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BE MY VALENTINE  | 
Paula Blackmon, right, chief of staff for Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, accepts a bag containing more than 400 Valentine’s Day cards addressed to Rawlings from Daniel Cates, left, North Texas regional coordinator for GetEQUAL. Cates delivered the cards written by community members to Rawlings, who has refused to sign a pledge in support of same-sex marriage, as part of GetEQUAL’s Valentine’s Day actions, which also included  same-sex couples requesting marriage licenses at clerk’s offices in Dallas and Fort Worth. For more coverage, go to DallasVoice.com/Category/Instant-Tea. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

 

—  Michael Stephens

Lambda Legal to file employment discrimination lawsuit on behalf of former Texas state employee

Lambda Legal is planning a press conference in Hurst on Wednesday morning to announce a federal employment discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a former state employee. Tom Warnke, a spokesman for the LGBT civil rights group, said this afternoon that he couldn’t release any additional details until the press conference, because the lawsuit has not yet been filed.

Below is what little info we have at this point. Stay tuned to Instant Tea for updates.

Lambda Legal to File Federal Employment Discrimination Lawsuit on Behalf of Former State Employee

WHEN: Wednesday, September 7, 2011, 10:00am.
WHERE: Holiday Inn Express & Suites, 820 Thousand Oaks Drive, Hurst, TX
WHO: Kenneth Upton, Jr., Supervising Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Southern Regional Office, Benjamin D. Williams, pro-bono co-counsel with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and Lambda Legal’s client will be available for interviews.

—  John Wright

THE NOONER: Arlington pastor who believes Antichrist is gay endorses Perry’s day of prayer

Your lunchtime quickie from Instant Tea:

• Dwight McKissic, Arlington pastor who says the Antichrist will be gay, endorses Rick Perry’s day of prayer.

• Transgender woman fatally shot in Washington, D.C.

• Ghana minister orders arrest of all gays.

• Gay “barbarians” glitter-bomb Marcus Bachmann’s “ex-gay” clinic.

• Students sue Minnesota school district over policy requiring staff to remain neutral on sexual orientation.

—  John Wright

N.Y. Republican on gay marriage: ‘F**k it. I’m trying to do the right thing’

As we reported here on Instant Tea, the New York Senate appears to be just one vote shy of the majority needed to pass a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in that state. And one reason marriage supporters are so close to the magic number of 32 is because one Republican, Sen. Roy McDonald, decided it was time to throw partisanship out the window and “do the right thing.”

New York Sen.Roy McDonald

According to this post on TMZ.com, in announcing his decision earlier this week to vote for marriage equality, McDonald declared:

“You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn’t black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing. You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, fuck it. I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing. I’m tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I’m trying to do the right thing, and that’s where I’m going with this.”

Well, I say, you go, Sen. McDonald. It’s about time somebody actually pointed out that this is an issue of fairness and equality; partisan politics shouldn’t matter, and neither should some individuals’ personal religious beliefs. What matters is doing the right thing.

Marriage equality supporters — and I am one — appreciate all the New York senators who are backing the marriage bill there. But when someone is willing to step out and state their support in such unequivocal terms and to stress that they support marriage equality because it is the right thing to do as McDonald did, then they deserve some special thanks.

—  admin

No hate crime in Log Cabin assault

The assault of a Log Cabin Republicans member at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas last weekend — during which the suspect called the victim a “faggot” – won’t be classified as a hate crime for FBI reporting purposes, according to Laura Martin, the Dallas Police Department’s LGBT liaison officer.

Instant Tea reported Tuesday that even though the Log Cabin member opted not to press charges against the suspect, the assault could still be classified as a bias-motivated incident to the FBI, which is required to track hate crimes nationwide. However, Martin said DPD’s intelligence unit has chosen not to classify the incident as a hate crime because it doesn’t appear the assault was motivated by anti-gay bias.

Martin said the suspect’s use of the word “faggot” took place in the heat of an argument between two groups that had established contact earlier in the evening.

“There’s no obvious proof that it’s a hate crime, that the entire contact was based on the suspect’s hatred of gay people,” Martin said. “There’s just no evidence of it, and in fact the complainant [victim] agrees with that. … The complainant doesn’t believe that he was targeted simply because he’s gay.”

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Dan Ramos hospitalized; Log Cabin convention under way at the Anatole

Dan Ramos

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Bexar County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Ramos has been hospitalized just days before his likely removal from office for, among other things, comparing gay Democrats to “termites” and the “fuckin’ Nazi Party.” But no, it’s not for a brain tumor.

2. Don’t be surprised if you run into some well-known gay Republicans around town (or on Grindr) this weekend. The Log Cabin Republicans are holding their National Convention at the Hilton Anatole.

3. Have you emailed your state representative yet?

—  John Wright

Mark Frazier confirms he may buy San Francisco Eagle but says he won’t leave Dallas completely

Mark Frazier

On Wednesday we reported that Dallas Eagle co-owner Mark Frazier is in negotiations to buy the San Francisco Eagle Tavern, including that Frazier had told the San Franscio LGBT newspaper, Bay Area Reporter, that if the sale goes through, he will move to San Francisco. We also noted that we had not yet confirmed the report with Frazier himself.

On Wednesday night, we received an email from Frazier who said that yes, “there is some truth” in the B.A.R. report, but that “nothing is final, and I haven’t left Dallas.”

He said there are still “lots of details to work out” before the sale goes through, and he promised that even if the deal does go through, he won’t leave Dallas completely.

“Should this [deal] come to fruition, I would split my time between Dallas and SF,” Frazier said. “Dallas is my home and I will remain an owner in the Dallas Eagle. I love the community here and hope to be part of it for years to come.”

Frazier also said he believes that his experience here with Dallas Eagle puts him in prime shape to turn things around at the SF Eagle, a longtime gathering place for that city’s leather community that had been in danger of closing.

“There are many challenges and hurdles that face the SF Eagle, including refocusing on becoming the community bar it once was,” Frazier wrote. “Many bars and business are closing nationally. I see the problem as two-fold: 1. The owners have lost their passion and their connection with the community; and 2. The community has chosen not to support businesses and have chosen other venues.

“I feel that I am qualified to help the bar reach its potential,” Fraizer said.

—  admin

6 months later, owner Keith Lackie says Klub Wet will finally open on Maple Avenue next week

Keith Lackie

After six months of wrangling over parking requirements, the new gay bar Klub Wet is set to open on Maple Avenue next week, according to owner Keith Lackie.

Lackie initially planned to open the bar in late October, in the building that previously housed Illlusions, 4100 Maple. But at the last minute, the city refused to issue a certificate of occupancy, saying Lackie didn’t have sufficient parking.

What followed was a protracted dispute involving the city, Lackie and Crow Holdings, which owns property across Throckmorton Street where Lackie had two remote parking agreements. In the end, Lackie said he decided to build his own parking lot on a parcel behind the bar that’s owned by his landlord.

“We finally got it figured out,” Lackie told Instant Tea today. “Everybody’s very excited right now. … I don’t give up on anything. It takes a lot more than Crow Holdings to get me to give up.”

Lackie has said he spent $150,000 remodeling the inside of Klub Wet, which will fulfill a dream he had his with late partner, Andy Primm.

Lackie also plans to redo the outside of the building once the bar is open.

He said he expected to receive a permit today to begin grading the new parking lot, and hopes to be open by the middle of next week. But this time, he isn’t setting a firm date.

“With the city, you never know what they’re going to pull at the last minute,” he said. “I’m just going to hold off on announcing the actual opening date until I get final approval and get my CO [certificate of occupancy] in my hands.”

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Obama kicks off 2012 re-election campaign; police raid gay bar in Shanghai

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

President Barack Obama

1. President Barack Obama formally launched his 2012 re-election campaign this morning. Above is the video sent via email to supporters.

2. Police in Shanghai, China, raided a popular gay bar over the weekend and took more than 60 people into custody. Customers and staff members from Q Bar reportedly were detained for up to 12 hours in cold rooms with no food or water.

3. The military will be ready to implement the repeal “don’t ask don’t tell” by mid-summer, a Pentagon official told a House committee on Friday.

—  John Wright

Contact all five Dallas County commissioners and ask them to add transgender protections

County Judge Clay Jenkins says he was not aware that sexual orientation didn’t include transgender people.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins confirmed today that he’s requested an opinion from the District Attorney’s Office about adding transgender protections to the county’s employment nondiscrimination policy.

Jenkins’ request for information from county attorneys follows the Commissioners Court’s vote last week to add sexual orientation, but not gender identity, to the policy covering the county’s 7,000 employees.

Jenkins and Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia, two newly elected Democrats who spearheaded the proposal to add sexual orientation to the policy, said they thought sexual orientation covered transgender employees, which experts say it does not.

Since then, Jenkins said he’s received about a dozen e-mails from people in the LGBT community — which he called a lot — asking him to revisit the issue.

“The reason that it’s not in there is not because we don’t support it,” Jenkins said of transgender protections. “I don’t want people to misinterpret that I wasn’t for one type of discrimination but somehow was for another type of discrimination. Nothing could be further from the truth than that.”

Jenkins said he’s asked the civil division of the DA’s office to assess the impact on county code of adding gender identity to the policy.

“It’s going to depend on getting three votes … and the first step is to look at what impact it would have,” Jenkins told Instant Tea. “I care about making sure that we have a welcome and open workplace for all, and discrimination against no one. I’m against any type of discrimination in the workplace. I’m for treating all people equally.”

Rafael McDonnell, of Resource Center Dallas, spoke during public comments of the Commissioners Court’s regular meeting Tuesday. McDonnell said he thanked commissioners for adding sexual orientation to the policy — which they did on a 4-0 vote with Commissioner Maurine Dickey absent — and asked them to go back and add gender identity.

McDonnell said Commissioners Court rules prohibit him from speaking again during public comments for a month, so he encouraged others in the community to sign up to speak in coming weeks. To sign up, call the clerk’s office at 214-653-7886. The Commissioners Court meets at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays in the County Administration Building, 411 Elm St. in Dallas.

McDonnell and others also encouraged people in the LGBT community to contact all five commissioners to thank them for adding sexual orientation and ask them to add gender identity. Here is their contact info, with confirmed email addresses:

County Judge Clay Jenkins – 214-653-7949
Email: Clay.Jenkins@DallasCounty.org

Dist. 1 Maurine Dickey – 214-653-7552
Email: Maurine.Dickey@DallasCounty.org

Dist. 2 Mike Cantrell – 214-653-6100
Email: MCantrell@DallasCounty.org

Dist. 3 John Wiley Price – 214-653-6671
Email: John.Price@DallasCounty.org

Dist. 4 Dr. Elba Garcia – 214-653-6670
Email: Elba.GarciaDDS@DallasCounty.org

—  John Wright