Stonewall Austin names award for Glen Maxey

Maxey.Glen

Glen Maxey

Stonewall Democrats of Austin is honoring Glen Maxey on Aug. 2 by naming and award for him and presenting the first annual Glen Maxey Award to former Austin City Councilman Chris Riley at Maxey’d Out for Chris. The award recognizes a member or an ally of Austin’s LGBTQ community who, through public service, has made significant contributions to the quality of life in Austin.

Riley served on the Austin City Council from 2009–2015. He sponsored a gender-neutral bathroom ordinance, helping transgender people and others avoid a choice that is uncomfortable and possibly dangerous. He carried the budget amendment for unmarried same-sex partner benefits, which eliminated discriminatory treatment arising from the inability to marry and he sponsored the Austin’s Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Maxey was the first executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas (now Equality Texas) and left to become the first openly LGBT member of the Texas legislature, serving 1991–2003. Most recently, he’s been busy tracking county clerks complying with the U.S. Supreme Court marriage equality ruling.

The event takes place on Aug. 2 at Highland Lounge, 404 Colorado St., Austin. Register online.

—  David Taffet

Maxey files complaint against Paxton with state bar

Glen MaxeyFormer state Rep. Glen Maxey filed a complaint against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton related to his opinion issued last weekend to county clerks. Paxton wrote that although same-sex couples would have to be accommodated, clerks could follow their religious beliefs and not issue the marriage licenses made legal by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Here’s a link to the full grievance.

From a press release sent by Maxey:

Paxton has violated the following Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. The violations are as follows:

*R 1.06(b)(2): Paxton has a conflict of interest because his representation of his client (the State) is conflicted with his own self-interest in demagogic self-promotion to pander to his right-wing Tea Party supporters, even at the sacrifice of the rights of Texans
under the United States Constitution.

*Rule 4.01(a): in representing his client (the State), Paxton has clearly made “false statement of law” to the public, in derogation of the fundamental Law of the Land, the United States Constitution.

*Rule 8.04(a)(1): in assisting and inducing Assistant Attorneys General to make knowingly false statements of fact and law in patently erroneous legal opinions that are flatly inconsistent with the United States Constitution, as declared by the United States Supreme Court.

*Rule 8.04(a)(3): in engaging in conduct involving deceit, dishonesty, and misrepresentation, in issuing the false and misleading opinion.

*Rule 8.04(a)(12): Mr. Paxton has violated the statutes setting out his official duties, including Government Code sections 402.041-402.042, by failing to issue an opinion setting out truthfully “the legal reasons and principles on which it is based.”

*Rules 8.04(a)(3), 8.04(a)(12): Finally, and most egregiously, Paxton violated his sworn oaths of office. Specifically, he violated the statutory oath that he took to become licensed to practice law in Texas. Section 82.037 of the Texas Government Code required Paxton to swear that he would “support the constitutions of the United States and this state.” He has violated both that oath and the United States Constitution.

Additionally, Mr. Paxton violated his State Oath of Office, required under Article 16, Section 1, of the Texas Constitution, in which he stated that he “will faithfully execute the duties of the office of Attorney General the State of Texas, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State, so help me God.”

—  David Taffet

Will there be a lawsuit after all?

Hood County Clerk Katie Lang

Hood County Clerk Katie Lang

Well, it appeared that Hood County Clerk Katie Lang was going to be able to avoid a lawsuit when, earlier this week, she changed her mind and said that her office would, indeed, be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But looks like now there will be a lawsuit after all.

Even though Lang said Friday, June 26, after the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding marriage equality, that she would not allow those licenses to be issued. Her change of heart came Tuesday evening after news broke that a gay male couple denied a license by her office was going to file suit. Lang relented then and said that even though her religious beliefs prevented her from issuing those licenses herself, someone in her office would do so.

But today, when the men returned to the clerk’s office to apply for their license, they were told Hood County would not be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples for three weeks. And then …. Well, I’ll just let Glen Maxey tell the story:

“Yee haw. We may have ourselves a federal lawsuit against recalcitrant clerks.
“Remember our drama with Clerk Lang in Hood County? Well, after saying she’d find a heathen in her office to issue licenses, when our gay couple arrived today they were told they wouldn’t be issuing gay licenses for three weeks. Needed new forms. And then Jan [Soifer] and Austin [Kaplan], our erstwhile fighters for justice big city lawyers arrived. Right there in Granbury, Hood County Texas. And they presented Clerk Lang with what’s called a ‘demand letter.’ In layman’s terms: Crap or get off the pot or we’ll sue your ass. Clerk Lang said no. Attorneys asked if a heterosexual couple walked in would they be able to get a license. YES. ‘Can we see the forms they would fill out?’ asks Jan. So that form says ‘Mr.’ and ‘M__’ where you, I guess, write an ‘rs’ for Mrs or a ‘s’ for Ms. Jan asks, ‘Why can’t we put an ‘r’ there for ‘Mr.’ Clerk: ‘NO, That would be altering a government document.’ Wait. Putting Mrs or Ms isn’t a problem and putting Mr. is??

“Well, maybe sourpuss Lang can read a demand letter. Because it says issue the good men a license or we’ll file a lawsuit on Monday morning. Hope she has a glorious July 4th weekend having a garage sale raising the money to pay for Jan and Austin’s lawyers fees when the federal judge tells her and every other clerk that AG Ken Paxton’s ‘I’m with Jesus’ defense just doesn’t cut it.”

—  Tammye Nash

Glen Maxey’s Rainbow Report: about 200 counties issuing marriage licenses

Glen Maxey

Glen Maxey

Just found this the Facebook page of Glen Maxey, the first openly-LGBT person elected to the Texas House of Representatives who now works in Austin as a lobbyist. It appears to have been posted Tuesday evening, June 30:

“So we had a great 48 hours here across Texas. Close to 200 counties issuing marriage licenses. About another 50 mumbling about forms (you can download them) or programming systems, but they are trying mighty hard to be ready if any queers show up.

“We have three ‘hell no, I’m with Jesus’ counties left: Kimble (Junction), Libscombe (on the top edge of Texas mostly in Okahoma) and Hardin in deep East Texas. If you happen to want to get married, and want to do something for the cause, plan a day trip to any of these hell holes and apply for a license so we can sue them. Plaintiffs needed, please.

“Bell had refused Monday, but folded when lawsuit was suggested. Then we found Jon and Jason going to San Saba this morning. Clerk folded. Last thing today found plaintiffs to sue the hateful clerk in Hood County. And now she’s folded. Will issue licenses in the morning. Our lawyers are getting frustrated that nobody has the guts to claim religious exemption when they are personally gonna get their butt sued and have to pay lawyers fee in the thousands when we win.”

—  Tammye Nash

Smith County ‘folds,’ agrees to issue marriage license to same-sex couples

KarenPhillips

Smith County Clerk Karen Phillips

Smith County Clerk Karen Phillips, who was facing a lawsuit filed by private counsel after refusing to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, has folded and issued the license, according to lobbyist/activist/former state Rep. Glen Maxey.

“Damn it’s hard to find a case this morning to sue their asses,” Maxey wrote on Facebook at about 10:30 a.m. today (Monday, June 29). “Smith County folded. Karen and Jolie have a marriage license.”

Maxey also noted that some other hold-out counties had begun issuing licenses: “Williamson County folded. Fort Bend County folded. Bell County folded.”

Other counties out of Texas’ 254 that are already complying with the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, as listed by Maxey, are Bexar, Blanco, Brazos, Calhoun, Dallas, Denton, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Milam, Rockwall, Tarrant, Travis, Tyler, Victoria, Wichita, Williamson.

Check other Instant Texas blog posts for additional counties.

Phillips had initially refused to issued licenses to same-sex couples, basing her decision on an opinion issued by Texas’ right-wing Attorney General Ken Paxton saying that clerks could refuse to issue marriage licenses if doing so were against their religious beliefs. However, the opinion also said everyone had to be accommodated, so someone in the office had to issue any couple a license. Lambda Legal has told Dallas Voice that county clerks can he held personally liable for damages if they refuse to uphold the law.

—  Tammye Nash

Beaumont holds first Pride parade

Maxey BeaumontFormer Texas state Rep. Glen Maxey was grand marshal of Beaumont’s first Pride parade.

Here’s what Maxey posted on his Facebook page about the event:

I spent an amazing day in Beaumont for their inaugural Pride Parade. See me splendidly perched on the back of a convertible (I was honored to the the Grand Marshall and cut the ribbon at the festival entrance! Thanks Jennifer Daniel and the Pride committee for the invite and honor! All successful Pride events have: a person with a large snake, very cute young men who organized this thing, and well appointed drag queens (from Sulphur Louisiana). Thanks southeast Texas!!! btw, they had a huge group in this parade (and not a single protestor, Klan siting, or Bible thumper (take that Houston, Austin and Dallas)!

Maxey Beau

—  David Taffet

Texas Senate hears testimony on bill to ban anti-LGBT job discrimination

Leticia Van de Putte

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte

For the first time in history, Texas senators considered a bill this morning that would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the Lone Star State.

The Senate Economic Development Committee heard testimony on SB 237, filed by state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio.

Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith said he and six other people testified about the personal impact and and positive effect on economic development the bill would have. Among the speakers were gay former state Rep. Glen Maxey and retired Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, who was the first Purple Heart recipient in the Iraq War.

Smith said Alva gave a “very compelling testimony” that spoke about his experience and support for the bill.

In addition, Craig Briscoe, vice president of human resources for Dell Inc., sent in a written testimony in support of the bill (read it here).

Jonathan Saenz with anti-gay Texas Values and three business organizations submitted written opposition but did not testify in person, Smith said.

Smith said overall he was impressed with the hearing and thought it went well. Concerns about an increase in lawsuits were brought up, but Smith said the bill doesn’t change the procedure for discrimination complaints. Instead, it adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s list of protected categories and complaints would be investigated like those based on race or religion.

Smith said Equality Texas and other advocates for the bill will work with lawmakers to dispel myths that businesses would be at a higher risk for lawsuits if the legislation is passed. He hopes to have enough votes to get the bill out of committee.

The committee’s seven members are: Chairman Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, Vice Chairman Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, and Kirk Watson, D-Austin.

Watch today’s committee hearing here.

—  Dallasvoice

State Rep.-elect Mary Gonzalez visits Stonewall Dems in Dallas, Fort Worth

Mary Gonzalez speaks at the Round-Up on Monday night.

State Rep.-elect Mary Gonzalez was the keynote speaker at a Stonewall Democrats of Dallas fundraiser Monday night at the Round-Up Saloon. She will appear at a fundraiser for Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats tonight at a private residence in Fort Worth.

Gonzalez won her El Paso primary election and faces no opposition in November. She will be the youngest member of the Legislature and the first LGBT woman to serve. Gonzalez made national news a second time when she came out as pansexual in an interview with Dallas Voice.

On Monday night, she said she hopes to develop a warm working relationship with Stonewall Democrats.

Although she hasn’t yet entered the House, it seems Gonzalez may already have her sites set on the Senate. She pointed out that only six women serve in the 31-member state Senate.

While she hopes to break down stereotypes among her colleagues once she enters the House, Gonzalez said she ran to help people in her district. Large areas of her far West Texas district are without electricity, running water and plumbing. She said she hopes to represent the area better than her predecessors, one of whom was indicted on drug trafficking charges.

The evening was a fundraiser for County Commission District 1 candidate Theresa Daniel and Sheriff Lupe Valdez. Commissioner Elba Garcia attended, although she is not up for reelection. Several other candidates including Judge Don Adams also attended. Former state Rep. Harryette Ehrhardt was there to greet the newest queer member of the Legislature.

Gonzalez is scheduled to appear tonight at Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats with Hon. Tonya Parker and former Rep. Glen Maxey.

More photos from Monday’s event below.

—  David Taffet

Texas LGBT leaders keynote Tarrant County Stonewall fall fundraiser

Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats is kicking off its fall fundraising efforts with a “Building on Legacies” event next Tuesday.

Former state Rep. Glen Maxey, state Rep.-elect Mary Gonzalez and Dallas County 116th Civil District Court Judge Tonya Parker are scheduled speak at the event.

Felipe Gutierrez, Stonewall president, said the event symbolizes the work in the past with Maxey, Parker’s current work and Gonzalez’s future work in the Texas House.

“Our goal was talking about the past, the work in the present and in the future and how we come together to work on issues,” he said.

The event is at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at the home of. Scott W. Green and Garrett Warren, at 3905 Summercrest Drive in Fort Worth.

General admission is $75. Sponsorships are also available for $250 (for two tickets, $500 for four tickets and $1,000 for six tickets. All sponsorships include donor recognition and an invitation to private donor cocktail party.

For tickets, contact Scott Green at sgreen6@sbcglobal.net. Deadline to RSVP is today or ASAP. For more info, go here.

—  Dallasvoice

Gonzalez profiled as ‘new face’ of El Paso politics

More like the new gay face of Texas politics.

In a profile about the future House District 75 Rep. Mary Gonzalez on the front page of Monday’s El Paso Times (shown at right), the 28-year-old is modeled as a “new face” for the district.

Gonzalez won her Democratic primary and will replace retiring state Rep. Chente Quintillia. She is unopposed in the general election.

Aside from being the first openly gay woman elected to the Texas Legislature, Gonzalez is also the first woman to represent the El Paso district. But Gonzalez “doesn’t dwell on those labels,” according to the article.

Instead, the eldest of 11 siblings will focus on how to improve the lives of families who face hardships from education to clean drinking water, remembering the time her house burned down and the community reached out to help her family.

Gonzalez recently told Dallas Voice after she won the primary that her passion lies with the impoverished unincorporated areas of her district and she wanted to bring better living conditions to the citizens there.

But her historic election has not gone unnoticed as she heads to Austin in January to serve as the second openly gay representative, after Glen Maxey, who served from 1991 to 2003. Her race – and election – drew a swarm of media attention. She told the El Paso Times the coverage was around 3,500 articles.

Read an in-depth interview with Gonzalez in an upcoming edition of Dallas Voice.

From the El Paso Times:

She added that there were times during her campaign that she questioned whether her gender, age or sexuality would work against her.

She focused on the issues, she said, and remembered her mother telling her that what she was facing was no harder than living in the colonias without basic infrastructure. That’s one of the key issues she hopes to address, Gonzalez said. “I am, of course, aware I’ve created this ‘history,’ but I always ran this race on issues,” she said. “I wanted people of El Paso to understand what legislators do and what they can do for them.”

“Do I think it’s important for people to see diversity in the Legislature? Yes, certainly,” Gonzalez continued. “But this campaign was not about me or the boxes people could put me into. It was about issues and having the qualifications to address them.”

What lies ahead, Gonzalez said, is more than mere politics.

“I think my whole life I’ve subscribed to the leadership style of inspiring and empowering groups and communities,” Gonzalez said. “If I can do that as a state legislator then I will have succeeded.”

—  Dallasvoice