Parker’s opponent was for equality before he was against it

ben hall

Ben Hall

HOUSTON — While none of Mayor Annise Parker’s opponents expected much support from the LGBT community, her main opponent, Ben Hall, has been going out of his way to alienate any support he might have received. His strategy might be to solidify his support among those who dislike her for no other reason than she is lesbian. Parker has run always been honest with voters about her sexual orientation and has won eight previous citywide elections.

Out Smart magazine said Hall was for equality before he was against it.

Here’s what the Houston GLBT Political Caucus said about him on their Facebook page.

Houston mayoral candidate Ben Hall, during an interview on KUHF today, came out fully against equality for the LGBT community. He stated his opposition to an inclusive non-discrimination ordinance, and vowed to deny members of the transgender community the ability to use restrooms in public buildings. This is a substantial departure from positions Hall took earlier this year in discussions with Caucus president Noel Freeman, when he offered his support for enacting an inclusive non-discrimination ordinance, and also with the Harris County Democratic Party on whose candidate questionnaire he also offered support for such an ordinance. Simply put, Ben Hall is a liar who will say anything to get elected.

Parker has hammered Hall on paying his taxes late. He has incurred more than $100,000 in penalties and interest.

Parker is running for her third and final term as mayor of Houston. The election is Nov. 5.

—  David Taffet

Jon Buice denied parole in gay Houston man’s 1991 murder

Jon BuiceNot surprisingly, Jon Buice will stay behind bars for at least another year.

Buice is the only remaining assailant out of the 10 teens who beat up and killed Paul Broussard in 1991 in an anti-gay attack in Houston’s Montrose area.

While he was granted parole two years ago, the decision was later reversed. Since then, efforts by his attorney and gay activist Ray Hill have ramped up to help him be released. Broussard’s mother and Houston victim advocate Andy Kahan have pushed for Buice to remain in jail at least 27 years, the age Broussard was when he was murdered.

Statewide advocacy group Equality Texas has supported the efforts to keep Buice in prison.  So have many LGBT-friendly state lawmakers.

—  Dallasvoice

Attendance swells at Pride across U.S., including Houston, San Antonio

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Organizers said the San Antonio Pride Parade was the biggest in its 10-year history. More than 400,000 turned out for Houston Pride.

The Pride Bigger than Texas festival in San Antonio attracted about 5,000 people. That was followed by the parade on Main Avenue with more than 15,000 lining the street.

The large crowds for Pride parades around the country celebrated the Prop 8 and Defense of Marriage Act victories in the Supreme Court last week.

In New York, home of the first Pride parade 44 years ago, 2 million people typically turn out for the event. This year, the city estimated 3 million celebrated in the wake of the victories. Edie Windsor, plaintiff in the case that struck down DOMA, was grand marshal.

“I love it obviously,” she said. “If someone had told me 50 years ago that I would be the marshal of New York City gay Pride parade in 2013 at the age of 84, I never would have believed it.”

In California, same-sex marriage resumed on Friday. Later, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the DOMA opinion, turned down a request by the plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case to delay the beginning of marriage equality while they file a petition for rehearing by the high court.

San Francisco’s Pride parade, which usually draws 1 million, attracted a few hundred thousand more participants this year.

Among those participating in the parade were House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Marriage equality passed in Delaware earlier this year and the state began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples today.

—  David Taffet

Log Cabin condemns Harris Co. GOP official for implying gays are pedophiles

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Log Cabin Republicans is angered at the Texas GOP, and especially the Harris County Republican Party, for the gay-baiting and hateful treatment of a precinct chair applicant.

Christopher Busby, vice president of the Houston chapter of Log Cabin, had an interview in April with the county party for a precinct chair vacancy after his application last summer went missing.

But Busby was asked outlandish questions about gay issues, whether he supports pedophilia and sex education for young schoolchildren because he is a Log Cabin member. He was denied the position, which remains vacant. Harris County Republican Party Vacancy Committee member Terry Lowry was the person who continued to insinuate Busby’s connection to LCR meant he supports pedophilia.

“Since learning about this outrageous incident last week, the Log Cabin Republicans National office has attempted to work in good faith with the Harris County Republican Party, the Texas State Republican Party, and the Republican National Committee on this issue, but our best efforts to secure a simple condemnation of Terry Lowry and his mind-boggling ignorance were met with hand-sitting,” LCR Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo said in a statement.

“Ultimately the members of the Vacancy Committee and County Chairman Jared Woodfill, who appointed them, have rejected Reagan and the big-tent philosophy which has made our party what it is today. Terry Lowry needs to resign, Christopher Busby needs to be appointed to fill that vacancy, and the Harris County GOP needs to get its act together unless it wants to bear the responsibility for handing Texas to the Democrats on a silver platter in 2014.”

Houston Chronicle blogger and LCR member David Jennings blogged about the incident:

One of the members of the committee that I talked to today said that what happened during that meeting was  ”criminal” and that they would resign because of it. Another member told me that they were “appalled by the treatment of that young man”. Yet another said that it was “gay baiting” and that one person on the committee “implied that the only reason gays want to be a part of the party is to relax laws so that they can molest little boys”. A precinct chair in attendance to observe the meeting said that “they tried to bait the guy into admitting that he was a pedophile.”

Busby later responded to the blog, saying that he was dismayed that his years of dedication to the Republican Party went unnoticed by the committee. He told Dallas Voice he plans to run for precinct chair without the committee’s blessing during an election.

—  Dallasvoice

Texas GOP lawmaker pledges support for gay rights, says party is changing

State Rep. Sarah Davis

State Rep. Sarah Davis

AUSTIN — Log Cabin Republicans from across Texas met in Austin this weekend to share ideas on the Republican Party’s growing support for gay rights and how they could influence lawmakers in the state to back equality.

Members from Dallas, Houston and Austin chapters attended the first-ever statewide conference, as well as a few people from San Antonio, who decided they would try to start a chapter later this year.

State Rep. Sarah Davis, R-Houston, addressed a group of about 35 people Friday as the keynote in the speaker series.

Davis began her speech by acknowledging the audience’s “courage and the bravery that I think many of you have shown probably spending a great period of your life struggling with your identity and then finally having the courage and the strength of character to come out to your friends and family as a Republican.”

While Davis is not a member of the LGBT community, she said she understands what it is like, recalling when members of the Republican Party looked at her suspiciously when she was the only member of the party to vote against the sonogram bill last session because she believed it was about personal freedom and keeping the government out of the doctor’s office.

Davis said her philosophy is to vote on the basis of personal freedom, individual responsibility and limited government, adding that Republicans allow social issues to cloud their judgment when it comes to those ideals, including placing “what I believe to be inappropriate restrictions on your personal relationships involving two consenting adults.”

—  Dallasvoice

Houston woman claims gay couple duped her into being a surrogate

Cindy Close

A Houston woman has filed a lawsuit after she gave birth to twins in July for a man who now says she served as a surrogate for him and his partner.

Houston businessman Marvin McMurrey III and Cindy Close met in 2005 and were both in their forties.

They’d never been married and never had sexual relations with each other, but wanted children. So, over time they decided to become co-parents, Houston’s Fox 26 reports.

McMurrey fertilized a donor egg through in vitro fertilization and Close carried the child, which turned out to be twins. But after delivering a girl and boy in July, a social worker informed her that she’d been a surrogate for McMurrey and his partner Phong Nguyen.

Close said she has trusted McMurrey since the time they met and was shocked he was gay and using her to have children, when she’d wanted kids so badly.

“I’ve always wanted to be a mom,” Close told Fox 26. “I wanted to raise children. That’s my biggest dream and it always has been.”

Close was prevented from breast feeding in twins in the hospital and is also granted two hours of visitation a day.

She’s filed a civil lawsuit and says she doesn’t have to prove she’s the mother, but that McMurrey must prove that she was a surrogate.

Watch Fox 26’s coverage below.

Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

—  Dallasvoice

Dallas fundraiser for out lesbian House hopeful Ann Johnson raises almost $3K

Ann Johnson speaks at a fundraiser July 24 at Stoneleigh P in Dallas about changes she wants to make to education and healthcare if elected to represent Houston’s District 134 in the state Legislature. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

A cozy crowd gathered Tuesday to mix and mingle with out lesbian Ann Johnson, the Democratic candidate for Houston’s House District 134, at Stoneleigh P restaurant in Dallas.

New Leaders Texas hosted the fundraiser for Johnson that drew about 40 people. New Leaders Executive Director Kathleen Thompson said the event raised $2,645. Johnson faces one-term incumbent Republican Sarah Davis in November. If Johnson wins, she and El Paso’s Mary Gonzalez would become the first two openly LGBT women in the Texas Legislature.

Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs introduced Johnson, noting their similarities in age,  attending law school in Houston, working with their fathers, and both taking on incumbents, as Griggs did last year.

He said that Texas has Republican 2-1 majority in the state Legislature, but electing Johnson is a step toward changing that imbalance.

“In Texas, we can decide what we want to be and we can go be it,” Griggs said. “This is a moment to start to make that change, to start to make a difference.”

Johnson’s father, Jake Johnson, was a state representative in the 60s and worked on Barbara Jordan’s campaign. Jordan was the first African-American elected to the Texas Senate since 1883 and was the first black female from the South elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Johnson’s mother is former Civil District Judge Carolyn Marks Johnson.

“I am fortunate that both of my parents taught me the honor of public service,” Johnson told the crowd Tuesday. “Houston has this incredible history of making a difference and being diverse.”

While she did not touch on her sexuality, focusing on her two major campaign issues of education and healthcare, Johnson had her partner Sonya at her side Tuesday proudly talking about the campaign trail.

As a cancer survivor, Johnson expressed her desire to back healthcare funding for all Texans, saying affordable healthcare and education are areas where Texas can go from one of the worst states to one of the best.

Texas ranks 43rd in the U.S. for graduation rates, 45th for SAT scores, a fact that Johnson said she’s focusing on changing if elected by providing better funding to public education.

“I have vision to take us from worst to first,” she said. “If we go from worst to first, we can create a public education system that we can be proud of.”

More photos and video below.

—  Dallasvoice

Lesbian TX House candidate Ann Johnson to visit Dallas on Tuesday

Houston attorney and Democratic House candidate Ann Johnson will hold a fundraiser in Dallas on Tuesday while she’s in town for the North Texas Children’s Law Symposium.

Johnson, who focuses on child advocacy cases in her private practice, is among the presenters at the symposium and will lead a discussion on the decriminalization of child-trafficking victims, talking about the minor she represented in the 2010 case, In re. B.W., heard before the Texas Supreme Court.

Johnson is the Democratic candidate in Houston’s House District 134. She will face one-term incumbent Republican Sarah Davis in November.

New Leaders Texas is hosting a fundraiser for Johnson on Tuesday evening. The organization endorsed and funded Mary Gonzalez, but is now shifting its attention to Johnson after Gonzalez won her primary. Gonzalez is unopposed in November.

If Johnson wins, she and Gonzalez will be the first two LGBT women elected to the Texas House — and the only LGBT members of the Legislature.

“New Leaders Texas is dedicated to changing the face of Texas leadership,” said Brian Stansbury, the president of the board of New Leaders Texas. “Electing Ann Johnson will be an important step in achieving that goal. Ann will fight to make Texas a better place for all Texans, and we believe it is important to give Texans from across the state an opportunity to step up and support Ann in this election.”

The fundraiser is Tuesday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Stoneleigh P restaurant, 2926 Maple Ave.

People who attend the event will be asked to donate $100 and hosts are expected to donate $250. A suggested minimum donation is $50. Equality Texas Executive Director Dennis Coleman is among those listed on the host committee.

While Equality Texas has not endorsed in the race yet, as both Johnson and Davis have expressed interest in working with the organization, Coleman said his support is personal, having met Johnson before.

For more information, email info@newleaderstexas.org or call 512-591-8683.

—  Dallasvoice

WATCH: Bearweek 2012

Videographer Hector Marcus Juarez continues to focus his camera eye on the fur with his latest vid. Juarez documented the last Texas Bear Round Up into three-plus minute video here. Now, as Bearweek in Provincetown has wrapped up, he has recently posted this video recounting the hirsute event.

And through all the quick edits, you can see he gave local Beardance founder Mark Trimble a couple of flashes of screen time. Otherwise, I’m told by Trimble’s partner and also BD founder Ami Sadeh (who tipped me to the video) that mostly Houstonians made up a big Texas contingent in the just-under-four-minute clip. Makes sense since Juarez is based out of Houston.

I did have a slight chuckle with the song choice. I never would have thought of P-town as “a hopeless place,” but the video ends on the sweetest note.

Watch Bearweek 2012 after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Good luck getting your same-sex union blessed by the Episcopal Church in Dallas

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James Stanton

A resolution in the works for years came to fruition this week when same-sex blessings were approved by the House of Bishops at the Episcopal General Convention.

The blessing is a recognition of the couple’s commitment by the church and blesses their union together, much like a wedding ceremony without the legality. The Episcopal Church became the largest denomination in the U.S. to endorse same-sex unions with the resolution, which passed with a vote of 111-41 with three abstentions and approves the blessings for three years.

However, Dallas’ heavily LGBT Episcopal Church of St. Thomas the Apostle won’t likely perform the ceremonies at all. The Rev. Steve Waller, openly gay rector at St. Thomas, told Dallas Voice last month that he had not asked for permission to perform the blessing if it was approved at convention because conservative Dallas Diocese Bishop James Stanton wouldn’t allow them.

Bishops have the authority to approve or ban same-sex blessings in parishes in their diocese as outlined in the resolution.

“We would not be given such permission by our diocese,” Waller said. “I can’t speak for the bishop, but I suspect he will toe the line and not grant permission. Our bishop has been pretty clear that he didn’t want to do that.”

Waller could not be reached Thursday for comment on the resolution’s passage. Stanton didn’t return calls last month or Thursday asking whether he would allow the blessings.

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth’s provisional bishop, the Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, told Dallas Voice that he would retire soon and would leave it up to the next bishop to decide if the blessing will be allowed.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the passage brought tears to gay couples at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Houston’s heavily gay Montrose area.

“I’ve had people in tears” over the approval, said the Rev. Lisa Hunt. “It’s one thing for us as community to say you’re welcome and then to have rites that you can’t do … now they can really believe that the welcome is true.”

St. Stephen’s and St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin were the first two parishes to be granted permission to perform the blessings by Bishop Andy Doyle of the Diocese of Texas. Hunt said she plans to perform them as early as November.

The convention, which began last week and ends today, also approved new anti-discrimination language for transgender clergy and church members.

—  Dallasvoice