#VVS2010: Fischer vs. judges, gays, atheists, pagans, [fill-in-the-blanks]

The man, the myth, the legend: Brian ““homosexuals in the military gave us…six million dead Jews” Fischer, on how “truth has become hate speech”:







[Right Wing Watch]

**Past FISCHER:

-The time Mr. Fischer said “homosexuals should be disqualified from public office”

-The time Mr. Fischer said that “homosexuals in the military gave us…six million dead Jews.

-The time Mr. Fischer called on Christian conservatives to breed gays and progressives out of existence

-The time Mr. Fischer said “permits should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America

-The time Mr. Fischer reduced gays to people who “want to use the alimentary canal for sexual purposes”

-The time Mr. Fischer declared that “Every time an HIV-infected male has sex with another male, it’s essentially the same as plunging an infected heroin needle into his arm. He’s passing on a potential death sentence, just as the Taliban seeks to do on a foreign battlefield.”

-The time Mr. Fischer said only gays were savage enough for Hitler

-The time Mr. Fischer invoked a Biblical story about stabbing “sexually immoral” people with spears, saying we need this kind of action in modern day

-The time Mr. Fischer compared gays to heroin abusers

-The time Mr. Fischer told us to just shut up

-The time Mr. Fischer oddly interpreted past historical oppressions

-The time Mr. Fischer directly compared laws against gay soldiers to those that apply to bank robbers




Good As You

—  John Wright

NOM Joins American Family Association Spending Thousands to Oust Iowa Judges

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which has a history of trying to defeat pro-equality state candidates in Iowa, this week reported spending more than 5,000 on a television ad that targets three justices on the Iowa Supreme Court who were part of a unanimous 2009 decision ruling that the equal protection provision of the Iowa Constitution guarantees gay and lesbian couples the same right to marry as heterosexual couples.

NOM’s expenditure became public in an independent expenditure report filed with the state this week.

NOM joined the American Family Association, referred to as “among the most vigilant and vicious and anti-gay activists operating today” by the Right-Wing Watch, in supporting the efforts of the AFA-affiliated Iowa for Freedom. Led by former Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert Vander Plaats, Iowa for Freedom has targeted three Supreme Court justices facing a judicial retention election in November. 

“This is the same old NOM playbook,” said Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese. ”This was a unanimous decision, an impartial decision, a decision based on the state constitution of Iowa. But none of that matters to NOM, which will go anywhere and spend unlimited resources to spread fear. Now they’re trying to intimidate judges whose job it is to interpret the law. Shame on them.”

The ad, entitled, “Send Them a Message” is on YouTube.

According to the Iowa Independent, in a joint radio appearance with Bryan Fischer, the director of issue analysis for government and public policy, Vander Plaats agreed that the effort to outset the judges was “the single most important election this Nov. 2.”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

O’Connor Speaks on Targeted Iowa Judges

SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR X390 (FAIR) | ADVOCATE.COMFormer U.S. Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor is speaking to a
group of legal and business figures about keeping the court system
merit-based rather than having judges run political campaigns to retain
their seats.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

Texas Appeals Court Rejects Judge’s Ruling Allowing Gay Divorce

The Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas, Texas today reversed an October 2009 decision by District Judge Tena Callahan allowing a same-sex divorce, with instructions to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Callahan In her 2009 decision, Callahan ruled that "the state prohibition of same-sex marriage violates the federal constitutional right to equal protection" and ruled that two men married in Massachusetts in September 2006 could divorce in the state.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Governor Rick Perry expressed angst over Callahan's ruling.

Said Abbott at the time: "The laws and constitution of the State of Texas define marriage as an institution involving one man and one woman. Today's ruling purports to strike down that constitutional definition – despite the fact that it was recently adopted by 75 percent of Texas voters."

Added Perry: "Texas voters and lawmakers have repeatedly affirmed the view that marriage is defined as between one man and one woman. I believe the ruling is flawed and should be appealed."

Abbott appealed. Arguments were heard in April.

Today the court rejected Callahan's ruling: "Same-sex marriages or civil unions are prohibited by a voter-approved amendment to the state Constitution and the Texas Family Code. The appeals court said today that the trial court wrongly ruled that those provisions violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment."


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

DART accused of transphobia

Judge reversed order after transit agency fought longtime employee’s gender-marker change last year

John Wright | News Editor
wright@dallasvoice.com

TRANS FRIENDLY? | Judge Lynn Cherry, right, is shown alongside drag performer Chanel during Stonewall Democrats’ 2008 holiday party at the Round-Up Saloon. A few months later, Cherry ruled against a transgender DART employee and overturned a gender-marker change. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

DART stands accused of bigotry and transphobia after attorneys for the local transit agency intervened in family court last year to challenge a gender-marker change granted to an employee.

According to court records, a transgender DART employee obtained a court order in February 2009 directing all state agencies to correct their records by changing her gender-marker from male to female, including on her birth certificate.

As Dallas Voice reported last week, many Dallas County judges have been routinely granting gender-marker changes to transgender people who meet set criteria — including documentation from licensed medical personnel — since the Democratic sweep of 2006.

The DART employee, who’s name is being withheld to protect her anonymity, later presented the court order to the transit agency’s human resources department and requested that her personnel records be changed to reflect her new gender.

But DART’s attorneys objected to the gender-marker change and responded by filing a motion seeking a rehearing in court. DART’s objections prompted 301st Family District Court Judge Lynn Cherry to reverse her order granting the gender-marker change.

“Where does this stop when an employer can start interfering with your personal life and family law decisions?” said longtime local transgender activist Pamela Curry, a friend of the DART employee who brought the case to the attention of Dallas Voice. “She was devastated. This should be a serious concern to a lot of people — everybody — and I just think this story needs to be told.”

Judge Cherry, who received Stonewall Democrats of Dallas’ Pink Pump Award for her support of the group last year, didn’t respond to messages seeking comment this week.

Morgan Lyons, a spokesman for DART, noted that Cherry reversed her order before the agency actually filed its motion for a rehearing. However, Curry alleges that DART’s attorneys met with Cherry privately and pressured her into reversing the order.

As is common with gender-marker changes, the case file has been sealed, but Dallas Voice obtained copies of some of the court documents from Curry.

In their motion for a rehearing, DART attorneys Harold R. McKeever and Hyattye Simmons argued that Texas law grants registrars, not judges, the authority to amend birth certificates. They also argued that birth certificates could be amended only if they were inaccurate at the time of birth.

“It’s not a DART issue, it’s a point of law,” Lyons told Dallas Voice this week, in response to the allegations of bigotry. “The lawyers concluded that the birth certificate could not be altered by law, unless there was a mistake made when the birth certificate was completed, and again, the judge changed the order before we even wound up going into court with it.”

Asked about DART’s LGBT-related employment policies, Lyons said the agency’s nondiscrimination policy includes sexual orientation but not gender identity/expression. The agency, which is governed by representatives from Dallas and numerous suburbs, also doesn’t offer benefits to the domestic partners of employees.

Lyons didn’t respond to other allegations made by Curry, including that the agency has fought the employee’s transition from male to female at every step of the way.

Curry, who helped the employee file her pro se petition for a gender-marker change, said the employee has worked for DART for more than 20 years and has an outstanding performance record.

The employee began to come out as transgender in 2003 and had gender reassignment surgery more than three years ago, Curry said. Curry said DART supervisors have at various times told the employee that she couldn’t have long hair, couldn’t wear skirts to work and couldn’t use women’s restrooms at work.

The employee has responded by showing up at work in her uniform so she doesn’t have to change and using public restrooms on her bus route, Curry said.

Supervisors have also told the employee she can’t talk to the media and can’t join political groups, such as Stonewall Democrats, Curry said.

“She’s intimidated and she’s scared,” Curry said. “One supervisor even suggested to her that if she doesn’t lay off it, they will mess up her retirement.”

Elaine Mosher, a Dallas attorney who’s familiar with the case, also questioned why DART intervened. Mosher didn’t represent the employee in the case but has handled gender-marker changes for other clients.

Mosher said the employee’s gender doesn’t have any bearing on her ability to do her job at DART.

“My argument in any gender marker matter is, the birth certificate was wrong, that’s why they had to go through the transition surgery, in essence to put them in the correct gender,” Mosher said. “All I can tell you is that it seems strange to me that DART would care one way or another what the gender marker of anybody that works for them is.”

Moster added that she believes someone at DART may have been “freaked out” by the employee’s transition from male to female and developed a “vendetta” against her.

“I wish I had a good explanation for why [DART got involved] other than the fact that I know there are people out there who are utterly blind and prejudiced for no other reason than they are,” Mosher said. “I compare it to some of the nonsense African-Americans had to live through in the ’60s.”

Mosher also said she’s “very surprised” that Cherry reversed the order granting the gender marker change.

Erin Moore, president of Stonewall Democrats, said she’s heard “bits and pieces” of the story but isn’t sure of all the facts.

Moore said in response to her questions about the case, Cherry told her she couldn’t talk about it because it’s still within the timeframe for a possible appeal.

“Lynn is a longtime supporter of Stonewall and I would think she would be fair in the case,” Moore said. “I’m confident she’s an ally to this community.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 19, 2010.

—  admin