DFW Federal Club elects new co-chair

Steve Wiscaver

Steve Wiscaver

Steve Wiscaver has been elected as the new co-chair of the DFW Federal Club for 2016-2017. He will replace Chris Lindsey, who is completing his second year as co-chair, and joins Liz Rodriguez, who is starting her second year as co-chair, in heading up the organization.

Wiscaver has served on the DFW Federal Club Governing Committee for four years. He started out on the member services team setting up the monthly mixers, then became Member Services Committee co-chair. As co-chair of the committee, he began a number of new programs designed to reach out to new members, departing members and continuing members. He also led the Recruiting Committee for a while before returning to Member Services earlier this year.

Wiscaver was one of the Holiday Party chairs last year.

DFW Federal Club holds its October Mixer on Friday, Oct. 16, 6-8 p.m. at Renfield’s Corner, 2603 Routh St.

For more information about the organization visit the DFW Federal Club website.

—  Tammye Nash

JHud gives surprise private mini-concert at the W’s same-sex wedding

IMG_3173I teased readers this week that they might want to attend an event, sponsored by the W Victory Dallas Hotel and the HRC, where a same-sex couple would wed. I said Lady Bunny would be the DJ, and she was. But I didn’t say who the surprise musical guest would be … because, ya know, it was a surprise. So, following the beautiful ceremony on the 33rd floor of the W, promoting the #TurnItUpForChange movement HRC and W promote, the curtain behind the grooms dropped to reveal a gorgeous, soulful Jennifer Hudson, singing to the newlyweds (with a pair of hot backup dancers). It was an awesome moment for everyone.

We should all have weddings like this. Maybe the haters were right: Gays are ruining straight marriages … or at least weddings. Cuz we know how to bring it.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Jim Obergefell in Dallas


Chad Griffin, left, and Jim Obergefell

Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the marriage equality case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26, was in Dallas on Monday, June 29, with Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.

At a press conference in downtown Dallas, Griffin said they had come to Texas to protest Attorney General Ken Paxton “encouraging obstruction and delay.”

Obergefell told his story of having to fly to Maryland from Ohio in order to marry his husband who was dying from ALS. After a ceremony in the plane, parked on the tarmac at a Baltimore airport, they were married for three months and 11 days. But they were together 20 years.

While Griffin thanked Obergefell for putting his life on hold for two years to fight the case that won marriage equality for the country, Obergefell said he was fighting to make sure his husband’s life was respected.

He repeated the story at a reception later that evening at the Round-Up Saloon.

“When John died, he deserved to have his last record say I was his surviving spouse,” Obergefell told a packed house at the Round-Up. “What better way to love him and respect him than to stand up to that bully attorney general.”

He was referring to Ohio’s attorney general but then called Paxton the same sort of bully.

“I didn’t put my life on hold for two years,” he said. “My life began as I fought for my husband and my community.”

He said that today his life is filled with family and friends from coast to coast and said his husband would be proud of him.

“Keep being pissed off and make your attorney general represent all of us,” he said.



—  David Taffet

Jim Obergefell and HRC President Chad Griffin at Round-Up tonight for celebration


HRC President Chad Griffin

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision, will be at the Round-Up Inn, 3912 Cedar Springs, tonight at 6 p.m. to celebrate Friday’s historic ruling.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information check out the Facebook event here.

—  James Russell

Hudson ‘Turns it Up’ with video for W Hotels, HRC campaign

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It was nine years ago that Jennifer Hudson was up on the silver screen, telling us that she was NOT going. Now she is taking to the small screen to encourage us all to “Turn It Up For Change.”

Hudson is the ambassador for “Turn It Up For Change,” a fundraising and awareness intitiative launched last October as a joint effort of W Hotels Worldwide and the Human Rights Campaign. Today (Thursday, June 4), W Hotels and HRC announced the launch of an exclusive music video set to Hudson’s song, “I Still Love You,” from her recently-released album, JHUD.

The video, directed by Tabitha Denholm and Molly Schiot, depicts a father’s last-minute decision to attend his gay son’s wedding. It features cameos by model Shaun Ross, actress Leisha Hailey and model/activist Claudia Charriez.

The video premiered exclusively on MTV, VH1 and Logo Wednesday, June 3, and is now offered here on the W Hotels site and here on YouTube. You can also watch it below, here on Instant Tea.

“There couldn’t be a better time to release this video, Hudson said, adding that she owes “a large part of my success to the LGBT community, who has embraced and supported me from early on in my career, and music continues to prove a powerful platform to help promote LGBT equality. I hope my video inspires everyone to keep fighting for 50” marriage equality states.

Anthony Ingham, global brand leader for W Hotels Worldwide, said the video and it’s message are “especially timely as the country awaits the monumental Supreme Court decision about marriage equality later this month.” He said W Hotels has received “incredible support and positive feedback” since launching Turn It Up For Change. He added that the company is “proud to continue standing alongside our guests and HRC in the fight for equality, and Jennifer’s moving song and new video provide the perfect soundtrack for our mission.”


—  Tammye Nash

DFW Federal Club wins awards

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DFW Federal Club Co-Chairs Chris Lindseyy and Liz Rodriguez

The DFW Federal Club was recognized as the “Best Federal Club Committee of the Year” during the HRC Spring Equality Convention held last month in Washington, D.C.

The annual convention brings together HRC members from around the country to learn about HRC’s national plans and about what’s happening in specific cities and states around the country, as well as to share best practices and showcase working strategies.

A total of 15 people from the DFW Federal Club’s board of directors, board of governors, governing committee and steering committee attended the three-day convention. Vice President Joe Biden keynoted the opening night plenary session, linking the March on Selma to Stonewall and pledging the Obama administration’s support to the LGBT communities.

In addition to the Best Federal Club Committee of the Year honor, the DFW Federal Club also received the Best Membership Outreach Program of the Year (Steering Committee) and Top “Strive for Five” Club awards. The DFW club was also the only federal club to have recruited members in every month of the year and was recognized for special achievement in support of HRC-endorsed candidates and extraordinary partnership for a dinner (HRC-Black Tie).

—  Tammye Nash

Twitter joins rising chorus of business voices against RFRA, other anti-gay legislation

In an “@Policy” Tweet today (Monday, March 30) hailed by Human Rights Campaign as a “bold move,” Twitter today declared its disappointment not just with Indiana’s newly-passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 9.21.42 PMwith the flood of similar bills and other anti-LGBT legislation being considered across the country.

The Tweet read: “We’re disappointed to see state bills that enshrine discrimination. These bills are unjust and bad for business. We support #EqualityForAll.”

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s decision to sign into law last week his state’s RFRA was the spark that lit a flame of outrage among some of the country’s leading businesses, including Apple, PayPal, Wal Mart, Yelp, Salesforce and Indiana’s own Angie’s List, officials of which last Friday (March 27) — the day after Pence signed the RFRA — announced they had decided to at least delay, if not cancel, plans for a $40 million expansion of its Indianapolis headquarters.

But in applauding Twitter’s tweeted statement today, HRC pointed out that Indiana’s RFRA is just one of more than 85 anti-LGBT bills under consideration in 28 legislatures, including Texas’, and in Arkansas a measure very similar to Indiana’s awaits Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s signature.

To see HRC’s list of pending LGBT legislation, go here. The bills fall largely into four categories: religious refusal bills, bills promoting conversion therapy, anti-transgender bills and bills nullifying local nondiscrimination statutes.

Texas lawmakers have introduced bills in three of those four categories: religious refusal bills, anti-transgender bills and bills to nullify local nondiscrimination ordinances. To see Equality Texas’ list of legislative alerts, go here.

—  Tammye Nash

DFW Federal Club welcoming lead plaintiff in marriage case before SCOTUS to spring luncheon

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Jim Obergefell, left, and his husband, John Arthur, aboard the specially-equipped medical plane that flew them to Baltimore in 2013 to be married.

Jim Obergefell — lead plaintiff in a marriage equality case out of Ohio, one of four cases scheduled to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 28 — will be joining Susan Warbelow as a guest speaker at the DFW Federal Club‘s Spring Luncheon 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., on Saturday, March 28,, at the Tower Club in Thanksgiving Tower, 1601 Elm St. in downtown Dallas (on the 48th floor).

Seating is limited to 200, and RSVPs are required. Federal Club members can attend free of charge, and each member is entitled to bring one guest, also free of charge. The fee for additional guests is $35 per person, and the fee for visitors not accompanied by a member is $50. For tickets and to RSVP, go here.

Obergefell and his partner, John Arthur, had been together more than 20 years in 2013 when they traveled from their home in Ohio to Maryland to get legally married. That trip might have been relatively easy for most couples. But because Arthur was suffered from ALS and was paralyzed and confined to his bed, this couple’s trip required a small, specially-equipped medical plane, two pilots, a nurse and Arthur’s aunt, who officiated over their marriage ceremony.

The plane landed at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, sitting there for about 10 minutes — just long enough for Arthur and Obergefell to exchange wedding vows — before returning the men to Ohio. Arthur died three months later, but Obergefell has carried on with the fight for marriage equality.

—  Tammye Nash

AFA’s map of bigots

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The AFA Map of Bigots. Notice they didn’t list themselves

Well, this is interesting.

The American Family Association has created the “AFA Bigotry Map,” and no, surprisingly enough, it isn’t a map that shows all the places where AFA has perpetrated its hatefulness.

AFA President Tim Wildmon explained in a written statement, “Families and businesses that express a Christian worldview on social issues often face vicious retaliation from anti-Christian zealots, and it’s time to call them out for their intolerance.” And so, they created the “Bigotry Map.”

The AFA Bigotry Map website explains: “The American Family Association has identified more than 200 groups and organizations that openly display bigotry toward the Christian faith and is educating Americans about these groups through an online map.”

The interactive map “identifies groups whose actions are deeply intolerant of the Christian religion.” These groups strive to “silence Christians and to remove all public displays of Christian heritage and faith in America,” usually through lawsuits and threats of lawsuits demanding that prayer be removed from schools and city council meetings, that 10 Commandment monuments “be stricken from courthouses and that memorial crosses be purged from cemeteries and parks.”

Wildmon claims, “Because of anti-Christian bigotry, private business owners have been sued and forced to close their businesses. Families and businesses that express a Christian worldview on social issues often face vicious retaliation from anti-Christian zealots, and it’s time to call them out for their intolerance.”

He also claims that some members of the groups targeted by the “Bigotry Map” have “committed violent crimes against Christians and faith-based groups,” and that they also target Christians with physical and “profane verbal” assaults in an effort to intimidate them.

The “interactive map” on the website is dotted with markers indicating where these groups are located and what kind of groups they are. Rainbow-striped markers denote groups with a “homosexual agenda” that “advocate for the legalization and promotion of same-sex marriage and viciously attack Christians who exercise their First Amendment right to voice support for God’s plan for marriage as between one man and one woman.”

There is a red marker with a white A for the atheist groups, a gray marker with a white cross marked out by a red X for “anti-Christian” groups which “actively engage in the complete eradication of the Christian faith from society, government and private commerce. These groups file lawsuits and use intimidation to silence any reference to Christianity from the public square.” And then there is the blue marker with the white outline of a human form to denote the “humanist” groups that believe “critical thinking and physical evidence are the sole basis for beliefs. Humanists believe science triumphs faith in issues of morality and decision-making.”

I checked the map and it only lists four “homosexual agenda” groups in Texas: HRC Dallas/Fort Worth, HRC Houston, HRC Austin and HRC San Antonio. Dallas Voice is not listed; I don’t know whether to be relieved or insulted.

Resource Center in Dallas isn’t listed. Neither is Fairness Fort Worth. Nor Equality Texas, Tyler Area Gays, … . The list of what isn’t listed goes on and on.

There are five atheist organizations listed for Texas, two anti-Christian groups (both of them Americans United groups), and five humanist groups. We LGBTs need to get busy! Those atheists and humanists are outnumbering us!

—  Tammye Nash

Marriage begins in Alabama, HRC calls for Moore’s impeachment

Marriage_Equality_Map_FL_01-30-2015Marriage has begun in Alabama, according to the Alabama Media Group, despite orders to the contrary from the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Campaign has launched a petition to remove Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore from office. Moore urged the governor of Alabama and probate judges, who issue licenses in the state, to stand in the way of same-sex marriages despite an explicit order by a federal judge.

The HRC petition calls on the Judicial Inquiry Commission to take action against Moore — who previously declared that homosexuality should be a punishable offense and grounds for losing parental custody — for shirking the law and the obligations of his office.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner is sitting this round out, according to the Washington Blade. Asked if the House Republican leadership would weigh in on the outcome of pending marriage equality litigation before the Supreme Court in an official capacity, Boehner said, “I don’t expect that we’re going to. The court will make its decision and that’s why they’re there, to be the highest court in the land.”

Unlike in the Windsor case, where the federal government was a party in the case and the GOP congressional leadership spent $2.3 million in taxpayer dollars to defend the law, the federal government is not a party in the current case pending before the Supreme Court.

—  David Taffet