For Valentine’s Day, a resonant tale of ‘Loving’ and marriage

lovingstory03The very title of the Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia is almost too perfect not to respect the irony of what it represented.

In 1958, Richard Loving married a half-black, half-Native American named Mildred in D.C., then returned to their home in rural Virginia. A month later, sheriff’s deputies entered their bedroom as they slept, arresting them for violating the state’s anti-miscegenation law, which forbid mixing of the races. They were jailed, convicted and eventually banished from the state in a manner more akin to ancient Rome than modern-day America.

Virginia was hardly unique — as Barack Obama’s parents could probably tell you, 21 states banned mixed-race marriages in 1958. It would take nine years, following protracted legal wrangling, before the Lovings could live openly and legally as Virginians.

It is impossible to watch The Loving Story — which debuts on HBO, again ironically, on Valentine’s Day — and not consider it (especially in light of the events this week) as it relates to Proposition 8 and the rights of gays to wed. Indeed, the statement by one of the lawyers representing the Lovings that “marriage is a fundamental right of man” — spoken more than 40 years ago — resonates sharply for any gay person who has felt a lesser person because of the bigotry and antiquated thinking of considering a fellow man as being “other” … whether by race or sexual orientation.

There’s surprisingly little directorial commentary in this documentary, which is made up substantially of real-time newsreel and other footage of the Lovings at home and on TV, and their lawyers strategizing. Little comment is needed, especially when the offensive language of the courts speaks volumes: The races were meant to stay on separate continents, the Virginia county judge opined, cuz that’s how God wanted it.

Two things especially stand out in The Loving Story. The first is the couple at the center of it: A man and a woman of modest means and humble background who simply and truly were in love and wanted to live as man and wife and couldn’t understand what they were doing wrong. The second is that the arguments made — back then and now, on both sides — apply equally to same-sex marriage issues. We’ve come a long way, but damn, we still have so far to go.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Four stars. Airs Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. on HBO.

—  Kevin Thomas

WATCH: Fox 4 on Dallas’ failure to enforce ordinance prohibiting anti-gay discrimination

 

I’m on vacation this week but I couldn’t resist putting this up. Before I left on Friday for an undisclosed location, I got a call from Peter Daut at Fox 4. He wanted me to put him in touch with Mark Reed-Walkup and Dante Walkup, the local gay couple that filed a discrimination complaint against The Dallas Morning News for refusing to publish their wedding announcement. Peter had seen our post on Friday saying that despite 53 complaints file in nine years, the city has never prosecuted a single case under its ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. So I connected Peter with Mark, and above is the result. It’s a good story that brings needed attention to the issue, but I should note that there is a fact error: The report says the case isn’t going anywhere because sexual orientation isn’t a protected class. Not true. Sexual orientation is a protected class in the city of Dallas, and that’s the whole point. There’s an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, and people have been filing complaints under it, but the City Attorney’s Office isn’t doing anything with them. Peter is right when he says the complaint isn’t going anywhere. But he’s wrong about the reason why. Also, he should have given us credit.

—  John Wright

Gay man found murdered in northeast Dallas

Aaron Cheung, left, in an ad for his restaurant

Aaron Cheung, 27, was found dead in his car by a passerby at 3:20 a.m. on Dec. 12, according to police reports. He died of an apparent gunshot wound to the head.

Cheung was an early organizer and member of Youth First Texas and the Resource Center group men’s group Fuse. He was born in West Islip, N.Y., on Long Island. He graduated from North Myrtle Beach High School in South Carolina and then moved to Dallas with his family nine years ago. From the Dallas Police Department:

At about 3:20 a.m. on December 12, 2010, a passerby found Aaron Cheung, a 27-year-old male, dead in his parked car near his apartment home in the 8100 block of Skillman in northeast Dallas. He appeared to have a gunshot wound to the head. The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the cause and manner of his death. Homicide detectives are actively working this case which is reported on service number 339510X. There are no identified witnesses in this case at this time and no other information available.

According to Chueng’s former roommate, he was shot outside his parents’ home in an apparent robbery. He had moved back in with his parents just a week earlier. Cheung owned the restaurant Bacon & Friends in Mesquite, which was still in its first year of operation.

From Chueng’s MySpace page:

I love to cook, dining out, sappy movies, romantic sillies… there’s more… I love cars! Just got my 5th car in the last 7 years (this one’s gotta stick for a while). I also enjoy midnight drives to nowhere, going to the mall and shopping for nothing, good friends and GREAT times. Started a weight loss thing…. be on it for about 3 months… lost about 35lbs so i guess that’s an intrest as well I’m also a memeber with FUSE, check it out! www.getyourfuseon.com

DPD homicide detectives are working the case. LGBT police liaison Laura Martin is also looking into the matter. We’ll provide more details as soon as they’re available.

—  David Taffet

No place like home

Linze Serell began her Miss Charity America reign nine years ago, just not like you think.

“I was first runner-up for nine years,” Bill Lindsey says. “This year, I thought I’d give it another try.”

Serell is the alter ego of Lindsey and this year, he took the title for the first time after 11 total tries. But winning or not, this pageant is more than sparkles and makeup.

For 20 years, Miss Charity America has been the main fundraiser for Home for the Holidays, which sends people living with AIDS home during the season.

“It’s been a blessing to stick around this long,” he says. “I think we’re the only organization of our kind in the country.”

Last year, the organization provided travel for 23 people, including sending some home to South Africa. Although Lindsey says Home for the Holidays has lingered on the bottom of the list for AIDS funding, it has received help and acknowledgement from the likes of

American Airlines and Black Tie. This could be a new start for the organization, but that makes Miss Charity America no less important.

“Oh yes, this event is the life source of our organization,” Lindsey says.

— R.L.

Best Friends Club, 2620 E. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth. 7 p.m. $5. All proceeds benefit the organization. HomeForTheHolidaysTexas.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 15, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Who’s the bigger threat to U.S. national security, Terry Jones or Dallas’ own Robert Jeffress?

Terry Jones is pastor of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., which plans to burn Korans to mark nine years since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Robert Jeffress is senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Dallas, which has been promoting a video (above) in which Jeffress calls Islam a “violent” and “evil” religion that, among other things, “promotes pedophilia.” WTF?

While Jones is making headline news for his dangerous bigotry, Jeffress’ rant seems to have gone largely unnoticed. Steve Blow of the Dallas Morning News had a good column about Jeffress’ rant this weekend, but other than that we haven’t seen much coverage. (UPDATE: Robert Wilonsky notes that Unfair Park covered this before The DMN.)

Gen. David Petraeus, head of Multinational Forces in Afghanistan, has warned that Jones’ church’s plans to burn Korans will jeopardize U.S. military efforts and put us and our troops in greater danger. As Blow pointed out, Jeffress statements do essentially the same thing.

Seriously, folks, someone needs to muzzle Jeffress, who is perhaps best known to the LGBT community for his “Why Gay Is Not OK” sermon a few years back. The scary thing is that while Jones’ church has only 50 members, First Baptist has umpteen thousands.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Talking Points Memo has a post up noting that Jeffress responded to Blow’s criticism during his Sunday sermon:

“Uninformed, I am not,” Jeffress said in his sermon on Sunday as a response.

“It does incite violence. It is used to oppress women around the world,” he added, continuing that he “was not talking about this country” when referencing pedophilia. But, Jeffress said, “the worst thing about Islam is that it is a deception that leads people from the true God.”

Jeffress contended that “we do not hate Muslims” and noted: “I have a very good friend here in Dallas who is a Muslim.”

—  John Wright

Best Bets • 07.16.10

Saturday 07.17

Happy birthday to you, GayBingo
Our favorite game turns nine years old this year and to help celebrate, Kidd Kraddick in the Morning cohost Kellie Raspberry comes in to host Not Another GayBingo. The GB peeps also want you to dress up for the birthday party or maybe it’s a bribe. They will offer discounts to anyone dressed in drag.

DEETS: Rose Room inside Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 5 p.m. $25. RCDallas.org.

Sunday 07.18

Alice is looking a little FIT lately
The Festival of Independent Theatres is back, featuring eight local theaters and a slew of new plays. We’re curious to see how company White Rock Pollution will convey its retelling of Alice in Wonderland that looks to be a whole lot darker than the original, and in real-life 3-D, unlike that Johnny Depp movie.

DEETS: Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive. Through Aug. 7. $12–$16. ATTPAC.org

Thursday 07.22

You won’t forget this lady’s Haus party
The last time we saw Gaga perform in Dallas was at the Round-Up when she was another club singer finding her audience. And boy did she. She comes back arena style, selling out many of large venues, and the gays have followed her through to superstar status. For two nights, AAC becomes the Haus of Gaga.

DEETS: American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave. July 22–23. 8 p.m. $49–$175. Ticketmaster.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 16, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas