Ted Cruz won the day in Iowa as far as the Republican caucuses go, and he did so with pledges to turn back the clock on things like LGBT rights and to restore this country to the Judeo-Christian traditions he claims it was built on.
His good ol’ duck-hunting buddy Phil Robertson, the gay-hating right-wing patriarch of TV’s Duck Dynasty clan, showed up at a rally in Iowa on Sunday, Jan. 31, to help put Cruz over the top in the Hawkeye State. And he did it in fine homophobic style, telling the crowd that “depravity” led to “redefining marriage,” which is “nonsense! It’s evil. It’s wicked, it’s sinful”
Then Robertson declared, “We have to run this bunch out of Washington, D.C., rid the earth of ’em.”
And that’s where he crossed the line. That’s the point at which Robertson stained in hands in the blood of LGBT people who will be injured or killed by maniacs whipped into a frenzy by the anti-gay exhortations of people like him, like Cruz.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won Iowa’s Republican caucuses last night, beating businessman Donald Trump 28 percent to 24 percent, with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio receiving 23 percent.
The most drama came in the Democratic caucus. In the caucus, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton garnered 49.9 percent to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 49.6 percent. While the Iowa Democratic Party called the race for Clinton, Sanders declared the race a “virtual tie.”
Two candidates also announced they were suspending their campaigns: Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat who came in a very distant third in the caucus, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won Iowa’s GOP caucus in 2008.
While LGBT issues did not play a deciding role among Iowa Democrats, they were a hot topic among Republicans. Evangelicals and social conservatives dominate the state’s GOP caucuses. Cruz and Trump played a tug of war for the social conservative endorsement. Among vocally anti-LGBT leaders, Cruz had the backing of Bob Vander Plaats of the Family Leader, while Trump earned the endorsement of Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.
“From threatening to overturn nationwide marriage equality, to campaigning with a notorious ‘kill the gays’ pastor in Iowa, to using transgender Americans as a punchline on the trail, Ted Cruz has spared no opportunity to attack the dignity and rights of LGBT Americans,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign.
Gregory T. Angelo, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, dalso enounced Cruz’s win.
“Log Cabin Republicans will continue to advocate for a common-sense conservative presidential nominee while ramping up our campaign to make Hillary Clinton’s anti-gay past known. Log Cabin Republicans does not endorse in primary elections, but we encourage all our members to step up as our members in Iowa did today to advocate for a stronger, more inclusive GOP. This presidential race is fluid and far from over,” he said in a statement.
Candidates are now focusing their eyes on New Hampshire’s primary election on Feb. 9.
According to a report in the Des Moines Register, an Iowa gay couple who moved to an Austin suburb can’t get Texas drivers license because of their marriage.
Michael Miller Gribble changed his name on all legal documents after he and his husband married. When they moved to Texas, he brought his marriage license and birth certificate to apply for his new driver’s license. He was turned away because Texas won’t recognize a marriage license from a same-sex couple as proof of a name change.
He was told he could either get a divorce or a legal name change. Opposite-sex couples do not need a court-order to change last names. A marriage license is proof of the change.
The newspaper reports that couples from Iowa have had similar problems in Nebraska, Florida and South Dakota. Iowa has been a marriage-equality state since 2009.
Gribble applied for a passport that will reflect his new name. He can use that as proof of who he is rather than a marriage license and birth certificate.
He pointed out the extra cost and inconvenience involved and pointed out the unfair financial penalties of being gay or lesbian that goes against the constitutional guarantee of equal protection.
This isn’t the first time that the state of Texas has refused to issue a driver’s license because of a same-sex-marriage-related name change. It happened earlier this year to a lesbian who legally married her female partner in California and then moved with her wife to Texas. And in October, Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced on Twitter that the state refused to give her 16-year-old daughter a driver’s license because the girl’s birth certificate listed two moms.
Martina Navratilova, left, proposes to Julia Lemigova.
Twenty-five years after she won her fourth and final singles championship at the U.S. Open, tennis great Martina Navratilova dropped to one knee on Saturday, Sept. 6, at Arthur Ashe Stadium to propose to her girlfriend, Julia Lemigivo.
The proposal, which came during a break in play while Navratilova was providing color commentary on the U.S. Open men’s competition, was shown on the stadium’s Jumbotron, and fortunately for Navratilova, Lemigova said yes.
Navratilova, 57, and the 42-year-old Miss USSR have been a couple since 2006. Read more here.
In other celebrity wedding news, Neil Patrick Harris married his longtime partner, David Burtka. The couple married in Italy, with a featured performance from Elton John. Harris and Burtka have been engaged since 2011, and are fathers to twins.
For more info (like how Elton John played at the reception) and to see a gorgeous photo, go here.
But here is the REALLY big wedding news of the past few days: Vivian Boyack, 91, and Alice “Nonie” Dubes, 90, both of Iowa, also got married over the weekend after 72 years together. They exchanged vows on Saturday in a small ceremony in Davenport, Iowa, surrounded by family and friends.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Saturday told the audience at a right-wing presidential forum in Iowa that same-sex couples are barred from adopting children in Texas, according to On Top Magazine.
But Perry’s statement was at best misleading and, at worst, an outright lie designed to pander to socially conservative voters.
At the Thanksgiving Family Forum in Des Moines, Perry and other presidential candidates were asked what they would do to help faith-based adoption agencies “which are being run out of business because they will only place children in homes headed by mothers and fathers and they will not place those children in homes headed by same-sex couples.”
Perry responded: “Obviously I think it is an issue you can address at the federal level, and passing a federal marriage amendment is one of the ways to do that, but until that does pass, as in the state of Texas, a gay couple cannot adopt a child in the state of Texas, so the states have the ability again, until there is a federal marriage amendment that clearly states that marriage is between one man and one woman and in that as well you cannot adopt a child unless it is one man and one woman.”
Chuck Smith, deputy director of Equality Texas, said in most jurisdictions in Texas, it’s true that gay couples can’t adopt “as a couple” due to the state’s defense of marriage act. However, in most jurisdictions, gay couples can adopt the a child separately, which is effectively the same thing, Smith said.
Unlike in states such as Utah and, until recently, Florida, Texas has no ban on gay adoption, Smith said. And, a non-biological mother who is the lesbian partner of a biological mother can typically obtain a second-parent adoption in Texas, Smith said.
“It’s not black and white,” he said. “It’s factually inaccurate to say there’s a ban on gay people adopting. It is a function of which family law judge people go to, but in virtually all jurisdictions, gay couples can adopt. Unfortunately they’re required to do it in two separate transactions, where each individual person has an adoption transaction. It’s also true that under the current statute, the supplemental birth certificate of an adopted child only has one parent’s name on it if the parents are of the same gender. That’s something we’ve been trying to change and will continue to try and change.”
Smith said while Texas legislators unsuccessfully attempted to ban gay foster-parenting in 2005, there has never been a bill to ban gay adoption.
“I think it was an attempt at a bravado comment — ‘In Texas, we don’t let the gays do anything’ — that was kind of the point,” Smith said, adding he thinks the entire forum was “an exercise in pandering” for all the candidates.
“What they’re attempting to do is to make something controversial that’s only controversial in their little mind-sphere,” Smith said. “There’s over 30 years of longitudinal studies that show sexual orientation is not a determining factor in whether a person is or is not a good parent. They’re trying to say that gay people can’t be good parents. There simply is not evidence to speak to that.”
A baker in Des Moines, Iowa has come under fire from LGBT activists — and is being applauded by the anti-gay folks — after refusing to bake a cake for a couple when she discovered they were lesbians shopping for a cake for their wedding.
Victoria Childress, owner of Victoria’s Cake Cottage told Fox News commentator Todd Starnes that she had already baked several cake samples for Trina Vodraska and Janelle Sievers when she asked one of the women if the other was her sister. When the woman said they were partners, not sisters, Childress said she cited her Christian faith in explaining why she would not be baking a wedding cake for them.
According to TheNewAmerican.com — which is obviously a right-wing kind of news site, considering how they put the word “wedding” in quotes in their headline — Vodraska and Sievers then went on the offensive, “alerting their homosexual activist network,” according to TheNewAmerican.com, adding that the activist network “quickly organized a boycott of Childress’ bsuiness.
TheNewAmerican.com also says Childress has been receiving all kinds of hateful letters and emails since news of her refusal went public.
According to a statement publicized by Des Moines TV station KCCI 8 — which TheNewAmerican.com said gave Vodraska and Sievers “a platform to voice their anger at being snubbed by Childress” — the couple said they went public with the dispute to raise awareness about the need for equality. The statement says, “It is not about cake or someone’s right to refuse service to a customer. We are grateful for the outpouring of support we have received and hope that by stepping forward we have prevented someone else from experiencing the same type of bigotry.”
But TheNewAmerican.com also reports that Vodraska and Sievers are said to be considering legal action against Childress.
For her part, Childress insists her refusal to bake a wedding cake for the two women is not about discrimination. She told Fox News, “It doesn’t have anything to do with them. It was about my convictions. They can get their cake anywhere.”
Childress also said she believes she is being targeted “because of my beliefs — my convictions to their lifestyle.”
OK, so here’s what I think about the whole thing:
Yes, Ms. Childress, your refusal to make a wedding cake for Trina Vodraska and Janelle Sievers had everything to do with them, because your “convictions” tell you that they are evil sinners who do not deserve the right to be married, and therefore do not deserve to have you bake them a wedding cake. Be honest enough to stand up and admit that rather than trying to pretend otherwise.
And to Ms. Vodraska and Ms. Sievers, first of all, congratulations on your pending nuptials. I hope you have a wonderful day. And while I have no problem with you spreading the word to other LGBT people that they need not bother going to Victoria’s Cake Cottage for their wedding cakes, let it go at that. Find some other bakery to make your cake; I bet there are tons of them out there who would love to do that for you.
There’s no need for any kind of lawsuit over this. Really. This is supposed to be a free country, and Ms. Childress really should be free to refuse service to you because of her religious beliefs about same-sex marriage. It’s like that popular cliche: “Don’t approve of gay marriage? Then don’t have one.”
Seriously, if we don’t want right-wing Christians forcing their religious beliefs on us, then we shouldn’t be trying to force our beliefs on them or try to make them abandon their convictions. I mean, would you really want her to bake a cake for you, knowing how she feels about your relationship?
Texas Gov. Rick Perry came out of the gate strong when he jumped into the race to become the Republican nominee for president in 2012. How could he not? He had that great hair, and that supposed good ol’ Texas boy charm on his side, not to mention the prayers of all those people who attended The Response in August. He was riding high, jumping to the tops of the polls and apparently leaving folks like Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann in the dust.
And then he opened his mouth and talked. And things started going downhill fast.
And things got worse at the Sept. 22 debate, from which Perry came away looking “shell shocked,” according to the Huffington Post, after other candidates, like nutball Rick Santorum, attacked him for being too lenient on immigration policies.
And now, as Perry prepares for his third debate tonight in New Hampshire, sponsored by Bloomberg News and The Washington Post, some folks — like MSNBC — are calling this “do or die time” for him. This MSNBC report shows that Romney has regained the lead in the polls, holding a precarious three-point lead over Herman Cain in Iowa and a robust 30-point advantage over the other candidates in New Hampshire, the sites of the earliest primaries, according to the most recent NBC News-Marist polls
And where is Perry? In Iowa, he is tied for fourth place with Bachmann, with 10 percent each, behind his fellow Texan, Ron Paul who has 11 percent. And in New Hampshire, where Romney leads with 44 percent and Cain and Paul are tied for second with 13 percent each, Perry scraped in 6 percent for fourth place, barely beating out Jon Huntsman, who had 5 percent.
Poor Rick — he went from the top of the heap to scraping the bottom of the barrel in just a little more than two months. Talk about your monumental flame-out! I guess that means that it takes more than a pretty face and good hair to win the presidency — and the support of rabid right-wingers like the Rev. Robert Jeffress. And I guess that means we’ll probably have to keep putting up with Perry here in Texas until at least 2014.
Wendy Churitch, 55, died suddenly at her home in Irving early Thursday morning, Sept. 29.
Churitch was born July 26, 1956, and grew up in Chicago. She moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in 1980.
She was known and much loved for her eccentric and ever-present sense of humor, her love of pranks and practical jokes and for her devotion and loyalty to her family and to her large number of friends that she thought of — and that thought of her — as family.
After seven-and-a-half years as a couple, Churitch and the love of her life, Kay Mathews Churitch, were legally married in Iowa on Aug. 17, 2009.
Churitch was preceded in death by her parents, Helen and Pete Churitch Sr., and by her brother, Michael.
She is survived by her wife, Kay Mathews Churitch of Irving; by her brother, Pete Churitch Jr., and one sister, Robin Littrell, both of Indiana; by her wife’s sister, Erin Urquhart of Coppell, and brother, Robert Mathews of Buda; by her wife’s two daughters, Courtney Mathews of Lubbock and Amber Mathews of Three Rivers, Mich., and three grandchildren, Michael and Jourdan of Mesquite and Makenzie of Lubbock; by her beloved dogs, Bailey and Pala; and by a host of loving friends.
Churitch’s remains will be cremated. A memorial service is pending and details will be announced when they become available.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 30, 2011.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Perry’s corn dog turned out to be vegetarian, and he ate only half of it. But it sure looks like he’s had some practice, and as you can see below, the governor’s form is certainly better than Marcus or Michele Bachmann’s.