Houston’s State Rep. Garnet Coleman applauds Prop. 8 decision

State Rep. Garnet Coleman

Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, took to his blog today to applaud yesterday’s decision by the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declaring Proposition 8  unconstitutional (Prop. 8, passed in 2008, prohibited marriage equality in California):

“Yesterday’s 9th Circuit decision, just like the decision in Lawrence v. Texas, is a stepping stone on the path to marriage equality for all. As Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in the opinion, ‘Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gay men and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.’ The same holds true for the marriage equality ban in Texas. That is why I continue to fight for marriage equality and continue to file the repeal of the ban of same sex marriage. Denying gay couples the right to marry is unconstitutional and a blatant denial of human rights. “

Coleman has a long history of filing pro-LGBT legislation in the Texas House. Last year he introduced historic legislation that, had it passed, would have called for a state-wide vote to repeal the section of Texas’ constitution prohibiting same-sex marriage, so he’s no stranger to the battle for marriage equality.

Coleman is seeking re-election to his District 147 seat. He will face long-time local LGBT activist Ray Hill in the Democratic Primary. No republican candidate has filed for the seat.

Read Coleman’s full statement on his blog.

—  admin

Son of a beach

A family vacation proves unexpectedly gay as Myrtle Beach, S.C., gets Pride

RAINBOW TOUR | Nearly 200 beachcombers — including the author (dark green, just right of center) — stepped away from the surf and gathered in a field to form a human rainbow flag.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

The trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., had more to do with a family reunion than finding a good destination for gay travelers. After all, Myrtle Beach is a pretty lazy, conservative town in the perennial Red State, one where teenaged spring breakers and families gather to enjoy the warm surf and the resort-town appeal of seafood and beachcombing and overpriced cocktails. Queer travelers can hit one of the three gay bars, all within blocks of each other — Club Traxx, Time Out! and the Rainbow House (a lesbian club).

But the weekend I arrived , just by coincidence, it turned out to be Gay Pride.

Keep in mind, the gay community in Myrtle Beach is small, so “Gay Days,” plural, felt more like Gay Day, singular: One major event and then life as usual in Coastal Carolina.

The major event, though, was an ambitious one: Gathering members of the LGBT community and their allies to form a “human rainbow flag:” People signed up to wear a pastel-colored T-shirt and arrange themselves in the traditional configuration. A few others wore black, forming the flagpole.

The entire event was threatened by showers late Friday and early Saturday, but despite a slightly muddy field, nearly 200 people turned out, huddled closely on a muggy afternoon, while a photographer flew above in a helicopter.

Numbers weren’t uniform; there were too many reds and too few purples; but the effect was one of a flag waving in the breeze.

In order to do the shoot, members faced each other before bending forward to allow the broad field of their shirts to form the colors. Directly across from me stood Elke Kennedy, a resident of Greenville in the Upstate. Elke and her husband established SeansLastWish.org, raising awareness of anti-gay violence, after their gay son was beaten to death and his killer spent less than a year in jail.

Elke spoke at a rally following the photoshoot, and dozens in attendance listened to her recount her  son’s harrowing attack and death before two drag queens performed and a DJ spun dance hits. People started to file out after a while, off to the beach, or the clubs, or even the boardwalk, where the Texas Star-like Skywheel gives great views of the beach … and sits next door to the campily named souvenir shop the Gay Dolphin.

The latter was always may favorite place when I was growing up; you’d think my parents would have caught on sooner.

Click here for additional photos.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

DOMA ruled unconstitutional by bankruptcy court

A federal bankruptcy court in California on Monday ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles ruled that it is discriminatory to prevent a legally married same-sex couple from filing for joint bankruptcy.

The couple, Gene Balas and Carlos Morales, filed a joint chapter 13 petition. They were married in 2008 in California and remain legally married.

In his ruling, the judge wrote: “This case is about equality, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, for two people who filed for protection under Title 11 of the United States Code (Bankruptcy Code).”

It is “undisputed that the Debtors are a lawfully married California couple,” the judge wrote, adding that the couple came to the court to restructure and repay their debt following extended illnesses and long periods of unemployment.

The U.S. trustee for the case filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that two men cannot file jointly for bankruptcy. The judge ruled the trustee did not ask for dismissal based on one of the 11 causes listed in bankruptcy law to dismiss, but simply because the couple are two men.

The judge said the trustee filed no relevant case law supporting his position and said the couple should not be singled out for discriminatory treatment. He cited the Obama administration’s position that DOMA is unconstitutional and ruled that, indeed it is.

—  David Taffet

NC: Sen. Jim Forrester plans to file marriage amendment bill

From Equality NC:

NC Sen. Jim Forrester is planning to file a bill (he’s done it 8 years in a row) to amend our state constitution to discriminate against LGBT North Carolinians soon. As he works to get other senators to sign on as co-sponsors, Equality NC calls on supporters of fairness to contact their senators in opposition to this bill.

The bill, as proposed in previous sessions, would deny same-sex couples access to marriage and any other form of relationship recognition, including partner benefits from private employers. Equality NC has already been working to stop this amendment from passing. Nearly 200 supporters from across the state met with legislators at yesterday’s Day of Action at the General Assembly.

“This hurtful bill would do real damage in North Carolina,” said Ian Palmquist, Executive Director. “It harms couples who seek the most basic protections of their families. It hurts LGBT young people who are told they are unworthy of being treated equally with their peers. And it harms our North Carolina businesses who want to operate in a state that attracts and supports a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

“It’s telling that Sen. Forrester has gone back on his word,” said Palmquist. “Just a few weeks ago, he told his hometown paper that he would not file the anti-gay amendment this year to focus on jobs, but instead he’s busy trying to put bigotry and discrimination into our constitution.”

In order to become part of the constitution, the bill must pass both the House and Senate with a 3/5ths super-majority, and would then go to the ballot for approval by a simple majority of voters. The Governor cannot veto a constitutional amendment.

North Carolinians can email their state Senator here.

I attended the Day of Action yesterday, and we not only face an amendment with the GOP now in control, we have to deal with the fact that North Carolina doesn’t have any non-discrimination laws on the books that protect people based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Ian Palmquist:

Here are some photos of the event. I’ll have more on the conference later; in the meantime, read Jake Geller-Goad’s fine diary. QNotes coverage is here.  
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

Anti-gay orgs file amicus briefs in DOMA case

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders gave the heads up that the Obama DOJ brief (re: Gill et al. v. Office of Personnel Management et al.) will see fundie bedfellow filings, and lo and behold, the first out of the gate are from the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council.

From the FRC brief:

FRC actively supported the Defense of Marriage Act, the constitutionality of which is the subject of this appeal. FRC, therefore, has a particular interest in the outcome of this case. Requiring the Government to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages would not promote any of the interests on the basis of which marriage is a protected social institution. And, for the reasons set forth herein, nothing in the Constitution, properly understood, compels such recognition.

…Contrary to the district court’s understanding, the issue is not whether denying federal recognition of same-sex marriages “promote[s] stability in heterosexual parenting,” but whether granting such recognition would promote 17 that interest. Clearly, it would not. Under the rational basis standard of review, that is sufficient to sustain the constitutionality of ? 3 of DOMA.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

More Discharged Service Member File Suit in Ninth Circuit

More Discharged Service Member File Suit in Ninth Circuit

Today, three highly decorated service members discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) filed suit in federal district court seeking re-instatement and challenging the constitutionality of DADT.  In their complaint, which was filed before a Ninth Circuit district court in California, the three plaintiffs assert that the military bears the burden of proving that the sexual orientation of each discharged service member had a negative impact on the military.  The complaint states that if the military cannot fulfill this burden, the three plaintiffs should be re-instated in their respective branches and provided credit toward retirement for the period they were unconstitutionally discharged.

A similar argument was asserted before a different Ninth Circuit district court earlier this year in Witt v. Air Force.  The district court in Witt determine that the military failed to prove that Major Margaret Witt’s sexual orientation had a negative impact on the military, and provided for her re-instatement in the Air Force.  Also, occurring only months ago, a different Ninth Circuit district court declared DADT unconstitutional in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States.  The litigation in each of these decisions is ongoing, but illustrates the rise of litigation regarding DADT – particularly in the Ninth Circuit.

Earlier this year, the President expressed his support for repealing DADT and the House passed repeal legislation.  However, only last week, the Senate failed to take action on the Defense Authorization bill, which contained language that would lead to a repeal DADT.  Until Congress moves forward to legislatively repeal DADT, discharged service members are likely to continue to bring suits challenging the constitutionality of DADT and DADT discharges.

HRC applauds plaintiffs Mike Almy, Anthony Loverde, and Jason Knight  for their courage in challenging the DADT law, as well as Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Morrison & Foerster LLP for filing this suit on behalf of the plaintiffs.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

More Discharged Service Member File Suit in Ninth Circuit

More Discharged Service Member File Suit in Ninth Circuit

Today, three highly decorated service members discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) filed suit in federal district court seeking re-instatement and challenging the constitutionality of DADT.  In their complaint, which was filed before a Ninth Circuit district court in California, the three plaintiffs assert that the military bears the burden of proving that the sexual orientation of each discharged service member had a negative impact on the military.  The complaint states that if the military cannot fulfill this burden, the three plaintiffs should be re-instated in their respective branches and provided credit toward retirement for the period they were unconstitutionally discharged.

A similar argument was asserted before a different Ninth Circuit district court earlier this year in Witt v. Air Force.  The district court in Witt determine that the military failed to prove that Major Margaret Witt’s sexual orientation had a negative impact on the military, and provided for her re-instatement in the Air Force.  Also, occurring only months ago, a different Ninth Circuit district court declared DADT unconstitutional in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States.  The litigation in each of these decisions is ongoing, but illustrates the rise of litigation regarding DADT – particularly in the Ninth Circuit.

Earlier this year, the President expressed his support for repealing DADT and the House passed repeal legislation.  However, only last week, the Senate failed to take action on the Defense Authorization bill, which contained language that would lead to a repeal DADT.  Until Congress moves forward to legislatively repeal DADT, discharged service members are likely to continue to bring suits challenging the constitutionality of DADT and DADT discharges.

HRC applauds plaintiffs Mike Almy, Anthony Loverde, and Jason Knight  for their courage in challenging the DADT law, as well as Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Morrison & Foerster LLP for filing this suit on behalf of the plaintiffs.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

Santa Ana Police Respond to Noose Disaster: Go File A Complaint

How is the Santa Ana Police Department in California reacting to charges of indifference after volunteers at Equality California's office found a noose hanging on the door? With similar indifference.

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

—  admin

Nine States File Brief With Federal Court Opposing Marriage Equality

It happened late in the day yesterday in what seems to be a clear reaction to last month's Prop 8 ruling. According to the Associated Press:

Tr Wyoming and nine other states have filed a gay marriage opposition brief to a federal appeals court in California.
The amicus brief sent Friday to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said that the Constitution does not require marriage to include same-sex couples. The 39-page brief also said that states, not federal courts, have final say in whether to allow same-sex marriages.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported that other states who joined the brief against gay marriage are Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia. They argued that same-sex marriage is not a fundamental right.

"If public affirmation of anyone and everyone's personal love and commitment is the single purpose of marriage, a limitless number of rights claims could be set up that evacuate the term marriage of any meaning," the brief said. The amicus brief was criticized by Jason Marsden, of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, a Denver-based gay-rights organization. He told the newspaper it was "very puzzling" that Wyoming Attorney General Bruce Salzburg joined given that he Wyoming Legislature last year defeated a resolution to ban recognition of gay marriages performed in other states.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

News: Boulder, Bryan Ferry, Stud File, Christine O’Donnell

Road September 11 date for Beck/Palin rally in Anchorage just a coincidence.

Studfile RoadDo you keep a stud file? Fascinating trailer for a new book on sexual renegade Samuel Steward. NYT review.

RoadDoes Alexander Skarsgard sink your battleship?

RoadPolice blow up stuffed horse outside school thinking it's a bomb or something. Because what would a stuffed animal be doing sitting outside a playground for children

RoadJeremy Renner rocks silly hat.

RoadMusical in development about actor George Takei's experiences in an internment camp: "I'll never be able to forget that scary day when two American soldiers with bayonets on their rifles came stomping up to our front door and ordered our family out. We'd packed the night before, but I remember tears streaming down my mother's cheek as we walked out (of our home). The only things we could take with us was what we could carry."

RoadAnderson Cooper catches a cab, looks fine while doing so.

Boulder RoadBoulder burning: a time-lapse.

RoadOusted Montana Tea Party President Tim Ravndal would like to return.

RoadWatch: David and Victoria Beckham's new 'intimate' perfume spot.

RoadSarah Palin endorses Christine O'Donnell amid accusations of gay-baiting: "Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has endorsed the candidacy of Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell. O'Donnell tweeted on Thursday, 'Just got Gov. Palin's endorsement! Thank you for your prayers!' The 41-year-old marketing consultant received the endorsement as allegations of gay baiting began to surface on the Internet. In a video posted at Liberty.com, a female newscaster praises O'Donnell, then suggests her September 14 GOP primary opponent, Rep. Mike Castle, is gay. 'Isn't Mike Castle cheating on his wife with a man?' an unseen voice asks. 'That's the rumor,' the gleeful newscaster responds."

RoadPAC backing Sally Kern calls her transgender opponent Brittany Novotny "a confused it".

RoadLindsay Lohan: ready for motherhood?

Ferry RoadBryan Ferry charms the latest cover of Fantastic Man.

RoadEmma Ruby-Sachs: DADT win can't save the Log Cabin Republicans.

RoadFounder of gay Singaporean website Fridae charged with drug possession: "Stuart Koe, 38, was charged in court on Wednesday with possessing 0.01g of Ice. He was also accused of having utensils – an empty plastic dropper and an empty straw allegedly stained with the drug – which are commonly used to help consume Ice."

RoadLesbian former Vassar President Virginia B. Smith dies at 87: "Ms. Smith was the second woman to run the college and the first one to arrive there after it had become coeducational. The first male exchange students had come to Vassar in 1969 and the first freshmen the next year. Around 41 percent of Vassar students were men at the end of Ms. Smith’s presidency in 1986…Ms. Smith is survived by her partner of 57 years, Florence Oaks."


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright