PIC OF THE DAY: Could this be the iconic new image for gay Dallas?

Above and below are screen grabs from video of the new LED lights on Reunion Tower during a test that was conducted on New Year’s Eve.

As if the tower’s phallic shape combined with the rainbow colors wasn’t gay enough, the new lights were installed by a gay-owned company, Wiedamark Lighting.

Mark Reed-Walkup, co-owner of Wiedamark, told Instant Tea he can’t discuss the project pending an official announcement from Hunt Consolidated Group, which owns the 55-story tower.

For now, check out the video from The Dallas Morning News by going here.

—  John Wright

The Dallas Morning News’ 1st same-sex wedding announcements have been delayed 1 week

For those eagerly waiting to see the first-ever same-sex wedding announcements in The Dallas Morning News, you’ll have to wait another week.

Mark Reed-Walkup and Dante Walkup, the gay couple that recently convinced The DMN to run their wedding announcement as, well, an actual wedding announcement, reports that publication of the ad has been delayed until Sunday, July 17.

Last week we reported the Walkups’ ad would run Sunday, July 10, but Reed-Walkup said this week’s section had already gone to the printer by the time they booked the ad.

Reed-Walkup said at least one other same-sex couple will also have a wedding announcement in the Sunday, July 17 edition.

Above is a sneak preview (click to enlarge) in the form of the Walkups’ receipt for the ad. As you can see, the “amount due” indicates that “the right thing to do” can also be lucrative, but hey, at least this time the receipt is legitimate.

—  John Wright

For what it’s worth, Texas voters might not have banned marriage AND civil unions in 2012

Nearly six years ago, Texas voters approved Proposition 2 — a constitutional amendment banning both same-sex marriage and civil unions — by a three-fourths majority. But if the measure appeared on the ballot in 2012, it would be “favored to receive” a majority of only 52.5 percent, according to an analysis from The New York Times’ FiveThirtyEighty blog, by statistician Nate Silver.

Texas is one of only 15 states where bans on both same-sex marriage and civil unions would still be favored to pass in 2012, Silver concludes, and the measures would be “very likely” to pass in only two states — Alabama and Mississippi. But those numbers go up for a constitutional amendment banning only same-sex marriage and not civil unions — which would pass in Texas by an estimated majority of 59.5 percent.

Of course, the problem with Texas’ constitutional amendment is that it’s already on the books. To repeal it would require a two-thirds majority of the Legislature, in addition to a simple majority of voters. Which is why most believe same-sex relationships will be recognized here only after the U.S. Supreme Court declares the amendment unconstitutional.

In related news, Mark Reed-Walkup, who recently won the right to have his same-sex marriage published under Weddings in The Dallas Morning News, has launched a Twitter handle @tx4m, based on the hashtag used in New York leading up to last month’s marriage equality vote. Reed-Walkup has also launched a Facebook page called Texans for Marriage Equality.

—  John Wright

Dallas Morning News confirms that it will publish same-sex marriages under Weddings

Mark Reed Walkup, left, and Dante Walkup

Dallas Morning News Publisher James M. Moroney III confirmed today that the newspaper will begin publishing same-sex marriage announcements under Weddings. The DMN has published same-sex marriage announcements for several years, under a separate header that’s currently called Commitments. But until now the newspaper has refused to publish the announcements, which are paid advertisements, under Weddings.

Mark Reed-Walkup and Dante Walkup of Irving, who were legally married in Washington, D.C., last year, filed a discrimination complaint against The DMN in December, alleging that the policy violates a Dallas city ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in public accommodations. The DMN initially indicated through its attorneys that it planned to defend the policy, based partly on Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage. But in a meeting with the couple on Thursday, Moroney and DMN Editor Bob Mong informed them of the policy change.

Moroney told Instant Tea today that the newspaper made the change, which takes effect immediately, because it was “the right thing to do,” adding that he isn’t worried about backlash from conservative readers.

“When you do the right thing, you just do the right thing,” Moroney said. “I believe that publishing same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legally allowed, that publishing those under the Weddings heading in our newspaper, is the right thing to do.”

The Walkups said their marriage announcement will appear in the DMN on Sunday, July 10.

“It was a tremendous relief,” Reed-Walkup said of Thursday’s news. “It’s been a very long, stressful process.”

The couple said they felt the issue was important because the announcements will allow young people to see that same-sex marriage is possible.

“We are legally married and we have the right to let everybody know about it, just like everybody else,” Dante Walkup said.

Although the couple prevailed, Reed-Walkup criticized the city of Dallas for its handling of the discrimination complaint. He said an investigator wasn’t assigned to the case until April, and city officials failed to communicate with the couple about the status of the complaint.

Reed-Walkup eventually set up meetings with Moroney and Mong on his own.

“Now I understand why 53 complaints have been filed and not a single one of them has ever been prosecuted,” Reed-Walkup said. “It’s broken and it needs fixed.”

Read a statement from the couple below.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Dallas Morning News reportedly agrees to publish same-sex weddings

Thomas-Mark-Reed-and-Dante-Karl-Walkup
Mark Reed-Walkup and Dante Walkup

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Mark Reed-Walkup, a local GetEQUAL board member who filed a discrimination complaint against The Dallas Morning News for refusing to publish his paid same-sex wedding announcement, reports that the newspaper has agreed to change its policy and he will be dropping the case. “We met with the CEO and Editor today of the Dallas Morning News and they are changing their policy to allow same-gender wedding announcements be placed in their wedding section,” Reed-Walkup wrote Thursday evening. “We are dropping our lawsuit tomorrow. OH F’ING HAPPY DAY! Thank you Dallas Morning News for doing the right thing today!” Stay tuned to Instant Tea for more.

2. Jesse Garcia, president of Dallas’ gay LULAC chapter and former president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, says he is moving to Washington, D.C., to accept a position with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Children, Youth and Families. Stay tuned for more on this as well.

3. Thanks to KPRC in Houston, which also broke the original story, we now know what Southwest Airlines pilot Capt. James Fritzen Taylor looks like. Sort of. At left is a grainy, black-and-white photo of the Argyle man whose anti-gay, mysoginistic rant over an stuck cockpit microphone in March has created a PR nightmare for the Dallas-based airline over the last 10 days. Taylor has apologized for the rant, and a flight attendants’ union has accepted his apology. No word on whether Taylor’s wife has forgiven him, but any gay, granny or grande will tell you that if this guy really wants to get laid, he needs to post some better photos of himself online.

—  John Wright

So there’ll no LGBT Pride flag at City Hall this year, but hey, at least there’s one at Citibank!!!

Speaking of marking LGBT Pride Month, GetEQUAL board member Mark Reed-Walkup, who lives in Irving, tweeted the above photo of the flag outside Citibank’s offices. It’s not the first year in which Citibank in Irving has flown the flag, but Reed said he was thrilled that the company re-tweeted his photo.

“Citibank has made several Texan LGBT folk very proud for their show of support!” Reed wrote later on Twitter.

“We love to see that,” Citibank responded. “Thanks so much for sharing the photo!”

—  John Wright