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

A beer by any other name…

On the long list of ridiculous Texas laws the alcoholic beverage code would have to take up about half the space (although that whole “no marriage equality” thing is pretty far up there), but it seems like at least a part of our antiquated system of booze laws is getting an update. Under current state law “beer” can contain no more than 4% alcohol by volume, anything greater and it must be labeled as “ale” or “malt liquor.” If a recent ruling by US District Court Judge Sam Sparks holds that’s about to change.

A group of brewers sued the state arguing that the current restrictions violated their free speech. The judge agreed, and in a hilarious ruling poked fun at the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for thinking they can redefine words by legislative fiat, and gave a shout-out to Austin’s annual bat festival.  From Austin360.com:

“TABC’s argument, combined with artful legislative drafting, could be used to justify any restrictions on commercial speech. For instance, Texas would likely face no (legal) obstacle if it wished to pass a law defining the word ‘milk’ to mean ‘a nocturnal flying mammal that eats insects and employs echolocation.’ Under TABC’s logic, Texas would then be authorized to prohibit use of the word ‘milk’ by producers of a certain liquid dairy product, but also to require Austin promoters to advertise the famous annual ‘Milk Festival’ on the Congress Avenue Bridge.”

 

—  admin

Local briefs • 10.14.11

RCD hosts ‘The 5 Factor’

Resource Center Dallas, in partnership with Dallas Modern Luxury, presents the third annual “The 5 Factor” event on Thursday, Oct. 20, at eM the venue by Marc, 1500 Dragon St. in Dallas.

“The 5 Factor” event recognizes five of Dallas’ finest in areas such as cuisine, fashion, media and literature.

This year’s “5 Factor” honorees are journalist and award-winning author Jenny Block; Emmy Award-winning journalist Ron Corning, who recently joined WFAA Channel 8 as the host of News 8 Daybreak; Dallas restaurant owner Monica Greene of Monica’s Aca Y Alla in Deep Ellum and BEE in Oak Cliff, who recently began providing commentary on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars for WFAA; award-winning fashion designer Prashi Shah who created her own label, Prashe, and recently opened a showroom in Dallas’ Design District; and Bronwen Weber, executive chef and general manager of Frosted Art Bakery and Studio in Dallas who is perhaps best known to many for her appearances on television’s Food Network Challenge programs.

The evening will be hosted by Angela Betasso, with state Rep. Eric L. Johnson and his wife as co-chairs and last year’s honorees serving as the honorary host committee.

General admission is $50 per person, available online at The5Factor.org. Proceeds benefit the programs and services of Resource Center Dallas.

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GLAAD holds ‘Get Amped’ 5K

The local chapter of GLAAD presents Get Amped, a 5K run/walk on the Katy Trail on Thursday, Oct. 20, in conjunction with similar chapter events around the country.
Check-in begins at 5:30 p.m. at the American Airlines Center.

The starting gun goes off at 7 p.m. The celebration takes place at the finish line, also at the arena, at 9 p.m.

An after-party takes place at 9:30 p.m. at the Round-Up Saloon.

Each runner has a goal of raising $250. The money raised will benefit the national organization.

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VNA holds Service of Remembrance

The Visiting Nurse Association will host a Service of Remembrance on Sunday, Nov. 6, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Preston Hollow United Methodist Church, 6315 Walnut Hill Lane in Dallas.

The event is open to the public and will feature special music, readings and the opportunity to light a memorial candle.

Attendees of all faiths are welcome to attend the service.

For more information call Sue Rafferty, bereavement coordinator with the Visiting Nurse Association, at 214-689-2922

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Auditions for Resounding Harmony & The Women’s Chorus

Sing it like ya mean it

For those with major vocal talents, tonight could be your night. Think of it. Packed venues, a plethora of like-minded individuals all singing in unison. And those snazzy outfits. The philanthropic-based group Resounding Harmony holds auditions tonight for its fourth season as does The Women’s Chorus of Dallas, as it prepares for its upcoming season. Although each have criteria for auditioning, you shouldn’t have too much problem getting on the process. Unless you’re auditioning for both, then more power to ya.

DEETS: Resounding Harmony auditions at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church, 3014 Oak Lawn Ave. 7 p.m. Visit website for more information. To register for TWCD auditions, visit here.

—  Rich Lopez

And now a man who holds meetings to eliminate my legal marriage will call me an ‘aggressor’

Screen Shot 2011-01-13 At 7.39.02 PmBrian Brown’s latest e-blast is a real piece of work. Here’s just one snip from his faux-victimization:

But for me the worst part of the gay marriage debate is this eliminationist quality coming (in my experience, and of course I’m speaking only about public and visible organizations and spokespeople) almost exclusively from one side: activists who support gay marriage.

They’ve said over and over again, until they’ve totally convinced themselves, that there really is “no legitimate argument” against gay marriage, no reason why marriage in virtually every known society is a union of husband and wife.

They do not see themselves as behaving aggressively when they insist that all good people now support the redefinition of marriage, so the public and political resistance of others to their new views on marriage strikes them as incredibly aggressive.

Having already redefined marriage in their heads, living in progressive bubbles and talking mostly with folks who agree with them, too many have concluded that our words must simply be cover for some dark desire to make other people’s lives miserable.

I’ve come to believe that this is not merely tactical on their part; they really experience the world in this way, which makes me sad.

If you say, “The ideal for a child is a mom and a dad,” they hear something very different, something which sounds more like, “You hate me and my family—you want to attack me.”

I’m not sure what it is possible to do about reactions like that. Many parents are not married, and all responsible parents deserve respect. But an America where our ideal is seen as a vicious and hateful attack?

FULL PIECE: NOM National Marriage News: Defining the “Culture of Hate” [NOM]

Oh, where to even begin? We’re gonna take this one free form:

(A) We’re not “redefining marriage in our heads,” Brian — we have marriage equality in five states and D.C (and civil unions in others). And we had full marriage equality in other states as well, until groups like NOM stepped in and A.G.G.R.E.S.S.I.V.E.L.Y. took it away!

(B) We haven’t “convinced ourselves” that there’s no legitimate argument under American civil law to deny our marriage equality: Our continued studies on the subject have fully convinced us that our position is 100% right under the law of our shared land. That’s a major distinction.

(C) We’re not really ascribing the moral component to the fight that Brian suggests we are. Yes, most of us think that marriage equality for same-sex couples is the “good” thing to do. But it’s not about “good” or “bad” people, at least not on the grand scale. It’s about the constitution. It’s about the rights of citizenship. It’s about due process and equal protection. Personal “niceness” is a silly aside.

(D) The anti-marriage equality movement is RIFE with “ex-gay” rhetoric. And we’re not talking in the abstract: We’re talking about close NOM allies like Cornerstone Policy Research and the Iowa Family Policy Council, who are quite literally pushing scientifically-discredited “gays can change” rhetoric. You can call that many things. We certainly consider it an “eliminationist” campaign, targeted towards our very cores of existence.

(E) It’s extremely rich for someone like Brian to say that gay activists talk “mostly with folks who agree with them.” Because we are the ones who always go in and doggedly take on any and every thing that the opposition puts forth. They’re the ones who so frequently ignore what we’re actually saying in favor of their own spin!!! or they just ban/delete our comments outright.

(F) Brian says of gays: “too many have concluded that our words must simply be cover for some dark desire to make other people’s lives miserable.” Uhm, no, Brian: We don’t have to form calculated conclusions on this subject — WE LIVE IT! For example, the day after the Prop 8 vote? We were miserable! Hell, this writer had his planned California wedding forcibly cancelled (though ultimately only moved to CT) because of that vote! I didn’t sit around and think about the most tactical way I could question basic decency on this and other NOM-crafted days: I experienced it! Organically!

(G) No Brian, when you say “The ideal for a child is a mom and a dad,” we don’t hear hate. Instead we hear your personal opinion on the subject of parenting. The only reason — THE ONLY REASON — why this personal opinion exits your own head and gets on our nerves is because you are trying to (a) base an entire civil marriage campaign around this legally ancillary notion of child-rearing, and (b) codify that personal parental opinion into law!

(H) If even one prominent gay activist was truly seeking to alter the lives of even one person of faith, then there would be a little more merit to the “gays are the aggressors” claims. But this is not the case. In this contrived, two-sided conversation, there is only one group that is tangibly stifling the rights of their neighbors. That’s a fact that remains true, no matter how much code-wording NOM crafts.

(I) What do you do about our reactions to your work, Brian? YOU FIND ANOTHER FRIGGIN’ CAREER PATH! Because frankly, we’re pretty sick of you using our backs to write your annual tax return.




Good As You

—  admin

POST-HEARINGS: White House Holds Meeting With DADT Repeal Groups

Following today’s conclusion of the Joint Chiefs’ testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the White House hosted an off-the-record meeting with members of various DADT pro-repeal groups. Chris Geidner reports at Metro Weekly that today’s was the largest of several such recent meetings.

Two people who attended the meeting but asked to remain anonymous because of the off-the-record nature of the meeting told Metro Weekly that those organizations that were represented included Center for American Progress, Human Rights Campaign, Log Cabin Republicans, National Black Justice Coalition, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, OutServe, People for the American Way, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Servicemembers United, Stonewall Democrats and Third Way. [Politico's Josh Gerstein, who first reported the news, also reported that representatives from OutServe and the Palm Center attended the meeting, a fact confimed to Metro Weekly by a third attendee.] As such, it would make it the largest of several such White House meetings held about DADT repeal this year. The two attendees of the meeting said that the White House was represented at the meeting by Christopher Kang, White House legislative affairs; Christina Tchen, director of the public engagement office; Brian Bond, deputy director of public engagement; and representatives from the Domestic Policy Council and White House Counsel’s Office.

According to Metro Weekly, White House representatives expressed optimism that a Senate vote on DADT will take place before the end of the year. One attendee reported that the meeting did not feel like pandering: “I know it wasn’t. I’ve been mollified before, and this wasn’t mollification.”

Read Chris Geidner’s full report.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

The 42 Member Senate GOP Holds Its Breath and Stomps Their 84 Feet- While MY Rep LEADS.

HuffPo has the letter here

Reason Number- what? Seven Billion and Twelve?- as to why I love my “Congress Critter”, Maine’s First Congressional District Representative Chellie Pingree.

First off. I can’t photoshop all 42 of these yutzes acting like spoiled widdle children with puffy blue faces, so this will have to do:



WASHINGTON – Extortion apparently is the name of the game for Republicans in the Senate.

Today, all 42 GOP senators signed a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., stating that they will blockage all legislation in the lame-duck session this month if they don’t get their way on government spending and on extending the Bush tax cuts.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and GOP whip Jon Kyle threatened to block any attempts to vote on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which is attached to the national defense bill.

Harry Reid quickly and decisively fired back, with all the heat, emotion and force we’ve come to expect from him:


Reid sharply rebuked the Republican maneuver.

“With this letter, they have simply put in writing the political strategy that the Republicans pursued this entire Congress — namely obstruct, delay, obstruct, delay action on critical matters and then blame the Democrats for not addressing the needs of the American people,” the Nevada Democrat said on the Senate floor.

YAWN. So we can pretty much see that this is gonna be a clusterf*ck- until someone gets the gumption to just DO this, already!

Enter Chellie Pingree, who had something to say today about this partisan mess- and priorities:



Mr. Speaker, in the remaining days of this Congress we have some choices to make- and those choices couldn’t be more clear.

Are we going to extend tax cuts for the rich, giving millionaires an average tax break of over 0,000?

Or are we going to continue unemployment benefits of about 5 a week for out of work Americans?

Are we going to approve a giveaway to high paid CEOs that the Congressional Budget Office puts at the bottom of their list of what will stimulate the economy?

Or are we going to extend the unemployment benefits that the CBO puts at the top of that same list?

Are we going to hand out tax breaks to the wealthy that will add 0 billion to the deficit?

Or are we going to keep funding unemployment checks that generate   in economic activity for every in benefits paid.

The American people sent us here to set priorities and make tough choices.  Putting American workers ahead of millionaires and billionaires should be our priority and shouldn’t be a tough choice to make.

