additional two abstaining. I’ve posted a full list of Stonewall’s endorsed candidates after the jump.

—  John Wright