Anti-gay factions challenge Houston equal rights ordinance

Parker

Mayor Annise Parker during the HERO debate

Opponents of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance turned in 50,000 signatures to get the issue on the November ballot. Only 17, 269 are needed. The city secretary’s office has 30 days to validate the signatures.

The ordinance passed on May 28. The Houston city charter allows a recall election on an issue if 10 percent of voters in the last election sign a petition. A recall against a mayor or council member requires 25 percent of voters in that election to sign a petition.

Until HERO was passed, Houston was the only major city in the United States without an equal rights ordinance of any sort. In addition to protecting the LGBT community, the ordinance puts into place protections based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, genetic information or pregnancy. None of these categories were protected by the city before the ordinance was enacted.

The anti-HERO forces have claimed the law allows men to dress as women so they may enter women’s restroom and attack little girls. There is no mention of bathrooms in the ordinance.

The city plans to defend the ordinance.

“The Houston I know does not discriminate, treats everyone equally and allows full participation by everyone in civic and business life,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “We don’t care where you come from, the color of your skin, your age, gender, what physical limitations you may have or whom you choose to love. I am confident voters will soundly defeat any challenge to the ordinance.”

—  David Taffet

Wendy Davis applauds passage of HERO

Sen. Wendy Davis

Sen. Wendy Davis

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis a statement about passage of Houston’s equal rights ordinance on Wednesday that bans discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity:

All people should be treated equally in every way, and I applaud the City of Houston for passing a measure that will help ensure those in the LGBT community and all Texans are treated fairly.

After the passage of a similar ordinance in San Antonio last September,  Davis said she hoped such measures would become “commonplace.”

In fact, such ordinances are common. Houston was the only major city in the U.S. without a nondiscrimination ordinance in place.

—  David Taffet

Houston continues to debate equal-rights ordinance

Parker

Mayor Annise Parker

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is expected to pass Wednesday evening.

Through the afternoon, the Houston City Council has been hearing public comments. Among the speakers was Rafael McDonnell from Resource Center, who said friends who are Houston activists asked him to attend. He told council members that in the 10 years since the Dallas ordinance passed, 53 complaints have been filed and all were settled or dismissed.

“Not one complaint went to adjudication,” he said.

He said the ordinance was designed to be a “golden rule.”

“If you know better, you do better,” he said. “It’s not designed to be punitive.”

Because the opposition came from churches, religious leaders who favor the ordinance spoke.

Gay Houston City Councilman Mike Laster’s pastor, Steve Wells, of South Main Baptist Church was among the speakers. Another speaker in favor was from the National Council on Jewish Women.

Former councilwoman Jolanda Jones said she often disagreed with Houston Mayor Annise Parker but completely agreed with her on this issue. She said that voting against the ordinance because of the LGBT issue would be like “throwing out the baby with the bath water.” Refusing to vote for equality for the LGBT community would also deny equality based on race, religion and a list of other characteristics.

A mother spoke about her transgender son and addressed the accusations that have been thrown at the trans community during debate on the ordinance.

“My son is not confused,” she said. “My son is not a predator. My son is a good student and a good person.”

Several speakers said they opposed the amendment and called it words like “unjust” without explaining what ways an equality ordinance was unfair.

—  David Taffet

Houston pastor pleas for right to discriminate … against Jews

Cohen.Ellen

Houston Councilwoman Ellen Cohen

Pastor Becky Riggle of Grace Community Church in Houston stood before Houston City Council this week to give her opinion on HERO, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

Pastor Riggle thinks it’s OK to discriminate, as long as you’re doing it in the name of religion. Let’s be clear, when Pastor Riggle suggests a need for a religious exemption, she’s not just talking about discriminating against gays, lesbians and transgenders.

City Councilwoman Ellen Cohen asked the good pastor if it was OK to discriminate against her since she’s Jewish. Cohen had to ask several times and Pastor Riggle said yes, but that’s not the issue.

The good pastor didn’t explain why it wasn’t the issue since the ordinance protects people from discrimination based on a list of categories, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion among them.

Bigots like Riggle weren’t the majority of people who came to City Hall and the proceedings weren’t as contentious as those in San Antonio last year.

Equality Texas Field Organizer Daniel Williams was at Houston City Hall.

“Fortunately Pastor Riggle does not represent the vast majority of Houston clergy,” Williams said. “In public testimony supportive clergy have outnumbered those in opposition two to one and more than 70 faith leaders in Houston have signed a letter in support of the HERO.”

The vast majority of clergy understand that all forms of discrimination are wrong. They understand they could be the next target. Perfect example: Pastor Riggle thinks she has the right to discriminate against Councilwoman Cohen because the councilwoman is Jewish.

A vote on HERO is delayed two weeks and in the mean time, I think good Houstonians should demonstrate to the pastor just what discrimination looks like. The checker at the supermarket should tell her he’s not going to ring up her groceries. The dry cleaner should refuse to take her clothes. The waitress at her favorite restaurant should refuse her service. Each should explain they’re religion requires them to refuse service to bigots.

Here’s the video of the good pastor’s ugly comments:

—  David Taffet

QUEER CLIP: ‘THE IDES OF MARCH’

Queer-PicksRyan Gosling has discovered a cool little niche for himself recently: He gives equal time to parading around shirtless showing off his abs on magazine covers and in digestible Hollywood pabulum (Crazy Stupid Love, The Notebook) and staring off blankly under the guise of acting in regrettable art films (Drive, All Good Things). That formula has won him praise by easily fooled critics, who appear to be the target audience for The Ides of March, a slow and pretentious political thriller in which Gosling gets to be the love interest and the intellectual hero, all without betraying anything bordering on genuine emotion.

Set during a presidential primary, it’s little more than a middling episode of The West Wing, laden down with a weak performance by Evan Rachel Wood, a contrived, unconvincing political scandal involving candidate George Clooney (who also directs, woodenly) and even a self-important title. Vote “no” on this ballot measure. Please, Ryan, just strip and stop trying.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Two stars. In wide release.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

François Sagat Is Terry Richardson’s All American Hero

I mean, I guess if you take a marker and scrawl "Don't Ask Don't Tell" on the ass of porn star and "actor" François Sagat, a Terry Richardson photoshoot (possibly NSFW) becomes activist art, rather than simply muscle worship, yes?

CONTINUED »


Permalink | 2 comments | Add to del.icio.us


Tagged: , ,

Queerty

—  David Taffet

Video: Focus staffer frustrated by SOTU’s gay presence. No, not you yourself, American hero Daniel Hernandez — just the part that makes you more equal

You’d be hard-pressed to find many Americans from any political stripe who’d consider President Obama’s mention of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal to be one of their most frustrating parts of last night’s State of the Union. But then again, most Americans don’t work at Focus on the Family:

Okay, first off, Ashley: We on the pro-equality side worked even harder. For years. With actual human lives and emotions attached. We worked in every way possible to come to the bipartisan vote that ultimately went in our favor. A vote that will ultimately allow brave Americans like Daniel Hernandez to serve without added fears. A vote that the majority of the American public clearly supports. A vote that was long overdue.

So please, Ash: Spare us the “but we wanted it” rationale! We wanted it more, obviously.

Oh, and speaking of sparing us: If you’re going to cite a poll, don’t cite one that was conducted by a Republican polling firm and commissioned by the Center For Military Readiness (Elaine Donnelly’s organization) and the Family Research Council! Especially not where there is so much actual data available.

You may not realize it, Ashley, but when you get to this part about the supposed “57% of military personnel and families,” your whole characterization changes. You stutter. You look like you are trying to convince rather than inform. There’s a noticeable difference that immediately made us go, “wait a minute, she’s using that B.S. poll, isn’t she?!

We don’t expect such poll utilization to change during your Focus on the Family employ, Ashley, as “pro-family” advocacy is built on squeezing “data” into a preconceived script. But just as constructive feedback, we thought you’d want to know that on this one: The disingenuous mask cracked. Hopefully when we inevitably when the rest of our equality, you’ll bring the full Streep.




Good As You

—  admin

Gay Tucson Hero to Sit with First Lady at SOTU

DANIEL HERNANDEZ X390 (AP) | ADVOCATE.COMDaniel Hernandez, Jr., the gay intern credited with saving the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords when she was shot in Tucson, will sit next to First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday at the State of the Union address.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Hernandez: I Am Not a Hero

DANIEL HERNANDEZ X390President Obama calls Daniel Hernandez a “hero” for helping to save the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — a label Hernandez says he appreciates but doesn’t think fits.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

WATCH: Gay intern Daniel Hernandez, who saved Gabrielle Giffords’ life, on CNN

On Sunday morning Instant Tea broke the news that Daniel Hernandez Jr., the intern credited with saving the life of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords after Saturday’s shooting, is gay.

Unfortunately, just a few hours after we posted this exclusive story, our website went down for maintenance. Talk about bad timing!

Anyhow, we thought we’d follow up on our little scoop by sharing Hernandez’s interview with CNN, in which he refuses to take credit for saving Giffords’ life.

“People have been referring to me as a hero. I don’t think that’s something that I am,” Hernandez tells CNN. “I think the people who are heroes are the people like Gabby who are public servants and who have dedicated their lives to public service. So it just makes me happy that I was able to help her in any way that I could.”

Spoken like a true gay Latino hero.

—  John Wright