Iconic LGBT activist Ray Hill files for Texas House seat

Ray Hill

Ray Hill

Long time Houston LGBT activist Ray Hill filed paperwork this week to run for the 147th Texas House seat against incumbent Garnet Coleman, D – Houston. The iconic (and iconoclastic) Hill said that he and Coleman agree on many issues but that he had “some issues  that aren’t on the table in Austin.”

Specifically Hill has concerns with the legislature’s approach to criminal justice issues. “The Texas legislature is a serial world class red-necking competition,” says Hill. “What they are doing on criminal justice is wrong and it doesn’t work… we need a serious rethink.”

Coleman has a strong history of supporting LGBT legislation. For the last three sessions he has attempted to pass anti-bullying legislation that would require school districts to report instances of bullying using an enumerated list of motivating characteristics that include both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, he has also filed legislation to remove the the crime of “homosexual conduct” from the Texas penal code (a law that has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court), to equalize age of consent laws in Texas and to add gender identity and expression to the state’s hate crime law. In the 82nd legislature earlier this year Coleman authored seven pieces of legislation designed to create greater equality for LGBT people, including the first ever filing of legislation to standardize change of gender marker procedures for the transgender community and the first effort to repeal the state’s constitutional prohibition against marriage equality.

Hill recognizes Coleman’s historic contributions, “The incumbent and I agree on a lot of issues,” says Hill, “but we don’t tell young gay people ‘if you work real hard and go to school and do your best you can grow up to have straight friends in Austin who like you.’ No, we tell them ‘if you work hard they can grow up to be Mayor of Houston, or City Supervisor of San Francisco.’”

When asked why the community would be better served by him than Coleman, a 20 year legislative veteran, Hill replies “I understand how government works. A freshman legislator can’t do anything more than irritate, but that’s about all any member of the minority party can do. On that level the incumbent and I are on the same level… I think we need somebody obnoxious [in the legislature] who’s going to purposefully rub the cat hair the wrong direction.”

Since being elected to the legislature for the first time in 1992 Coleman has been unopposed in 5 of his 9 primary reelection bids. No primary challenger to Coleman has pulled more than 21% of the vote.

—  admin

Sally Kern: Gays (and Gaga) are the real haters!

Rep. Sally Kern

In case you missed Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern’s appearance on Tim Wildmon’s American Family Radio, she was on promoting her new book, The Stoning of Sally Kern.

Wildmon is the president of the hate group the American Family Association. Kern is the legislator whose district includes a large number of those killed in the Oklahoma City bombing, but who says that homosexuals are a bigger threat to this country than terrorists.

On the show, Wildmon said, “Nobody hates the individual homosexual.”

That’s great to know.

“To me what is hateful is when those people who say ‘you’re born this way, there’s no hope in change, you’re stuck in this, deal with it,’ that is hate,” Kern responded. “There’s no hope in that.”

—  David Taffet

What’s Brewing: Sally Kern’s book; poll shows strong support for marriage equality in Ireland

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Anti-gay Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern has written a book (right) about the national outcry over her comments in 2008, when she said homosexuality is a bigger threat to America than terrorism. Below are some of the tags Amazon users have associated with the book.

2. Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, a new poll shows that 73 percent of people in Ireland support same-sex marriage.

3. Fewer than 1 percent of state legislators in the U.S. are openly LGBT, but their impact has been huge when it comes to pro-equality legislation, the Associated Press reports. Texas, of course, is one of 18 states that lack an out legislator.

—  John Wright

Kern supporters start slinging mud at Novotny

It appears that the mudslinging has started in the race for the District 84 seat in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, where incumbent Republican Sally Kerns of Oklahoma City is facing Democratic challenger Brittany Novotny, a transgender woman also from Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee sent an e-mail to its members on Tuesday, Sept. 7, in which Novotny was described as “a confused ‘it’” who hates God.

The e-mail, signed by Charlie Meadows and headlined “Sally Kern’s opponent in Hollywood for a fundraiser,” said, in part:

“Brittany used to be a ‘he,’ had a sex change operation to make him into a ‘her’ but turned out to become a confused ‘it.’ Some have suggested that having a sex change operation is a person’s greatest act of rebellion and hatred toward God for His making them what they were.

“It is truly sad to see people reject God’s love for them by being willing to mutilate themselves. If they would submit their life to God, they could find the true the joy in life that will forever elude them while on their path of rebellion. ”

Kern is the legislator who in 2008 was tape recorded telling a Republican group that LGBT people are a bigger threat to America than terrorism. She recently defended those remarks, telling an Oklahoma City TV station that while there have been only three “real big” terrorist attacks on the U.S., society is constantly “bombarded with the message that homosexuality is normal and natural.”

In a statement released Thursday, Sept. 9, Novotny responded: “If Rep. Kern and her allies spent as much time focusing on Oklahoma’s future as they seem to spend worrying about my past, maybe we could keep teachers in the classroom and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.

“This type of personal attack is what Oklahomans are tired of, and it shows why Kern and her political allies continue to be out of touch with mainstream Oklahoma values,” Novotny added.

Novotny also said that OCPAC’s claim that she hates God is “ridiculous,” and noted that she attends services at United Church of Christ.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 10, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas

Long Island Latino Legislator Could Make NY Marriage History

When Dave Mejias was elected to the Nassau County Legislature in 2003, he became the first Latino to serve in that body (his parents are Cuban and Ecuadorean).

He was re-elected in 2005 and continues to represent a district whose Latino population is growing rapidly.

Now running for state Senate, Mejias could make history again by beating a 20-year incumbent in this swing district and becoming the tipping-point vote for marriage equality.

During a recent discussion with Mejias, I was impressed with this religious man’s passionate support for marriage equality and his enthusiasm and focus on running a  winning campaign.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright