UPDATE: Defined benefit retirement plans must also recognize same-sex marriages


David Mack Henderson

In the Dec. 5 issue of Dallas Voice, we reported on the discovery by Resource Center Communications and Advocacy Manager Rafael McDonnell and Fairness Fort Worth President David Mack Henderson that the Internal Revenue Service requires that defined contribution retirement plans — such as 401(a), 401(k) and 125 cafeteria plans —  recognize same-sex spouses of plan members if the couple were married in a jurisdiction that legally recognizes such marriages — even if the couple lives in a state that bans marriage equality.

Henderson has since discovered that defined benefit plans must also recognize same-sex spouses:

“From Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for Individuals of the Same Sex Who Are Married Under State Law:
Q17. What are some examples of the consequences of these rules for qualified retirement plans?
A17. The following are some examples of the consequences of these rules:
Plan A, a qualified defined benefit plan, is maintained by Employer X, which operates only in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages. Nonetheless, Plan A must treat a participant who is married to a spouse of the same sex under the laws of a different jurisdiction as married for purposes of applying the qualification requirements that relate to spouses.”

A defined benefit pension plan is a type of pension plan in which an employer/sponsor promises a specified monthly benefit on retirement that is predetermined by a formula based on the employee’s earnings history, tenure of service and age, rather than depending directly on individual investment returns. A defined contribution plan, on the other hand, does not promise a specific amount of benefits at retirement. In these plans, the employee or the employer (or both) contribute to the employee’s individual account under the plan, sometimes at a set rate.

You can also find information on the Equality Texas website.

—  Tammye Nash

Fairness Fort Worth Legacy Project honors community leaders

Fairness Fort Worth honored five community leaders for their activism for the acceptance and rights of LGBT people in the community last night, Friday, Oct. 25 at a private home in Fort Worth.

Todd Camp, a founder of both Fairness Fort Worth and QCinema, was emcee.

The five honorees were: Kelly Smith, immediate past president of and long-time volunteer with the AIDS Outreach Center; Xavier Khan, a OD Wyatt High School sophomore who founded the school’s gay-straight alliance; DeeJay Johnannessen, executive director of HELP in Fort Worth; Jean Wallace, vice president for human relations at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics; and Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead. Wallace and Halstead were unable to attend.

Rev. Carol West received the inaugural Tom Anable Recognition of Excellence Award.






—  James Russell

Uplift Education introduces new inclusive anti-bullying policy

60144_470172559670970_1080250106_nUplift Education, a network of 14 charter schools across North Texas, began the new school year with a new robust anti-bullying policy drafted in collaboration with Fairness Fort Worth and the Resource Center Dallas. David Mack Henderson, president of Fairness Fort Worth, wrote on Facebook:

When school started at the 14 campuses of Uplift Education’s charter schools across North Texas last week, the over 12,000 students were greeted with a new, fully inclusive anti-bullying policy that includes protections against acts “motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic such as…sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.” That policy was developed with the input of Fairness Fort Worth and Resource Center. Officials from both groups met with senior leadership of Uplift in the spring of 2012, proactively suggesting that the schools adopt a policy that would specifically protect LGBTQ and other students. Uplift developed a draft policy last fall, and turned to Fairness Fort Worth and the Center for additional input and review. The new policy was adopted by the Uplift board this spring and went into effect at the beginning of the school year.

Check out this coming week’s edition of the Voice for more information on the policy.

—  James Russell

Resource Center and Fairness Fort Worth ask reps to protect LGBT elderly


Cece Cox

Resource Center and Fairness Fort Worth reached out to Rep. Marc Veasey and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson to add LGBT-specific protections to Medicaid’s Home and Community-Based Services programs for seniors. Veasey represents U.S. District House 33, and Johnson represents U.S. District House 30.

The National Senior Citizens Law Center issued a report in 2011 that found LGBT seniors often went back into the closet to protect themselves in healthcare facilities. Many endured verbal and phyical abuse by other residents and staff.

RC’s CEO Cece Cox and FFW’s President David Mack Henderson asked Veasey and Johnson to encourage HHS to amend its rules to protect LGBT seniors.

Their letter is below:



—  David Taffet

David Mack Henderson named president of Fairness Fort Worth


David Mack Henderson

David Mack Henderson, who has been associated with Fairness Fort Worth since its inception, was named the group’s new president on Thursday. Former president Jon Nelson stepped down recently after moving to Dallas.

Also elected were Vice President James F. McAlister,  Secretary Robert C. Miller and Treasurer Denise Bennett.

Henderson is a tax accountant and realtor. He has a bachelor’s degree in music and business from the University of Texas at Arlington, where he founded the school’s first LGBT student organization in 1980. In Dallas he served as a board member of Dallas Gay Alliance in 1984 during the formation of the AIDS Resource Center, now known as Resource Center Dallas.

After the raid on the Rainbow Lounge, he helped form Fairness Fort Worth in July 2009 and served as its treasurer for three years. He’s been involved as an LGBT awareness facilitator for city of Fort Worth employees and FWISD counselors.

—  David Taffet

Fort Worth Council declares today ‘Jon Nelson Day’ in honor of FFW president


Jon Nelson, center left, shakes Councilman Joel Burns’ hand during the Jon Nelson Day proclamation presentation at Fort Worth City Council. (Via Facebook)

The Fort Worth City Council issued a proclamation Tuesday declaring it “Jon Nelson Day” in the city to honor the local LGBT leader.

Nelson, who worked on the city’s Diversity Task Force after the Rainbow Lounge raid and later helped start the city’s LGBT advocacy group Fairness Fort Worth, moved to Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood earlier this month.

Nelson has lived in Fort Worth for 38 years and has been involved in numerous city organizations and commissions for at least 30 of those years. He said city leaders wanted to recognize his contributions to the city over that period.

“I’m honored,” Nelson said about the proclamation. “It was a surprise to me that I got that but I was honored to get it.”

—  Dallasvoice

Fairness Fort Worth holds 1st mixer

Jon Nelson

Jon Nelson

Fairness Fort Worth is holding its first mixer.

The FFW board will present an LGBT community update at Times Ten Cellar, 1100 Foch St., Fort Worth this evening.

FFW formed in the wake of the raid of the Rainbow Lounge in 2009 and was successful in updating nondiscrimination ordinances and adding benefits for Fort Worth LGBT employees.

“The purpose is to inform people about what Fairness Fort Worth is, what it’s done and what it plans to do in the future,” FFW President Jon Nelson said.

He said the group has several committees and wants to get people involved. He’ll talk about how they can help.

Free hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar begin at 6 p.m. and Nelson will make his remarks at 7 p.m.

Nelson said this isn’t a fundraiser but just a way for people in the community to get together and meet others in Fort Worth who want to make a difference.

—  David Taffet

Celebration of life tonight for Fairness Fort Worth co-founder Pam Rogers

Pamela Rogers, left

Fairness Fort Worth co-founder Pam Rogers, 55, an activist and artist who designed the group’s T-shirts, banners and ads in the wake of the Rainbow Lounge raid, died Friday after a battle with cancer. According to an obituary in the Star-Telegram, Rogers died peacefully in the arms of her wife, Angi Brown. A celebration of Rogers’ life will be at 7 p.m. Sunday at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church in Fort Worth. From Fairness Fort Worth:

With heavy heart, the Board of FFW must share with you the passing of one of our founding members, Pam Rogers, 55. Already skilled in the LGBT advocacy world, Pam stepped up to help our community organize after the Rainbow Lounge Raid, often helping guide discussions toward constructive policies and practices. When asked to help with projects the only answer we ever got was, “Sure!” She took the logo designed by Bernardo Vallarino and crafted most of our outreach from banners to shirts and print advertising, quickly branding FFW when we needed her professional touch. Pam was diagnosed with stage four colon and liver cancer in Jan/12, and, rather than succumb within a few weeks, she battled with an incredibly positive attitude and bought another year. Last December, adept at weathering storms, Pam (left) and her love, Angi Brown (right) married in NYC just hours before Hurricane Sandy hit. She also leaves five siblings, numerous nieces and nephews and an extraordinary selfless legacy of creating a better world for local LGBT people.

A Celebration of Life for FFW co-founder Pamela Jeanne Rogers will be held Sunday, Feb. 17, 7 p.m., at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church, 901 Page Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76110.

—  John Wright

2 teens sentenced to 3 years probation in Arlington anti-gay graffiti case

Morgen Aubuchon and Seth Hatcher

Two teens were sentenced in Fort Worth on Friday for their involvement in an Arlington graffiti spree in June that included in anti-gay slurs spray-painted on a lesbian couple’s SUV.

Morgen Rae Aubuchon, 18, and Seth Stephen Hatcher, 19, pleaded guilty to the state jail felony charge causing $1,500 to $20,000 in damage and were sentenced to three years deferred adjudication with 120 hours of community service at Samaritan House, AIDS Outreach Center or another organization approved by the court.

They must complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service a month. They are also jointly responsible for $6,441 in restitution to the owners of the damaged property.

David Mack Henderson, Fairness Fort Worth treasurer who attended the sentencing, said 371th District Court Judge Mollee Westfall informed the teens that if they violate their probation, they face six months to two years in jail.

If the teens complete their probation without any violations, they won’t have a conviction on their records, but an arrest record will remain unless expunged.

—  Dallasvoice

First of 5 teens sentenced to probation in anti-gay graffiti case in Arlington


Kim Lovering’s vehicle was spray-painted with ‘faggot’ and ‘queers.’

The first of the five teens charged with a state jail felony for an Arlington graffiti spree in June that included anti-gay slurs on a lesbian couples’ SUV was sentenced Wednesday.

The 16-year-old was the first teen to turn herself in and cooperated with Arlington police when surveillance video of the culprits was released by a neighbor. She was sentenced to a year of probation in juvenile court, along with 50 hours of community service that must be completed at either Samaritan House or AIDS Outreach Center in Fort Worth.

David Mack Henderson, Fairness Fort Worth treasurer, attended the trial and sentencing. He said the judge was stern with the teen, reminding her that her actions affected a whole neighborhood and not just the 16 victims whose property was damaged.

The juvenile is also responsible for one-fifth of the cost of the restitution, which currently totals $6,441 but can be amended by the DA later.

Fairness Fort Worth President Jon Nelson called the sentence fair and reasonable, considering the teen will have to complete community service. He said he thinks all of the teens should have to complete community service at an LGBT or HIV/AIDS organization.

“I think that these people need to understand our community and the only way for them to do that is working within that community,” Nelson said.

Kim Lovering, one of the victims of the anti-gay graffiti, said she was pleased with the sentencing because the teen didn’t have any previous convictions.

“I thought it was fair,” she said.

—  Dallasvoice