Joel Burns nominated for Texan of the Year

Joel Burns

Gay Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns has been nominated for The Dallas Morning News’ Texan of the Year based on his inspiring “It Gets Better” speech, according to DMN editorial writer Rodger Jones.

Burns has already been interviewed by national media and by Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show in the wake of his 12-minute speech at a council meeting last month in which he talked about being bullied as a teenager and the time he considered taking his own life. Video of the speech quickly went viral and Burns became one of the most visible faces of the “It Gets Better” campaign.

Some of the other nominees are Southwest Airlines President Gary Kelly, philanthropist Elizabeth Shatto Massey, Texas Rangers President Nolan Ryan and, a separate nominee, the “entire Texas Rangers baseball team.”

Well, win or lose, I love me some Texas Rangers. But when it comes to Texan of the Year, Joel gets my vote.

—  admin

Pastor Terry Jones Faces 6-Figure Fee For Becoming Media Sensation

Gainesville's Pastor Terry Jones, who abandoned plans to burn Qurans on his church property, will be fined 0,000 for the security costs the city endured. And yet the Westboro Baptist Church never gets a bill. [CNN]


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Queerty

—  John Wright

DADT faces unclear path in Senate, could die without action soon

This is not good. Not good at all.

There’s a reason why Servicemember United’s Alex Nicholson raised concerns about moving the Defense Authorization bill last week. There’s a reason why SLDN’s Aubrey Sarvis raised concerns about moving the Defense Authorization bill today. There’s no clear path to get that Defense bill to the floor. And, the compromise DADT repeal legislation is included in that Defense bill.

Kerry Eleveld reports that the key decision about moving forward now rests with Majority Leader Harry Reid:

Fearful that delaying action on “don’t ask, don’t tell” until after the midterms could potentially kill the measure for the year, repeal advocates are pushing Senate majority leader Harry Reid to schedule a Senate floor vote on the defense funding bill in September.

“I’m a little anxious,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. “The reality is the number of legislative days in this Congress are rapidly dwindling, and we need to see that the defense authorization bill up on the Senate floor in September.”

When Congress returns to Washington next week, the Senate will have until October 8 when they leave for the midterms to take the crucial vote on the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, which contains the provision to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

But one political operative and repeal advocate noted the bill will be competing for attention with new legislation Democrats are pushing that would provide tax breaks for businesses.

“The Democrats are trying to figure out what they can effectively do in those four weeks to distinguish themselves from Republicans before the midterm elections,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The tax cut issue may provide that contrast.”

The source wagered that if the Senate floor vote does not take place before the midterms, the defense funding bill would have a “50-50” shot of passing before the end of this Congress. If it is not finalized by year’s end, the repeal effort will die.

You read that right. Despite all the promise, the repeal effort could die.

That’s why SLDN is ready to turn up the heat:

But if Sarvis does not see such a commitment soon, he said, SLDN will take the fight to Reid’s home turf in order to lobby for action.

“We’ll take it to Nevada or Arizona or wherever we need to go to get the job done,” he said.

Also, HRC’s Fred Sainz isn’t quite accurate about this:

Fred Sainz, vice president of communications for the Human Rights Campaign, said the Senate has no reason to shy away from addressing “don’t ask, don’t tell” politically because House members who voted for repeal have not been targeted on the issue.

“We have yet to see even one member where the fact that they voted for repeal is being used against them in their reelection battle,” Sainz said

One member has been targeted with a DADT ad. That would be Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Family Research Council put an ad on the air in Nevada aimed at Reid — on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. What a coincidence, huh? When this ad appeared on August 26th, I wrote:

My guess is that, given the timing, FRC’s ad is not so much about the Senate campaign. It’s more about trying to make Reid delay consideration of the Defense Authorization bill, which currently includes the DADT repeal legislation. As we noted earlier today, Republicans want to push this issue into the lame duck session in order to kill it. FRC is hoping this ad psyches out Harry Reid. I can’t imagine it will work.

I’m starting to wonder if that ad had more of an impact than I initially imagined.

Repealing DADT is as close to a political no-brainer as exists. There’s huge public support. There’s bipartisan support. The Cheney’s support it. Only among the professional Democrats in DC is it viewed as a political liability.

Not passing the compromise DADT language will become a political liability for those responsible. Promises were made. Promises better be kept.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Minister Faces Trial for Gay Marriage

REV JANE SPAHR X3902010 08 23Minister Faces Trial for Gay MarriagePosted on Advocate.com falsetrueNews390pxtruefalse1200AMfalsefalseBy Advocate.com EditorsAdvocate.com EditorsPLEASE DO NOT USE THIS FIELD FOR NOW.PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS FIELD FOR NOW. Jane Spahr, a lesbian Presbyterian minister in northern California, faces a church
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

Dallas could elect 1st gay judge

Judicial candidates John Loza, Tonya Parker among 4 LGBTs running in local races in 2010

By John Wright | News Editor wright@dallasvoice.com
IN THE RUNNING | Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, clockwise from top left, County Judge Jim Foster, attorney Tonya Parker and former Councilman John Loza are LGBT candidates who plan to run in Dallas County elections in 2010. The filing period ends Jan. 4.

Dallas County has had its share of openly gay elected officials, from Sheriff Lupe Valdez to District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons to County Judge Jim Foster.
But while Foster, who chairs the Commissioners Court, is called a “judge,” he’s not a member of the judiciary, to which the county’s voters have never elected an out LGBT person.

Two Democrats running in 2010 — John Loza and Tonya Parker — are hoping to change that.

“This is the first election cycle that I can remember where we’ve had openly gay candidates for the judiciary,” said Loza, a former Dallas City Councilman who’s been involved in local LGBT politics for decades. “It’s probably long overdue, to be honest with you.”

Dallas County’s Jerry Birdwell became the first openly gay judge in Texas when he was appointed by Gov. Ann Richards in 1992. But after coming under attack for his sexual orientation by the local Republican Party, Birdwell, a Democrat, lost his bid for re-election later that year.

Also in the November 1992 election, Democrat Barbara Rosenberg defeated anti-gay Republican Judge Jack Hampton.

But Rosenberg, who’s a lesbian, wasn’t out at the time and didn’t run as an openly LGBT candidate.

Loza, who’s been practicing criminal law in Dallas for the last 20 years, is running for the County Criminal Court No. 5 seat. Incumbent Tom Fuller is retiring. Loza said he expects to face three other Democrats in the March primary, meaning a runoff is likely. In addition to groups like Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, he said he’ll seek an endorsement from the Washington, D.C.-based Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which provides financial backing to LGBT candidates nationwide.

Parker, who’s running for the 116th Civil District Court seat, declined to be interviewed for this story. Incumbent Bruce Priddy isn’t expected to seek re-election, and Parker appears to be the favorite for the Democratic nomination.

If she wins in November, Parker would become the first LGBT African-American elected official in Dallas County.

Loza and Parker are among four known local LGBT candidates in 2010.
They join fellow Democrats Fitzsimmons and Foster, who are each seeking a second four-year term.

While Foster is vulnerable and faces two strong challengers in the primary, Fitzsimmons is extremely popular and said he’s confident he’ll be re-elected.

“I think pretty much everybody knows that the District Clerk’s Office is probably the best-run office in Dallas County government,” Fitzsimmons said. “I think this county is a Democratic County, and I think I’ve proved myself to be an outstanding county administrator, and I think the people will see that.”

Randall Terrell, political director for Equality Texas, said this week he wasn’t aware of any openly LGBT candidates who’ve filed to run in state races in 2010.

Although Texas made headlines recently for electing the nation’s first gay big-city mayor, the state remains one of 20 that lack an out legislator.

Denis Dison, a spokesman for the Victory Fund, said he’s hoping Annise Parker’s victory in Houston last week will inspire more qualified LGBT people to run for office.

“It gives other people permission really to think of themselves as leaders,” Dison said.

The filing period for March primaries ends Jan. 4.


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 18, 2009.

—  admin