WATCH: DV editor compares Scouts policy to DADT on ‘Inside Texas Politics’

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The Boy Scouts’ new policy allowing gay youth but banning gay adult leaders is the new “don’t ask, don’t tell.” At least that’s what I told Inside Texas Politics during a “My Voice, My Opinion” segment on the Sunday morning news show this week. My 60-second commentary begins shortly after the 8:40 mark in the video below.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Why is Texas’ ‘homosexual conduct’ law still on the books?

I went on WFAA-TV’s Inside Texas Politics this week to talk about Texas’ “homosexual conduct” law, which remains on the books despite being declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court 10 years ago. Watch my commentary at the 8:30 mark in the video below.

—  John Wright

DV presents Mayoral Runoff LGBT Community Forum tonight

Dallas’ future mayor answers your LGBT questions

With the Dallas mayoral runoff election less than a month away, voters have the opportunity tonight to ask candidates Mike Rawlings and David Kunkle where they stand on issues important to the LGBT community. Dallas Voice online editor John Wright and staff writer David Taffet will moderate the forum, which will include questions submitted by partner organizations, followed by questions for the candidates from audience members. The forum is free and open to the public. This year marks only the second time in history when all candidates for Dallas mayor have actively courted the LGBT vote.

Other partnering organizations involved with the forum include AIDS Arms Inc., Cedar Springs Merchants Association and Dallas Tavern Guild.

For more information, contact Dallas Voice at 214-754-8710. To RSVP for the forum on Facebook, go here.

DEETS: Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. 6 p.m. Free. DallasVoice.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Black Tie Dinner 2010

Photos by John Wright and Brent Paxton/Dallas Voice

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO

—  John Wright

Friends talk about search for missing lesbian Lisa Stone

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—  John Wright

Dallas could elect 1st gay judge

Judicial candidates John Loza, Tonya Parker among 4 LGBTs running in local races in 2010

By John Wright | News Editor wright@dallasvoice.com
IN THE RUNNING | Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, clockwise from top left, County Judge Jim Foster, attorney Tonya Parker and former Councilman John Loza are LGBT candidates who plan to run in Dallas County elections in 2010. The filing period ends Jan. 4.

Dallas County has had its share of openly gay elected officials, from Sheriff Lupe Valdez to District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons to County Judge Jim Foster.
But while Foster, who chairs the Commissioners Court, is called a “judge,” he’s not a member of the judiciary, to which the county’s voters have never elected an out LGBT person.

Two Democrats running in 2010 — John Loza and Tonya Parker — are hoping to change that.

“This is the first election cycle that I can remember where we’ve had openly gay candidates for the judiciary,” said Loza, a former Dallas City Councilman who’s been involved in local LGBT politics for decades. “It’s probably long overdue, to be honest with you.”

Dallas County’s Jerry Birdwell became the first openly gay judge in Texas when he was appointed by Gov. Ann Richards in 1992. But after coming under attack for his sexual orientation by the local Republican Party, Birdwell, a Democrat, lost his bid for re-election later that year.

Also in the November 1992 election, Democrat Barbara Rosenberg defeated anti-gay Republican Judge Jack Hampton.

But Rosenberg, who’s a lesbian, wasn’t out at the time and didn’t run as an openly LGBT candidate.

Loza, who’s been practicing criminal law in Dallas for the last 20 years, is running for the County Criminal Court No. 5 seat. Incumbent Tom Fuller is retiring. Loza said he expects to face three other Democrats in the March primary, meaning a runoff is likely. In addition to groups like Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, he said he’ll seek an endorsement from the Washington, D.C.-based Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which provides financial backing to LGBT candidates nationwide.

Parker, who’s running for the 116th Civil District Court seat, declined to be interviewed for this story. Incumbent Bruce Priddy isn’t expected to seek re-election, and Parker appears to be the favorite for the Democratic nomination.

If she wins in November, Parker would become the first LGBT African-American elected official in Dallas County.

Loza and Parker are among four known local LGBT candidates in 2010.
They join fellow Democrats Fitzsimmons and Foster, who are each seeking a second four-year term.

While Foster is vulnerable and faces two strong challengers in the primary, Fitzsimmons is extremely popular and said he’s confident he’ll be re-elected.

“I think pretty much everybody knows that the District Clerk’s Office is probably the best-run office in Dallas County government,” Fitzsimmons said. “I think this county is a Democratic County, and I think I’ve proved myself to be an outstanding county administrator, and I think the people will see that.”

Randall Terrell, political director for Equality Texas, said this week he wasn’t aware of any openly LGBT candidates who’ve filed to run in state races in 2010.

Although Texas made headlines recently for electing the nation’s first gay big-city mayor, the state remains one of 20 that lack an out legislator.

Denis Dison, a spokesman for the Victory Fund, said he’s hoping Annise Parker’s victory in Houston last week will inspire more qualified LGBT people to run for office.

“It gives other people permission really to think of themselves as leaders,” Dison said.

The filing period for March primaries ends Jan. 4.


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 18, 2009.

—  admin

Voice staff discuss the history of LGBT journalism tonight at Cathedral of Hope

As part of their Cathedral U (as in university) series, Cathedral of Hope hosts Dallas Voice News Editor John Wright and Lambda Weekly radio host and Voice staff writer David Taffet tonight in like, less than an hour. The two will be discussing LGBT journalism and its place in Dallas over the years.

Wright is convinced there are other things to do than go see him talk but I recommend heading over there with loads of questions for the two. They’d totally love it.

The class is part of the Wednesday night services and begins at 6:15.

—  Rich Lopez