DFW Federal Club hosts Town Hall discussion on DOMA, Prop 8 rulings

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The DFW Federal Club is hosting a HRC Town Hall event tomorrow evening that will discuss the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings.

HRC Legal Director Brian Moulton will explain the rulings, answer questions, and explain what LGBT advocates should expect and do next in the marriage equality movement.

An individual has offered to match federal club pledges made at the event up to $25,000.

The event is Friday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Tower Club on the 48th floor of Thanksgiving Tower, 1601 Elm St. RSVP is required.

For more information or to RSVP, go here.

—  Dallasvoice

DVtv: Dallas Day of Decision rally

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In this week’s issue, we explain the effect of the U.S. Supreme Court rulings on Texans.

But on Wednesday night, after the news had sunk in, LGBT Dallasites and people around the nation celebrated with rallies.

Cars honked and the crowd swelled Wednesday, and even when a woman took the mike and went on an anti-LGBT rant, the audience carried on in celebration of the historic decisions.

Watch our video below.

—  Dallasvoice

PHOTOS: About 500 attend Day of Decision rally on Cedar Springs

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By the time Dallas’ Day of Decision rally began at 7 p.m. at the Legacy of Love Monument, more than 300 people had gathered. As the crowd grew to close to 500, police closed a lane of Oak Lawn Avenue and two lanes of Cedar Springs Road.

GetEQUAL TX organizer Daniel Cates began the rally with chants of, “Right here, right now, I deserve full equality!”

Before the scheduled speakers, people from the crowd spoke in an open-megaphone session. One who claimed to be an “ex-lesbian” was countered with a chant of “No more hate” until the mic was taken from her and she left the steps of the monument.

Some of the speakers discussed the implications of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decisions. Lambda Legal’s Ken Upton called the DOMA ruling a broad decision. He said it would take awhile to sort out the full implications.

“The ruling benefits the whole LGBT spectrum,” trans activist Oliver Blumer said. “It breaks down barriers.”

—  David Taffet

Out TX officials praise Supreme Court rulings, look ahead

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Annise Parker

Local and state officials and agencies applauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings Wednesday in striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and allowing a pathway for marriage equality to return to California.

In two 5-4 decisions, