A week after publishing 1st same-sex wedding ads, DMN profiles anti-gay bigot Robert Jeffress

Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church of Dallas

Perhaps this represents the real price the LGBT community must pay in exchange for same-sex wedding announcements in our daily newspaper. One week after publishing its first gay wedding ads, The Dallas Morning News (subscription only) on Sunday came out with a glowing front-page profile of anti-gay bigot Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas.

The story, under the headline “Pastor hopes to restore glory to First Baptist Church,” reveals that Jeffress has increased resident membership by a whopping 5 percent during his first four years at First Baptist. But overall membership is still down by about 35 percent since the church was led by W.A. Criswell.

The story claims that when Jeffress was a 15-year-old member at First Baptist, Criswell told him, “Robert, I want you to learn every square inch of this place [First Baptist] because one day it’s all gonna be yours.”

OK, that’s just plain creepy. Did they go over every square inch of anything else?

And speaking of creepy, the story concludes with a passage about how Jeffress once dressed up as a bright-yellow, six-foot banana to go on Let’s Make A Deal. Gee, sexually repressed much?

Overall, the DMN story is way too positive given the extent of Jeffress’ incessant hate-mongering — and it really doesn’t belong on the front page to begin with (perhaps an inside religion page?). But there is some token balance, most notably this passage:

—  John Wright

‘March On’ captures audience award at AGLIFF

Dallas activist Laura McFerrin’s documentary about the 2009 National Equality March, “March On,” was named Audience Favorite at the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival over the weekend. McFerrin said in an e-mail Tuesday morning that the film’s world premiere was a success and that everyone featured in the documentary came to Austin for the event (photo above). A big congrats to Laura. For more info about “March On,” go here.

—  John Wright

Dallas activist Laura McFerrin took one for the team to help disrupt Obama's speech

GetEQUAL, the direct action group that disrupted the president’s speech during a Los Angeles fundraiser last night, continues to take on a Dallas strain. Last month, local activists Chastity “Chaz” Kirven and Michael Robinson were among those arrested during sit-ins at the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. And last night, our own Laura McFerrin was involved in the operation to disrupt Obama’s speech. I spoke briefly with McFerrin this morning as she prepared to board a plane back to Dallas. McFerrin said she was driving two other activists to the event, Michelle Wright and Zoe Nicholson, when the street was closed down in front of them because Obama’s plane had landed early.

“I told Zoe and Michelle to get out of the car and start running,” McFerrin said. “The important part was Zoe was able to get in, because she was one of the three people yelling. I said, ‘I’m taking one for the team, get out of the car.’”

McFerrin, who planned on filming the whole disruption, said she didn’t arrive until an hour later, after it was over. Despite the glitch, though, she said she feels it was a success.

“We had activists get in there, and Obama heard us,” McFerrin said. “I think he was upset that he was being heckled and yelled at. Sometimes you have to upset people. I just think he’s going to notice that we’re not going away.  We want to be heard. We want action. Some people in the gay community are like, ‘Let him do his job,’ but it’s an immediate issue for a lot of people who are in the military right now. Sometimes you have to be disrespectful.”

According to a statement from GetEQUAL, the protesters were escorted out by security, but there were no arrests. The statement, which includes bios of each activist, says McFerrin was the only one of the six involved who isn’t from California. From McFerrin’s GetEQUAL bio:

“She organized a protest at First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX after the minister preached a sermon, “Why Gay is Not Okay.” Laura is the director of ‘March On,’ a documentary following the lives of several LGBT families on their journey to the National Equality March in Washington last October.  She believes that this direct action will serve as a wake-up call to Obama and remind him of his promises.”

—  John Wright

'March On' trailer released

Here’s the first trailer for “March On,” a documentary about last year’s National Equality March that’s being directed by Dallas activist Laura McFerrin. No word on when the film itself will be released, but the trailer also features another Dallas activist, Elizabeth Pax. For more info about “March On,” go here.

—  John Wright

Dallas featured in Equality March video

Local activist Laura McFerrin, historian for this coming weekend’s National Equality March in Washington, put together the above promotional video currently featured on the march’s official blog. The video, called “Will You March With Us in Washington?”,  includes numerous images from Dallas over the last year, from rallies outside First Baptist Church in November 2008 to Cleve Jones’ recent appearance at Gay Pride. But I gotta warn you: Watching the video may result in having “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

—  John Wright