Advocates deliver petition urging UMC bishop not to take Dallas minister to trial over gay wedding

UMCpetition


The Rev. Pamela June Webb, left, talks with Bishop Michael McKee’s assistant after she and others delivered a petition with more than 22,000 signatures urging the bishop not to bring a retired Dallas minister to trial for officiating a gay wedding. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Christian LGBT advocates called on Bishop Michael McKee of the North Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church Tuesday not to escalate a complaint against a Dallas pastor into a formal trial for presiding over a gay wedding by delivering a petition to the bishop at the North Texas Conference headquarters in Plano.

The petition, started on the website Faithful America, calls on McKee to oppose putting retired United Methodist Pastor Bill McElvaney, who’s 85 and battling cancer, on trial. It originally called for 15,000 signatures, but as of Tuesday when it was handed to Joell Stanislaus, the bishop’s executive assistant, it’d garnered more than 22,000 signatures. McKee was out of the office in meetings, but Stanislaus said she would make sure he received it.

McElvaney, emeritus pastor at Northaven United Methodist Church, married longtime gay couple Jack Evans and George Harris on March 1 at Midway Hills Christian Church. The celebration took place at Midway to prevent Northaven and its current pastor from coming under attack for allowing the ceremony to take place there. McElvaney announced in January that he disagreed with the Methodist Church about same-sex weddings and he’d officiate at them.

A complaint filed by the Rev. Camille Gaston of Richardson came a week later. It requires him to sit down with Gaston and McKee, bishop of the North Texas Conference. Gaston is also the district superintendent of the North Texas Conference.

The parties will meet for a joint resolution to discuss how to replace the issue, ranging from anything from suspending McElvaney to defrocking him if the bishop files charges to take his case to trial. While ministers have been defrocked after a trail before, some bishops have come out publicly that they would not try ministers for wedding same-sex couples. McKee has not.

Shelbi Smith, a junior at Southern Methodist University and co-president of the college’s of LGBT group Spectrum, said as a Methodist she was told growing up that the church is a vehicle to spread love but that homosexuality isn’t compatible with the church’s teachings. But over time, she came to accept her sexuality and realize the church’s mission as to love everyone, including LGBT people.

“It’s about much more than this one case. We need Bishop McKee to follow Bishop McLee’s example of New York to not try the case,” Smith said. “We need that vocal leadership from him if we want to promote leadership in the church.”

McElvaney has asked that people let the process with the bishop play out, asking for “no other response” to the bishop’s letter informing him of the complaint.

Northaven Pastor Eric Folkerth took to his blog this morning to voice his concerns about Faithful America and condemning the action against McElvaney’s wishes.

“‘Faithful America’ has done this, despite the fact that Bill specifically asked for people to take no action on his behalf,” Folkerth writes. “Given all of this, the only assumption I can draw is that “Faithful America” either never bothers to ask, or really doesn’t care, about the actual people involved in their stunt-like escapades. To my knowledge, they have not contacted anyone directly involved with this ‘action.’”

The Rev. Pamela June Webb, an out retired minster and a member of Midway Hills, said she attended the petition delivery because she wants the Methodist Church to become completely affirming of the LGBT community.

“This has been a very important part of my vision, and my hope for the churches to come together and to be more than affirmative,” she said. “ The church’s theme is to have an open door and open hearts and yet so many of the people who could use their love are feeling rejected. So we are praying for the future of the church.”

—  Anna Waugh

Tyrrell: How do you tell a 7-year-old we can’t be part of the Scouts?

Jennifer Tyrrell

“How do you tell a seven-year-old we can’t be in the Scouts?” Jennifer Tyrrell asked.

The ousted Cub Scout mom talked about her experiences with the Scouts from her Downtown Dallas hotel room on Tuesday evening. She is in Dallas to present a Change.org petition with 314,000 signatures to the Boy Scouts on Wednesday.

The Boy Scouts confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that someone will meet with her on Wednesday. She is planning a 10 a.m. press conference outside the Irving headquarters of the Scouts before presenting the petition and meeting with the Boy Scouts representative.

While Tyrrell knows the Scouts won’t change their policy anytime soon, she’s convinced the policy will change. But her message is for other parents involved in Scouting.

“Imagine being told you can’t be involved in part of your child’s life,” she said.

Two of her four children traveled to Dallas with her. After being swarmed by reporters at Love Field, she joked that they deserve their Media Badge.

And to take up their time since they were ousted from the Scouts, Tyrrell assures that they’ve been busy playing softball, fishing and playing with celebrities.

—  David Taffet

Annise Parker now co-chair of “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry,” Austin’s Leffingwell joins

Lee Leffingwell

Austin's Mayor Lee Leffingwell

Houstini reported yesterday that Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker was scheduled to appear at the “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry” press conference in Washington D.C., and that she was the only Texas mayor to participate. This morning we found out that Parker, along with New York’s Michael Bloomberg and L.A.’s Antonio Villaraigosa, is serving as co-chair for the effort. Additionally Austin’s Mayor Lee Leffingwell has joined the effort.

So that makes 2 of Texas’ 1,215 mayors with the bravery to stand up for what’s right, leaving the citizens of 1,213 citizens with the task of persuading their mayors. In Dallas Daniel Cates of GetEqual has started an online petition encouraging Mayor Mike Rawlings to sign on which currently has 216 signatories. The Dallas Voice reports that Rawlings claims to personally support marriage equality, despite his unwillingness to join “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry:”

“This one obviously was very difficult for me, because I personally believe in the rights of the gay community to marry,” Rawlings said Thursday… “I think this [same-sex marriage] is way overdue and we need to get on with it, but that’s my personal belief, and when I start to speak on behalf of the city of Dallas … I’ve got to be thoughtful about how I use that office and what I want to impact, and that’s why I decided to stay away from endorsing and signing letters like that.”

Rawlings’ chief of staff, Paula Blackmon, told the Voice “the mayor does not plan to publicly support any social issues but would rather focus on the policy issues that impact Dallas,” adding “we have not signed onto other similar requests.”

—  admin

Website shines spotlight on Rodriquez

Rodriquez

Manuel Rodriquez

Houston Independent School Board Member Manuel Rodriguez has the dubious distinction of being the sole topic of a new website: hisdbully.org. The site seeks to remove Rodriquez from office for anti-gay comments and literature made during his recent re-election campaign. As previously reported by Houstini, Rodriguez’s campaign distributed a flier that encouraged voters to vote against his opponent, Ramiro Fonseca, because of Fonseca’s history of LGBT activism and because he is gay. Rodriquez also made comments during an interview with a Spanish language station asking why a 50-something year old man with no children was seeking access to children.

“We were encountering so many different people who were outraged by the behavior of Manny Rodriguez, who wanted to do something but weren’t sure what they should do,” said Mike Pomeroy, one of the organizers of the site.  “We needed an easy way to disseminate the information as far and wide as possible, to compile all of the relevant media attention that the issue has received, and to focus the energies of all the disparate individuals who wanted to address the issue, so that we could all work together with the same goal in mind.”

The site includes a petition calling for Rodriguez’s resignation.

—  admin

Will Facebook add a gender-neutral option?

An online petition has sparked the question of whether Facebook should add a third gender option for gender-variant individuals. You can go to the petition site to sign.

On Google+, users get the option to hide their gender and have the site refer to them as the neutral ‘their’ as opposed to using male or female pronouns. On Facebook, you’ve got two options: innie or outie. If we can have gender-neutral bathrooms, why not gender-neutral Facebook pronouns?

Some have expressed a desire to have multiple gender options available to them, such as pangender, genderless and androgynous, among others. While trying to cover every label in the gender spectrum is a valiant effort, due to the fluidity and ever-changing nature of gender, it seems near impossible to cover every possible gender identity option.

Having a neutral option seems the simplest option available for those whose gender falls under “none of the above” — or perhaps “all of the above.”

—  admin

What’s Brewing: Youth pastor at anti-gay church says he had sex with boys to purify them

 

Brent Girouex

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A former youth pastor at an anti-gay church in Iowa is charged with 60 counts of sexual exploitation after he told police he molested young males to purify them in the eyes of God. Brent Girouex, 31, of Victory Fellowship Church in Council Bluffs, said he wanted to help the victims with homosexual urges by praying while they had sexual contact with him, according to police. “When they would ejaculate, they would be getting rid of the evil thoughts in their mind,” Girouex allegedly told authorities. In 2010, Victory Fellowship Church used its website to call on people to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices who voted to legalize same-sex marriage. Read more on Girouex’s church from Truth Wins Out.

2. Speaking of “ex-gay” therapy, Exodus International now claims its iPhone app isn’t designed to cure people of homosexuality. The group’s statement comes in response to a petition by Truth Wins Out — which now has more than 127,000 signatures — calling on Apple to remove the ex-gay app from the iTunes store.

3. A homophobic new ad (screen grab above) for the Brazilian liquor Cachaça Magnifica suggests that parents might need a strong drink after discovering their son is gay. Who the hell comes up with this shit? Answer: Agência 3, Rio.

—  John Wright

El Paso may put DP benefits back on ballot

After a ballot measure passed in November to rescind domestic partner benefits for El Paso employees, the City Council is considering another ballot measure to restore them. The November ballot measure sponsored by religious groups aimed to take away benefits for the partners of gay and lesbian employees. However, because it was so vaguely worded, the ballot measure also threatened benefits for the partners of retired city workers, and it’s now the subject of a federal lawsuit.

The El Paso Times reports on the latest development:

The El Paso City Council on Tuesday introduced a proposed ordinance for a May ballot initiative that would restore health benefits to gay and unmarried partners of city employees.

The public rescinded those benefits in the Nov. 2 election, but they remain in effect while the courts hear a lawsuit in the matter.

The council did not discuss the proposed ordinance or take public comment on it. A public hearing will be held in coming weeks. If the City Council does not vote to put the matter on the ballot, supporters still can do so by gathering enough signatures on a petition.

—  John Wright

OFA’s ‘Petition to Nowhere’ on DADT is a joke, and the joke’s on you

And some people wonder why we’ve called on the gay community, and our allies, to stop donating to this increasingly worthless organization.

Organizing for America – formerly Obama for America, but now an arm of the DNC and the White House – just sent out an email to (some of?) their members about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Did the email call on OFA’s twelve million or so members to bombard wavering Senators with phone calls in support of repealing DADT?

No.

So what did OFA’s email provide as an action on DADT? They ask you to sign a public declaration that you stand with the president for the repeal of DADT.

Ooh, that should scare wavering Senators. Not an action alert targeting individual Senators, not an effort to raise money for ads targeting those Senators, but rather, a petition to nobody.

Now, how, you might ask, does a petition to nobody help us pass the DADT compromise? It doesn’t. But OFA’s efforts on DADT aren’t about actually getting DADT repealed. We’ve written about their fake support for our civil rights before. They”re about raising more gay money for the DNC. (Note that after you sign the Petition to Nowhere, you’re sent to a DNC fundraising page.)

The second reason OFA is doing this, they’re scared. Of you. But not nearly scared enough. Rather than actually doing something to help repeal DADT, the president’s henchmen at OFA and the DNC are sending out fake action alerts, that accomplish nothing, in the hopes that you’ll be duped into thinking they’re doing something to help the gays. When they’re really not.

And you could almost forgive OFA for trying to collect more names and email addresses of gay supporters – or even raise money from gay supporters – if OFA had any plans to actually do something, anything, pro-gay, for real, at any time in the future.

Joe and I, for example, are asking folks to sign a public letter to President Obama, that we will deliver to the White House, calling on him to start making some phone calls to wavering Senators about DADT repeal. Note the concrete message, and the concrete action we want. Note the very public way in which we’re trying to pressure the president to act. That’s what effective advocacy is about – doing something that has a concrete, effective goal, and doing it in a way that has a chance at influencing the person you’re going after. OFA’s “alert” doesn’t target anyone. It’s quite literally “the petition to nowhere.”

The Democratic party isn’t interested in helping you get your civil rights. They’re not building this list, and this war chest, in order to help you finally share in the American dream. They’re treating you like an ATM. And a rather mindless ATM at that.

Well this GayTM is closed.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Hate gay people? There’s an app for that

Pink News, Europe’s largest gay news service, reports that Apple has approved an anti-gay iPhone app:

The app is based on the Manhattan Declaration, a manifesto released in 2009 by Christian and Catholic leaders which rails against the “erosion” of marriage.

Apple has given the app a 4+ rating, meaning that it contains “no objectionable content.”

The app asks users whether they agree with four statements on abortion and same-sex marriage and those who answer that they are pro-choice and pro-gay marriage are told that they are incorrect.

It also has links to read and sign up to the full declaration, which says that gay relationships are “immoral” and that same-sex marriages are equivalent to sanctioning incest.

Change.org has launched a petition calling on Apple to remove the app from the iTunes store. To sign the petition, go here. View more screenshots of the app at Good As You.


—  John Wright

Proposal revived to prohibit Cedar Springs club-goers from parking on Hall Street

A little over a year ago we wrote about a proposal to establish a “resident-parking only” zone on the 3900 block of Hall Street, just off the Cedar Springs strip.

The RPO zone would prohibit non-residents from parking on the block during certain hours on weekend nights.

Some residents say the RPO is needed because they have no place to park due to spaces being taken by patrons of the gay entertainment district.

But opponents say those residents knew it was an entertainment district when they moved there, and they fear another RPO zone would make a bad parking situation worse in Oak Lawn.

There are dozens of RPO zones in Dallas — mostly in the Lower Greenville area. There currently is only one RPO near the gay entertainment district — in the 3200 block of Throckmorton Street.

According to Jim Musick, a resident of the 3900 block of Hall Street who opposes the RPO, the proposal appears to have been revived after more than a year.

“I find this totally inappropriate and offensive.” Musick wrote to Instant Tea.

Musick forwarded a note from the property manager for his complex seeking volunteers to circulate a petition in support of the RPO. As the note dated Oct. 12 states, the petition would need the signatures of two-thirds of homeowners on the block for the proposal to proceed. Here’s what the note said:

Hi All:

It had been mentioned to me at the Board meeting held last month that there is an interest in homeowners and guests being able to park in the street and spaces being available.

I met with a neighboring property on your street that I also manage and they have visited the city to see what needs to be done to apply for permits for homeowners on Hall Street . I have a form that each homeowner would have to sign and provide your license plate number. A total of 2/3 of the homeowners have to sign this document to be submitted to the city.

I need a volunteer that can visit each homeowner within your community to get it signed. Would someone like to help me with this project as I need original signatures?

Please let me know and I can drop by and give you the form.

Thanks
Ed

Ed Colvin, CMCA, AMS
Association Manager
Principal Management Group, AAMC, AMO

—  John Wright