Dallas councilmembers call for equal treatment for gays in policies, services

Openly gay city of Dallas employees Theresa O'Donnell and John Rogers addressed the committee Monday about the benefits of marriage equality. (Steve Ramos/Dallas Voice)

Openly gay city of Dallas employees Theresa O’Donnell and John Rogers addressed the committee Monday about the benefits of marriage equality. (Steve Ramos/Dallas Voice)

Several Dallas councilmembers called for a list of internal issues to be addressed where LGBT city employees are not treated equality compared to their heterosexual co-workers.

The request came Monday after two presentations before the Budget, Finance and Audit Committee, one on the financial benefits of marriage equality and one on the city’s 2002 nondiscrimination ordinance.

Theresa O’Donnell, interim assistant city manager, touched on many of the 1,138 rights same-sex coupes are denied without marriage, including health, tax, estate planning and death benefits.

Some of those benefits, like military and veteran benefits, are granted to legally married same-sex couples regardless of where they live, including Texas, which has a constitutional marriage amendment. Others, like Social Security, are limited to the state where the couple lives.

Councilman Jerry Allen, who chairs the committee, asked how the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling allowing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage complicated the issue by state.

John Rogers, assistant city attorney, said it complicates the matter greatly because for couples in different states “it’s going to be very, very confusing about what benefits and rights they can or can’t get” as the agencies over federal laws define what their policy will be.

“Marriage is a commitment but it’s a contract. It’s a commitment entering into a contract,” Allen said. “If you live in Texas, you don’t have the same rights that you would if you lived in Hawaii.”

—  Dallasvoice

AIDS activists file complaint against Larry Flynt

JOHN ROGERS  |  Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — An AIDS activist group filed a workplace safety complaint against Larry Flynt on Thursday, Aug. 26, accusing the porn king of creating an unsafe environment for his stable of sex stars by not requiring they use condoms.

To illustrate its point, the AIDS Health Foundation also delivered 100 DVDS of hardcore Flynt films to the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s Los Angeles office. Only a single scene in one of the films shows a performer using a condom, said AHF spokesman Ged Kenslea.

The films, most with innuendo-laden names, “clearly demonstrate workplace activities highly likely to spread bloodborne pathogens in the workplace,” the complaint says. It urges the state agency to order the use of condoms on film sets.

Larry Flynt Productions President Michael Klein indicated that is an unreasonable demand, adding porn audiences don’t want to watch people using condoms.

“We won’t budge when it comes to condomless productions,” he said in a statement. “That’s what the consumer wants, and we deliver it.”

Federal law requires that all porn actors be tested for HIV 30 days before the start of filming, and Klein said Flynt’s productions adhere to those standards. He added that none of the company’s actors has ever tested positive for HIV.

AHF President Michael Weinstein said his group targeted Flynt in part because he is arguably the world’s most famous and successful pornographer. Hours before filing the complaint, AHF members, clad in bright red shirts, demonstrated outside the plush Beverly Hills skyscraper that is home to Larry Flynt Productions.

Earlier this year, the group brought similar complaints against nine talent agencies it says promote actors willing to have unprotected sex on camera. Cal-OSHA spokeswoman Krisann Chasarik said Thursday those complaints prompted an investigation, although she didn’t know the status of it.

Depending on the nature of a complaint, Chasarik said, Cal-OSHA can launch a workplace inspection or ask that an employer prove the complaint is groundless.

“Our next step now would be to evaluate the complaint,” she said of Thursday’s filing.

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, workers in the adult film industry are 10 times more likely to be infected with a sexually transmitted disease than members of the general population. The department documented 2,013 cases of chlamydia and 965 cases of gonorrhea among workers between 2003 and 2007, and noted that some performers had four or more separate infections over the course of a year.

As many as 25 industry-related cases of HIV have been reported since 2004, the department said.

—  John Wright