Damn, but I do so love having Chellie represent me!

So what is she gonna be doing tomorrow? Check out this media advisory I got late today:


ADVISORY: Tomorrow (Thursday) Congresswoman Chellie Pingree to lead important debate on tax cuts for the middle class

WHAT:  

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree will lead the debate in the House on a bill that would extend tax cuts for the middle class while ending tax breaks for those  making over 0,000 (or couples making over 0,000)

WHERE:

U.S. House of Representatives. CSPAN 1 (channel 16 on Time Warner in greater Portland)

WHEN:

Tomorrow (Thursday) Approximately 10:00 am. Congresswoman Pingree will open the debate with a 3-5 minute statement and will make additional comments during the debate that follows.

BACKGROUND:

Tax cuts for the middle class and the wealthy will expire at the end of the month if Congress does not act. Congresswoman Pingree and other Democrats have argued that tax breaks for the wealthy should expire because they do little to encourage economic growth and will add 0 billion to the deficit, while extending the tax breaks for working families.   Republicans want to extend tax breaks for everyone, including the wealthiest taxpayers.

So here’s what I propose to the Blenders: Call your Congress critters, no matter whether they are in the Senate or the House. Either encourage those who are doing a good/great job and thank them- let them know YOU appreciate their fighting for YOU- or scold the living bejeezus outta the ones who are not only acting like petulant children, but hurting the hell out of our country.  
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

New Delhi holds first pride celebration since the decriminalization of homosexuality

Over 2,000 out and proud lesbian, gay, bisexual and trandgender people and their straight friends marched through India’s capitol today in the 3rd annual pride parade.

Today is about saying that we are gay and we are proud. We are not going anywhere, we are a part of society, and today we can celebrate being different.” –Amit Agrawal, a parade organizer

Past pride marches were held in protest against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a colonial-era nugget which criminalized consensual sex between adult same-sex couples.  But this year was all about celebration because on July 2, 2009 the High Court of New Delhi ruled that Section 377 no longer applies to same-sex couples.  

Last year it was about protest, but this year it is all about celebration. It has only been a year, but it has been a huge year.”  –Hillol Dutta, gay activist

As we all know, changing the law doesn’t erase the bigotry in people’s hearts and many gay Indians still enter into the closet of heterosexual marriages.  But the positive effects of the High Court’s ruling are already being felt.  Mohnish Malhotra, another if the pride parade’s organizers said that

{Because}…gays and lesbians can no longer be legally prosecuted…this has had a visible trickle-down effect on people’s attitude to homosexuality on a grass-root level, at least in urban areas.  ”We are no longer considered criminals – people in general have become more tolerant,” he says. [snip]

Since Section 377 was struck down, many of Delhi’s hottest venues have started hosting gay-themed nights and businesses openly targeting gay consumers have sprung up in a variety of sectors. They include lifestyle magazine “Fun,” web-based travel agent “Indjapink“, and the specialized online bookstore “Queer Ink.”

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Openarms Youth Project holds It Gets Better Rally

The Openarms Youth Project featured in the New York Times and located in Tulsa, Oklahoma had a “It Gets Better” rally to show support for the area’s LGBT youth in response to the epidemic of teen suicides in response to being bullied for their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

I personally attended the event and the stories that were shared and program was incredibly moving. A friend of mine, Professor Laura Belmont, was interrupted by a group who loudly drove their truck parallel to the rally and screamed unintelligible gibberish while she tried to speak. I heard something to the effect of “Lesbians… blah! blah! blah!” Laura responded gracefully and humorously, and continued on but it was a fine example of why those teens need our support. The teen years are hard enough without being isolated as some kind of pariah, and even assaulted, for your actual or perceived sexual orientation.

Please read the comments at the end of the article as another example of just how necessary it is to work for changing the climate of hate, willful ignorance and intolerance that exists here at ground zero that is ripe for needed change.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

P-Town Holds LGBT Youth Suicide Vigil

Last night JMG reader Scott emailed us these cell-cam photos of Provincetown’s vigil for LGBT youth. Don’t forget tonight’s vigil in NYC, mentioned two posts below this one.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright