National Center for Lesbian Rights ED Kate Kendell visits Dallas on Friday

Kate Kendell

Get ready to bet big this Friday at a poker and blackjack tournament in Dallas benefiting the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

NCLR’s Executive Director Kate Kendell  and Deputy Director Arcelia Hurtado will be in attendance to speak about the work the organization has done to create positive change in the lives of many.

The event is Friday and is hosted by Kelli Herd & Kim Deneau at Tower Aqua Lounge at the Heights at Park Lane, 8066 Park Lane. The benefit is from 6-8 p.m. with the tournament following from 8 p.m. to closing.

There is a suggested donation of $100 for those who attend, as well as a $100 donation for poker and blackjack buy-ins.

To RSVP, go here. For more info, email Eleanor Palacios at epalacios@nclrights.org and include “NCLR in Dallas” in the subject line or call 415-365-1309.

—  Anna Waugh

Judge to rule within 24 hours on Prop 8 motion

Judge James Ware

U.S. District Chief Judge James Ware plans to issue a written ruling within 24 hours on a motion to vacate Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision declaring Prop 8 unconstitutional. And it sure sounds like Ware intends to rule against Prop 8 supporters, who say Walker should have recused himself because he’s gay and was in a long-term same-sex relationship.

Reuters reports that Ware, who’s African-American, sharply questioned attorneys for Prop 8 supporters during today’s hearing on the motion. “If a reasonable person thought a black judge should recuse himself from a civil rights case, that would be sufficient to recuse the judge?” Ware said.

The LA Times reports that Ware also noted there is no evidence Walker ever wished to marry his partner.

From the National Center for Lesbian Rights, one of the groups that filed a brief in May opposing the motion:

“Today’s hearing made it crystal clear that the Prop 8 proponents’ central claim — that Judge Walker should have recused himself from the case because he is in a same-sex relationship — is absolutely baseless. During the hearing, Judge Ware pointedly asked the attorney for the proponents whether an African-American judge would have to recuse himself from a race discrimination case because some people might view him as biased. As Judge Ware’s question artfully showed, our legal system does not assume that judges who are in the majority with respect to their race, religion, sexual orientation or any other personal characteristic are the only ones who can be unbiased. Judges take an oath to be impartial and do their job faithfully. It is outrageous and offensive to suggest that a gay judge is incapable of fulfilling that vow, or that Judge Walker did not do so in this case. We are hopeful that the ruling will dismiss this bigoted attempt to discredit Judge Walker’s eminently sound ruling that concluded correctly, after weeks of trial and months of careful consideration, that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.”

NCLR also noted that today’s hearing included argument on a motion by Prop 8 supporters to force the plaintiffs’ lawyers to return their copies of the video recordings of the trial. Ware announced that he intends to issue a written ruling denying that motion and permitting the lawyers to keep the tapes.

—  John Wright

Constance is going to the prom

Constance McMillen
Constance McMillen

Constance McMillen is finally going to the prom.

Each year the National Center for Lesbian Rights holds what they call “the lesbian prom” in San Francisco. McMillen has been invited to the May 1 event and NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell said the group will pay for her travel.

Can you imagine being a high school senior and experiencing the ups and downs she’s gone through. First the uproar in her town that resulted in the cancellation of her school prom, just because she wanted to wear a tux and take her girlfriend.

Then she became an instant celebrity, highlighted by an appearance on the Ellen Degeneres show where she was awarded a college scholarship.

Back home, to show just how nasty and spiteful they could be, a secret prom is scheduled and she’s invited to a fake prom. Rather than just plan a private party, her classmates decided that a nice bit of humiliation was necessary.

But now she gets to attend a prom in San Francisco. Hmmm … rural Mississippi or San Francisco. No matter what her classmates (and school officials) have planned for her next, this comeback kid is going to one up them with the entire LGBT community backing her.

—  David Taffet