City of Dallas again tries to keep complaints of anti-gay bias secret

Baylor

Alan Rodriguez, right, filed a complaint with the city in February 2011 after the Tom Landry Fitness Center refused to issue him and his partner a family membership. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

After Dallas Voice won a legal battle against the Dallas City Attorney’s Office four years ago, the city is again trying to deny the newspaper access to records related to complaints filed under the city’s sexual orientation nondiscrimination ordinance.

The Baylor-owned Tom Landry Fitness Center’s decision to end family memberships to prevent a gay couple from receiving the discount was highlighted in this week’s Dallas Voice. Before the article was published, we requested to view the case file since Melissa Miles, an assistant city attorney who oversees the complaints, told us the case was closed.

A week before, Beverly Davis, assistant director of the Fair Housing Office, told Dallas Voice the case was still open, but later agreed to let us review the file after the city cleared it for review in three days. But we were not able to view the file before the story was published.

Then the city sent us a letter on Tuesday, informing us they were sending our request to the Texas Attorney General’s Office for a decision on whether we could have access to the file.

We reached out to try and clarify why this was done because in 2008 Dallas Voice hired an attorney to represent us in an effort to have access to the discrimination files, and the attorney general issued an opinion that the city had to allow Dallas Voice to view them.

Assistant City Attorney Michael Bostic confirmed today that the Baylor case is closed, but he said the city is still reviewing whether to release the file.

When asked about the attorney general’s 2008 opinion saying discrimination cases are public record, Bostic initially said he didn’t recall it.

“No one has any recollection,” Bostic said, before requesting that Dallas Voice send a copy of the AG’s opinion to him.

—  Anna Waugh