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

If you like it build a museum to it, Houston may get Beyoncé monument

I'm sure the plans for the failed 555 ft "Spirit of Houston" statue are still in a drawer somewhere. Just make it more bootylicious and put a ring on it.

Hometown heroes have always been honored with monuments; from Hannibal, Missouri’s Mark Twain Museum to Cleveland’s memorial to President Garfield, from Atchison, Kansas’ Amelia Earhart museum, to Concord, Ohio’s John Glenn historic site. Pity Houston! Which scion of our fair burg will rise up from the shackles of obscurity to clasp the liberty of immortality that only a dedicated monument can bring?

Beyoncé Knowles, that’s who, at least according to two men who skyped with Fox 26 and are expecting the Mayor to endorse their plans any day now. Steve White and Marcus Mitchell of Armdeonce Ventures say they want to honor the newly minted musical mother with a “statue or museum.” According to Mitchell,

““Our biggest thing is a lot of people get honored when they die, so our goal is to why not honor people why they’re still here? We felt as though it’s her time to be honored. We wanted to construct, like, a massive hall so as the doors open, if you donated to the monument, you’ll have a separate nameplate.”

Armdeonce Ventures has offices in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Houston according to it’s website. The Beyoncé Monument is the only project currently listed on the site.

Watch the Fox 26 interview with the visionary twosome after the break.

—  admin

GLBT Community Center offers Christmas Dinner

GLBT Community CenterFor many, Christmas is a time for family, but as we all know, not everyone in the LGBT community is on the best terms with their family, and for others financial concerns keep them from traveling during the holidays. For those of us spending the holidays alone (or those of us who just enjoy a good potluck) the Houston GLBT Community Center, in cooperation with the AIDS Housing Coalition Houston, is hosting a Christmas potluck at the Center’s offices at  the Historic Dow School (1901 Kane). There is no charge for the Potluck and Turkey and Ham will be provided. Those attending may bring a side dish to share but should not feel obligated to bring anything if they are not able.

“The Center family is thrilled to partner with Matt Locklin and AIDS Housing Coalition Houston on this Christmas luncheon,” said Tim Brookover, president of the center. “We hope people will join us who don’t have plans for the holiday — or maybe need a break from the plans they have! Christmas and your GLBT family. Now that’s festive!”

If you would like to volunteer or make a contribution to offset expenses, contact AHCH executive director Matt Locklin at ahch@wt.net.

—  admin

Iconic LGBT activist Ray Hill files for Texas House seat

Ray Hill

Ray Hill

Long time Houston LGBT activist Ray Hill filed paperwork this week to run for the 147th Texas House seat against incumbent Garnet Coleman, D – Houston. The iconic (and iconoclastic) Hill said that he and Coleman agree on many issues but that he had “some issues  that aren’t on the table in Austin.”

Specifically Hill has concerns with the legislature’s approach to criminal justice issues. “The Texas legislature is a serial world class red-necking competition,” says Hill. “What they are doing on criminal justice is wrong and it doesn’t work… we need a serious rethink.”

Coleman has a strong history of supporting LGBT legislation. For the last three sessions he has attempted to pass anti-bullying legislation that would require school districts to report instances of bullying using an enumerated list of motivating characteristics that include both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, he has also filed legislation to remove the the crime of “homosexual conduct” from the Texas penal code (a law that has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court), to equalize age of consent laws in Texas and to add gender identity and expression to the state’s hate crime law. In the 82nd legislature earlier this year Coleman authored seven pieces of legislation designed to create greater equality for LGBT people, including the first ever filing of legislation to standardize change of gender marker procedures for the transgender community and the first effort to repeal the state’s constitutional prohibition against marriage equality.

Hill recognizes Coleman’s historic contributions, “The incumbent and I agree on a lot of issues,” says Hill, “but we don’t tell young gay people ‘if you work real hard and go to school and do your best you can grow up to have straight friends in Austin who like you.’ No, we tell them ‘if you work hard they can grow up to be Mayor of Houston, or City Supervisor of San Francisco.’”

When asked why the community would be better served by him than Coleman, a 20 year legislative veteran, Hill replies “I understand how government works. A freshman legislator can’t do anything more than irritate, but that’s about all any member of the minority party can do. On that level the incumbent and I are on the same level… I think we need somebody obnoxious [in the legislature] who’s going to purposefully rub the cat hair the wrong direction.”

Since being elected to the legislature for the first time in 1992 Coleman has been unopposed in 5 of his 9 primary reelection bids. No primary challenger to Coleman has pulled more than 21% of the vote.

—  admin

Secretary of State Clinton delivers historic speech on LGBT rights at U.N. in Geneva

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

In what LGBT equality advocates are heralding as a remarkable and historic speech, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today told diplomats from around the world that LGBT rights are universal human rights, equal to women’s rights and racial equality, and that the United States, under the administration of President Barack Obama, will from now on take a country’s treatment of its LGBT citizens into consideration when making decisions on awarding foreign aid to that country.

Clinton delivered the speech before a gathering at the United Nations in Geneva, home of the U.N.’s human rights body.

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said that with today’s speech Clinton “distinguished herself as a legendary champion of rights for all people.”  With her “remarkable speech,” Solmonese added, Clinton “showed the power of American leadership that calls on the world to live up to the idea that all people are entitled to basic human rights and dignity. There is no question that the administration’s record of advancing equality for LGBT people has been enhanced by the leadership of Secretary Clinton.”

In a statement released shortly after the speech, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey thanked Clinton for “taking to the world stage to send the unequivocal message that LGBT people everywhere should be able to live freely and with dignity.”

Clinton’s speech, Carey added, “made it clear that the fair and equal treatment of LGBT people worldwide is a moral imperative and a priority and legitimate concern in U.S. foreign policy.”

Clinton delivered her address shortly after the White House Press Office released a statement announcing that President Obama had sent out a presidential memorandum instructing U.S. diplomatic officers and agencies to “promote and protect” the rights of LGBT persons abroad.

We will publish the full transcript of Secretary Clinton’s speech as soon as it becomes available to us.

—  admin

Sign of the Times: A lovely way to confuse tourists

Spotted at the corner of Lovett Blvd and Yoakum Blvd. One of Montrose’s historic tile street signs modified to convey the true spirit of the neighborhood.

Love

 

—  admin

Queer Bingo at GLBT Community Center

Tanya Hyde

The fabulous Ms. Tanya Hyde

The Houston GLBT Community Center hosts its Queer Bingo on the first Saturday of each month. Hosting this month’s festivities is self proclaimed living legend, and queen of all Montrose, drag performer Tanya Hyde. Queer Bingo benefits the Center’s John Lawrence and Tyrone Garner Scholarship Fund (that’s John Lawrence, of Lawrence v. Texas fame) and other center programs.

Doors open at 4 pm, with games kicking off at 4:30.  In addition to cash prizes for Bingo, the event features fabulous door prizes,  a raffle, and bar service courtesy of Capital Beverage.

“We invite all our community friends to join us for First Saturday Queer Bingo, have fun playing games with their friends, and support scholarships for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender scholars,” Center president Tim Brookover says.  “We have a great time every month as we benefit our scholarship fund and other Center programs.”

Queer Bingo takes place at the GLBT Community Center’s headquarters at the historic Dow School (1900 Kane).

—  admin

Historic Gay Sex Convictions Expunged

FeatherstoneU.K. men with historic convictions for gay sex with a partner over 16 years old will have records of their crimes expunged next year.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Kagan Confirmed; Historic Number of Women Now Seated on the Bench

Only moments ago, Solicitor General Elena Kagan was confirmed as the newest Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The Senate voted 63-37 with five Republicans voting in favor of her confirmation and one Democrat voting against it.

HRC President Joe Solomonese released the following statement: “We commend the Senate for confirming Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. She has demonstrated an understanding of the need for equality for all Americans and her record indicates she may be more familiar with how laws and policies affect the LGBT community than any previously confirmed Justice.”

On July 1, after thoroughly reviewing her record and her responses to questions posed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, HRC formally announced its endorsement of Kagan. In her testimony before the Committee, she indicated an understanding of the important issues facing many Americans, including those who are LGBT. Her opening statement pointed out what she saw as the command to every justice – the pursuit of Equal Justice Under Law – and argued for a “fair shake for every American.” She also took the opportunity to clarify a statement from her Solicitor General confirmation regarding the lack of a constitutional right to marry for same-sex couples as simply an assessment of where the law currently stands.

Kagan’s record shows she has worked on LGBT issues during many phases of her career. While in the Clinton White House, she was involved in LGBT issues ranging from expanding hate crimes legislation to preventing employment discrimination to increasing funding for HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment. As Dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan supported the LGBT community and passionately defended the school’s sexual orientation anti-discrimination policy when it conflicted with the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law – a law she called “a profound wrong – a moral injustice of the first order.”

Kagan will be the fourth woman to serve on our nation’s highest court and the third woman sitting on the current Supreme Court, marking the highest representation of women on the Court in its history. In addition, she will be the only member of the current Court to have not previously served as a judge – which ends the recent historical anomaly of having a Court comprised entirely of justices that entered the Court from the bench. This increased diversity will help provide greater perspectives to the Court, particularly regarding how the law affects everyday people, including LGBT Americans.

Learn more about federal judicial nominations and follow our work on these crucial issues on HRC’s Equality in the Courts by visiting: www.HRC.org/EqualityInTheCourts.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright