Houston’s State Rep. Garnet Coleman applauds Prop. 8 decision

State Rep. Garnet Coleman

Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, took to his blog today to applaud yesterday’s decision by the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declaring Proposition 8  unconstitutional (Prop. 8, passed in 2008, prohibited marriage equality in California):

“Yesterday’s 9th Circuit decision, just like the decision in Lawrence v. Texas, is a stepping stone on the path to marriage equality for all. As Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in the opinion, ‘Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gay men and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.’ The same holds true for the marriage equality ban in Texas. That is why I continue to fight for marriage equality and continue to file the repeal of the ban of same sex marriage. Denying gay couples the right to marry is unconstitutional and a blatant denial of human rights. “

Coleman has a long history of filing pro-LGBT legislation in the Texas House. Last year he introduced historic legislation that, had it passed, would have called for a state-wide vote to repeal the section of Texas’ constitution prohibiting same-sex marriage, so he’s no stranger to the battle for marriage equality.

Coleman is seeking re-election to his District 147 seat. He will face long-time local LGBT activist Ray Hill in the Democratic Primary. No republican candidate has filed for the seat.

Read Coleman’s full statement on his blog.

—  admin

Perfect match

Bob Nunn and Tom Harrover have been a couple for 4 decades. But it wasn’t until a near tragedy that they realized they were truly meant for each other

LIFE GOES ON | Nunn, right, and Harrover stand before a project commissioned for the convention center hotel. Four years ago, Nunn was near death because of kidney disease. (Rich Lopez/Dallas Voice)

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Bob Nunn agrees with the adage that the longer a couple lives together, the more they begin to look alike. Nunn and his partner Tom Harrover might not look that similar on the outside, but they match in a way that few couples do.

Let’s start with some history.

The two have that classic meet-cute that began on the wrong note. As Nunn tells it, Harrover was the dullest person he’d ever met —the two just didn’t like each other. Then, following a spontaneous invitation to a midnight movie, they ended up hitting it off. That movie led to conversation and then dating.

Forty-two years later, they still watch movies — as Nunn puts it, “I couldn’t get rid of him.”

A job in Houston took Nunn away from Harrover for three months, but old-fashioned letter writing kept the newbie relationship afloat.

“Tom had been writing me letters. He’s a very good writer,” Bob boasts. “He basically proposed to me by letter.”

They committed to each other, moving in and pursuing their careers: Harrover in architecture and Nunn teaching art. For 37 years, they lived in “a fabulous house” in Hollywood Heights. Life was good.

Then their life took a sharp turn.

“When we got together, Tom knew I had a kidney disease,” Nunn says. “Nothing was really a problem until about 30 years after we met — my kidneys began to fail and I had to start dialysis.”

Nunn registered with Baylor for the national organ donor list, but the experience was frustrating:  They received little response or encouragement from the hospital.

“Bob was on a downhill slide and the frustration with Baylor seemed like they were stonewalling us,” Harrover says. “We talked about going to Asia even. It felt like they didn’t want to deal with a senior-age gay couple.”

A LITTLE DAB’LL DO YOU | Bob Nunn is officially retired from teaching art, but continues to paint.

Then Harrover suggested something novel: He could donate his kidney to the organ list, with the idea that Nunn could get a healthy one.  Sort of a kidney exchange.

In desperation, they went back to their physician, who enrolled them in St. Paul Hospital’s then-new program for kidney transplant. The experience was a complete turnaround. Nunn was tested and processed immediately while Harrover prepped for his organ donation to an anonymous recipient.

Kidney transplants require a seven-point match system; a minimum of three matches is necessary for the recipient to be able to accept the organ into the body.

The tests revealed that Harrover’s kidney matched Nunn’s on all seven points.

“We assumed I would donate mine for use elsewhere,” Harrover says. “It never occurred to me that we’d be a match. The odds for that are off the charts.”

“See what happens when you live together for so long?” he chuckles.

Just six months after entering St. Paul’s program in 2007, they were on the operating table. They were the first direct living donor pair in the program. “It was all fairly miraculous,” Nunn understates.

Four years later, both men are doing well. Although officially retired, they both continue to work: Harrover does the occasional contract job while Nunn is currently on commission for an art project at the new convention center hotel. Outside of any official work, each interjects their quips about home, life be it cooking together or working on the lawn.

The obvious question for them might be “What’s the secret?” But they don’t see it just that way. Their relationship boils down to the obvious virtues of trust, respect and compromise.

“Selfishness doesn’t rear its ugly head in this relationship,” Harrover says. “You just have to be willing to accommodate, support and encourage what the other is interested in.”

Nunn agrees. “I would not be doing what I’m doing without his support.”

Nunn says if there is a secret, it’s akin to the dynamic on a playground: Like each other and share. If you don’t share your whole life, there isn’t a relationship, he says. At this point, Harrover says it would be impossible to separate. On paper, they are so intertwined with their house and financials, he jokes they are “Siamese twins.”

They’ve witnessed a lot in their decades together, including something they never expected to come to pass in their lifetimes: Same-sex marriage. Coming from a time when just being gay conflicted with moral codes set by their jobs, they wonder over the progress made in recent years. (They were officially married in Boston in October 2009.)

“I’m confident that it will happen for everyone,” Harrover says. “I’m sorry that it’s moving at a glacial pace, but it has that same inevitability as a glacier. We’ll get there.”

But nothing compares to the bond Harrover and Nunn already have, a shared intimacy few couples could imagine. Same-sex marriage was merely unlikely; what they have experienced is miraculous.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 29, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Florida Man at Center of Adoption Ban Case Officially Adopts Sons

Martin Gill and his sons are finally a family in the eyes of the law:

Gill "After a successful fight to overturn Florida’s ban on gay people serving as adoptive parents, the two young brothers adopted by Martin Gill participated in an adoption ceremony in Judge Cindy Lederman's chambers in Miami-Dade County Juvenile Court today, marking the final step in their adoption process. Gill and his partner had served as foster parents to the two brothers for six years. Gill worked with the American Civil Liberties Union to fight for the right to adopt them by challenging Florida’s 33-year-old ban on gay people adopting. As a result of the ACLU lawsuit on behalf of Gill, the ban was ended last year."

Said Leslie Cooper, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project: “Martin and his family were instrumental in ending one of the most discriminatory laws in the country. Hopefully now, thousands of children in Florida who are waiting to be adopted will be able to know the love and support of having a family.”

Congratulations!


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Clint McCance Officially Quits School Board

After telling Anderson Cooper he would do it, Arkansas school board member Clint McCance has officially resigned his Midland School District board post. And it didn't even take all queers to kill themselves.


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Queerty

—  admin

Judge Officially Denies Stay on DADT Injunction as White House Continues Down Muddled Path

Gibbs

It's official. Federal District Judge Virginia Phillips has rejected the government's request for a stay on the injunction she issued barring enforcement of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about Obama's position on the policy at today's press briefing.

Gibbs seemed vague, at best, in explaining the administration's path on the issue, considering there isn't one. You can read most of the transcript of the relevant questioning, here.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP



Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

DADT is officially gone. Obama will actually have to choose to resurrect the now-dead policy.

“Right now, as of this moment, there is, effectively, no DADT policy in effect.” – Richard Socarides, New York attorney and former Clinton White House adviser on gay rights

This is a rather fine, but important distinction, I think.

A federal judge killed DADT today. Her ruling says the government has to immediately stop the investigations, the discharges, everything. Immediately. That means no one in the government is permitted to do anything related to enforcing DADT. It’s gone.

The injunction goes into effect immediately, said Dan Woods, the attorney who represented the Log Cabin Republicans, the gay rights group that filed the lawsuit in 2004 to stop the ban’s enforcement.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell, as of today at least, is done, and the government is going to have to do something now to resurrect it,” Woods said. “This is an extremely significant, historic decision. Once and for all, this failed policy is stopped. Fortunately now we hope all Americans who wish to serve their country can.”

The only way for DADT to come back is for President Obama to resurrect the policy by asking the court for a “stay pending appeal” – i.e., to stay the enforcment of the district court judge’s order pending appeal, and then appealing the case. Unless and until Obama resurrects DADT, it’s dead. So the stakes are actually higher for the President on this one. DADT is gone. He now has to decide whether he wants to personally bring it back.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Steven Slater And JetBlue Officially Part Ways

While it's unclear if he was let go or was fired, what we do know is that Steven Slater's no longer a JetBlue employee.

Slater CNN reports: "JetBlue spokeswoman Jenny Dervin told CNN on Saturday that Steven Slater no longer works for the airline. She said that the separation occurred last week, but declined to elaborate how Slater and the company parted ways."

But according to ABC News, Slater's lawyer gave a different account on how things went down:

"…Slater's lawyer said that when the flight attendant left JetBlue on Wednesday, it was not the airline's decision. 'He was not fired,' attorney Daniel J. Horwitz told The Associated Press. The lawyer told the AP that he and Slater were still working out details with the airline, but wouldn't elaborate."

This begs the question, what's next for Slater? With his new found fame, this means he might be a season away from being a contestant on Big Brother.

An AP news report, AFTER THE JUMP.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

DOMA and Massachusetts Officially Divorce

ARI EZRA WALDMAN

As some of you might remember, as as reported here, a federal district judge in Massachusetts ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional under the 10th Amendment, which protects the prerogatives of the States, and the 5th Amendment, which ensures equal protection.  Judge Joseph Tauro's opinions are available here and here.

No, I'm not bothering you with old (but still good) news.  Lost in a frenetic day dominated by the Left Coast was that "back east", Judge Tauro entered final judgment in both cases, captions Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. Department of Health and Human Services.  Final judgment is a little archane:  It is the written determination of a lawsuit by the judge who presided at
trial, which makes rulings on all issues and completes
the case.  It's like hitting the "Send" button on your email.  The moment you send it, the email is out there and you can bet someone is going to read it.  But, only after those few seconds when you can still hit "Unsend" or "Recall" is the email officially (and in some cases, unfortunately) out there.  Though it is a little more complicated than that, you get the idea.

This case was not appealed to the First Circuit, the appellate court sitting in New England.  This means that, as to Massachusetts, certain parts of DOMA, and its enshrined discrimination against same-sex couples, are officially unconstitutional.  No delays, no stays, no injunctions.  Just equality.

Thanks to loyal reader, Jason C., for making sure I'm on the ball.  And, to any Eli's out there, excuse the Cambridge-centered post.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright