Former President George H.W. Bush, wife attend same-sex wedding in Maine

ghwbweddingFormer president and first lady George H.W. And Barbara Bush attended the same-sex wedding of friends in Kennebunkport, Maine, last weekend.

The president signed Helen Thorgalsen and Bonnie Clement’s marriage license as a witness.

In an odd statement about the event, Jim McGrath, Bush’s spokesman said, “They were private citizens attending a private ceremony for two friends.”

Why so defensive? Nobody accused them of crashing the wedding.

Or is it Bush’s way of saying this isn’t new Republican policy? He’s not endorsing marriage equality but in this case it’s OK because the women were friends of his.

—  David Taffet

A preliminary assessment of Bush 41′s legacy on LGBT issues and HIV/AIDS

President George H.W. Bush remains in guarded condition in the intensive care unit of a Houston hospital, according to the Houston Chronicle.

His prognosis is unclear, but now seems like a good time to look back on Bush 41′s legacy on LGBT and HIV/AIDS issues.

Bush came into office on Jan. 20, 1989 promising a “kinder, gentler nation.” That was wonderful news to the gay community that had been ravaged by AIDS. During the previous eight years, the nation had been led by a president who had uttered the word AIDS for the first time just a little more than a year before.

Locally, gay-rights advocates were focused on things like police stings at Reverchon Park and employment discrimination, but Bruce Monroe, who was president of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance in the early 90s, said national LGBT groups were primarily focused on HIV/AIDS.

When Bush took office, “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act were still an entire administration away. At that time, service members who were found to be gay or lesbian were court-martialed, imprisoned and given dishonorable discharges. And the concept of marriage equality was still several years away.

—  David Taffet

Public Policy Polling: Perry particularly unpopular

Gov. Rick Perry in a parody of his "Brokeback" video

If a Public Policy Polling poll is correct, Rick Perry may be in his last term in office.

According to PPP, only 29 percent of Texas voters think Perry should run for governor again in 2014 and fewer still — just 19 percent — think he should run for president again.

The ever-resilient governor could still win another term in Austin, however. Of Republicans polled, 49 percent would like to see the governor run again.

With his campaign only suspended, Perry is still technically running for president and will appear on the Texas primary ballot. His campaign was marked by gaffes and insults and his “Brokeback” YouTube video remains one of the most “unliked” on the site.

The poll found that Texans think LBJ was the best of the Texas presidents with 39 percent. George W. Bush is next at 22 percent and his father gets 19 percent. That adds up to only 80 percent. Possibly the other 20 percent polled couldn’t stomach any of them.

Although George H.W. Bush was the least great Texas president, he has the highest favorability rating at 54 percent. People like him — out of office.

Kay Bailey Hutchison had an approval rating of 50 percent. Interesting she did so miserably in the race against the governor. Guess he wasn’t so unpopular before he ran for president.

—  David Taffet

LGBT archives grow with artifacts and pics

Archives gives glimpse into the history and development of Dallas’ vibrant LGBT community

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Morgan Fairchild, left, Faye Dunaway, right, present William Waybourn with a check for $50,000
MOMMIE DEAREST | Morgan Fairchild, left, Faye Dunaway, right, present William Waybourn with a check for $50,000 to help found the AIDS Resource Center. (Courtesy Phil Johnson Library)

Resource Center Dallas has been archiving the history of the LGBT community of Dallas since Phil Johnson donated his own collection to them in the 1990s.

Johnson had saved every issue of the Advocate, This Week in Texas and Dallas Voice since the magazines were founded. He also had clipped articles about the LGBT community from the Dallas Morning News and the now-defunct Dallas Times Herald since the 1940s.

The center recently received several new donations to add to the collection Johnson began.

Blake Wilkinson and Rick Vanderslice donated items from Queer LiberAction that will make one of the most stunning visual displays when the center has more space to display them, officials said. QL’s kissing booth, Milk box, megaphone, signs and fliers document a resurgence in activism that included a response to the Rainbow Lounge Raid.

When Cece Cox became executive director of the Resource Center, she found a bill the city sent to Gay Urban Truth Squad, a direct action protest group from the early 1980s that was Dallas’ version of ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power). The bill was for clean up after a protest on a plaza outside the convention center near City Hall.

Hundreds had gathered outside a political fundraiser where President George H.W. Bush was speaking for the largest AIDS protest that had been held in Dallas. Protesters chalked outlines of bodies on the sidewalk and wrote the name of someone they knew who had died of AIDS.

Those attending the fundraiser had to walk over those “bodies” as they left their event.

The bill listed charges of $81 for an electrician and $100 to powerwash the sidewalk. A note to pay with DGA funds is initialed by John Thomas, executive director of Resource Center Dallas at the time.

Cox has the bill framed in her office.

William Waybourn, who was one of the founders of Dallas Gay Alliance and the foundation that became Resource Center Dallas, also recently donated a number of pictures to the center from its early days.

Resource Center spokesperson Rafael McDonnell told the story — told to him by Waybourn — of how the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic received its initial funding after Waybourn spoke to Dr. Mathilde Krim, founder of the American Foundation For AIDS Research, about the lack of medical services for persons with AIDS in Dallas.

“The best thing we can do for someone with AIDS is get someone a bus ticket out of here,” Waybourn told her.

Together with the AmFAR’s founding chair Elizabeth Taylor, the organization donated $100,000 to start the clinic.

Paul von Wupperfeld recently donated a letter that he sent to George W. Bush’s campaign advisor, Karl Rove. In it, he asked Rove to help secure a meeting to encourage Bush to support hate crime legislation.

Other archive acquisitions include a Cheer Dallas megaphone and uniform. That group performed through the 1990s and were featured in a scene in the 1995 film “Jeffrey.”

Because of the enormous amount of documents and artifacts, much of the archives are kept off premises. To arrange to see or to use any of the collection, contact librarian Sandy Swann at Resource Center Dallas.

She said researchers working on master’s theses have contacted her about using documents.

“We had an English grad student studying drag performance in the DFW area,” she said. “He went back looking at old ads in the Voice, Texas Triangle and TWT.”

She said when Cathedral of Hope recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, she helped by providing material from the original Circle of Friends, the church’s founding group.

The archive also proved helpful to groups in the recent battle with DART over nondiscrimination based on gender identity, Swann said.

The Phil Johnson Library, Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan Street. Mon., Wed. and Thurs. 10 a.m. –6 p.m.; Tues. 11 a.m.–4 p.m.;  Fri. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., and Sat. noon–4 p.m. Contact Swann for more information.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 13, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Bush Commerce Secretary Mosbacher dies

Former Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher
Former Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher

Rob Mosbacher served as Secretary of Commerce under Pres. George H.W. Bush from 1989 until 1992. He died in Houston Sunday at the age of 82.

His daughter Dee is a lesbian who made the Academy Award nominated film “Straight from the Heart” as a response to the Republican anti-gay agenda.

The Washington Post wrote today, “It was a period during which the GOP intensified anti-gay, anti-abortion rhetoric, requiring Mr. Mosbacher — whose daughter Diane is a lesbian — to walk a delicate line between the personal and political.”

At the 1992 Republican convention, Pat Buchanan declared a “cultural war” on gays and lesbians.

Robert Bray, a spokesperson for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force at the time, said, “How can he be committed to anything that is set on destroying his daughter?”

Dee Mosbacher said, “I would suspect the conflict has been pretty tough on Dad.”

Her father said, “I sleep fine at night” and said it was unfair to characterize the president, the party or the convention as anything but tolerant of homosexuals.

Dee Mosbacher
Dee Mosbacher

Today’s Post continued, “In support of his daughter, Mr. Mosbacher agreed to meet with gay leaders, reportedly making the Bush administration the first to be briefed on gay issues. The party’s evangelical right pilloried Mr. Mosbacher. His daughter told The Post, ‘Dad said … he didn’t know what else family values is if it’s not supporting your kids and who they are.’”

Among the gay leaders Mosbacher spoke to was John Thomas, then executive director of Resource Center Dallas, Rafael McDonnell of the Resource Center said.

Dee Mosbacher once told a reporter a story that took place the morning both were going to deliver commencement addresses.

She said, “Dad and I had breakfast this morning. We looked at each other’s speeches. He would have used mine but he’s not a lesbian. I would have used his, but I’m not a Republican.”

—  David Taffet