The Mining Company ups the drinking ante with inspired new beer selection

As a proud beer drinker, I was quite glad to see that TMC: The Mining Company announced a whole new selection of beers that is somewhat inspired. Hell, they even gave the selection its own page. My mouth began to water as I scanned the beverage offerings that read like a list of old friends.

Red Stripe and I have had a very intimate relationship that is marked by slurred words and heightened laughter. Woodchuck Cider has lulled me to sleep just like mom used to do while reading me bedtime stories. LaBlatt Blue isn’t the kind that I would add to my social networks, but I’d happily subscribe to it. And while I don’t normally go for blonds, Fireman’s #4 is a worthwhile crush with its tender and sweet deliciousness and hard-bodied Texas roots. But sometimes he gets jealous of my standby girlfriend, Stella. It’s a thing.

We don’t seem to have a strong beer-focused bar (much less a pub) in the gayborhood a la The Amsterdam or The Ginger Man, but TMC comes damn close. Pilsners beware, because I am about to destroy you.

—  Rich Lopez

TX Retired Police, Fireman Collateral Damage In Christian War On Gays

The Christian Right’s never ending war to stop teh gays from ever having anything nice or obtaining a modicum of parity with their fellow heterosexual Americans had some unintended collateral damage in Texas in November.

A ballot measure designed to restrict gay city of El Paso employees from obtaining same-sex partner benefits has been determined to have ended the eligibility of retired policeman and firemen and others, Wall Street Journal reports.

Cross-posted at Daily Kos, pls rec if you can.
The ballot measure was a response to the city council passing a law allowing “domestic parters” access to city employees’ health and other benefits. The law was gender neutral, allowing both heterosexual and gay partners equal access. According the Wall Street Journal, since they were made available “19 people signed up, adding about ,000 to the city’s million health-care budget.”

A coalition of Christians groups formed the basis of the pushback, organized by Pastor Tom Brown of the Word of Life Church. When this amateur theocrat isn’t pushing ill-fated ballot initiatives, Rev Brown advertises himself as an exorcist. Perhaps he should have stuck to that gig? After authoring the ballot measure, Brown admits he never ran the language by a lawyer, so I guess this is the sort of thing that can be expected to happen:

Meanwhile, past and current employees are clamoring to reinstate the health benefits, and union leaders are preparing a lawsuit against the city. Counting all those city workers who would lose benefits when they retire, the number of affected people could grow to at least 10,000 over several years, said Ron Martin, president of the local police union.

“We don’t want to get into a holy war with the church,” he said. “I just wish they would have left us alone.”

Yeah, brother, we gay people know the feeling. Why can’t they just leave us alone?

Several options for remedy are being discussed. The City Council declined to vote outright to repeal the law. They are looking into amending it. This sets up a stand-off, some council members say they will vote down any amendment that does not restore same-sex benefits. From the WSJ:

Gay activists say the city is responsible for fighting against discrimination. “If you leave it up to the vote, black people would still be riding in the back of buses,” said Bill Ellis, secretary for Rio Grande Adelante Inc., a local non-profit group.

Rick Scibelli, Jr. for the Wall Street Journal, more here.

El Paso’s gay community have organized peaceful demonstrations of opposition at the Word of Life Church, holding signs like “Whose health insurance would Jesus vote away?” KVIA-TV has a video report of the protest action. The protests aren’t sitting well with the good Reverend, having done his damage, he’s ready to move on. He is quoted in the Dallas Voice:

“This is a place where people have their particular views, and they shouldn’t be put to ridicule because a particular church doesn’t correspond to the public view,” said Brown.

Well, isn’t that convenient? Now, the good pastor wants a little respectful privacy. This whole mess would never have transpired if you had kept your church’s values on church property, would it? But I guess God told you double standards are OK, huh?

So, Rev. Tom Brown, have you learned a lesson? Do you see when you perpetuate evil on one people, you may be unable to contain the evil you unleash? Are you sorry?

Mr. Brown admits the city’s interpretation of the measure does not match what his group intended, but says city officials have to respect the will of the public. “I have no regrets,” he said. “We did what was right.”

Sigh. Jesus weeps.

Please read Ana Campoy’s story at the Wall Street Journal, she has done an excellent job reporting it.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Texas Transgender Summit attendees on Nikki Araguz case: Littleton v. Prange is bunk

Dozens of individuals and organizations meeting at the Second Annual Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit in Houston issued a joint statement Thursday on the Nikki Araguz case. In case you missed it, Araguz is the transgender widow of firefighter Thomas Araguz III, who died in the line of duty earlier this month. Thomas Araguz’s is family is suing Nikki Araguz in an effort to prevent her from receiving death benefits, alleging that the marriage was invalid. Below is the full text of the statement. For a list of signatories, go here.

HOUSTON, Texas (July 22, 2010) — We, the attendees of the Second Annual Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit, issue this statement to demonstrate our support for Mrs. Nikki Araguz and to call attention to her plight and that of all transgender people in the state of Texas.

Mrs. Nikki Araguz legally married a man, and her marriage has been recognized under the laws of the state of Texas. Nikki’s husband, a fireman in Wharton County, tragically was killed in the line of duty, and now other parties are attempting to use the courts to have her marriage legally overturned in an effort to deny her inheritance and insurance.

These parties are claiming that Nikki is not legally a woman under Texas law. Nikki’s opponents are attempting to use an obscure Texas case, Littleton v. Prange (1999), to declare that her marriage should be invalid. The Littleton case says that a person’s gender is determined by chromosomes, not physical attributes. The Littleton case was decided to deny a transgender woman her right to bring a wrongful death suit on behalf of her husband — even though Littleton had legally changed her gender and had been legally married in Texas.

The Littleton case was wrongfully decided at the time, and if taken literally stands for the proposition that a transgender person cannot marry anyone, of either gender, under Texas law. Clearly, this is wrong. Denying anyone the right to marry whom they love is a violation of the most basic freedoms under our laws. To deny the validity of an existing, legal marriage, after one of the spouses has died, as justification for the redistribution of inheritance and insurance, is abhorrent to the values of common decency, fair play, and justice that most Texans hold dear.

We, the attendees of this Summit, extend our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Araguz, and call for the swift dismissal of this lawsuit so that Mrs. Araguz may be left to mourn her loss in private without distraction or worry for her financial stability.

If necessary, we also call for the courts to consider the Littleton case superseded by the recent changes to the Texas Family Code that recognize a court ordered gender change as definitive proof of identity.

Sadly, discrimination against people because of either their gender identity or expression is common. There are few laws in the state of Texas to address this need. The purpose of our Summit is to find ways to help people confront and overcome the issues now facing all transgender people in Texas and, tragically, Mrs. Nikki Araguz.

—  John Wright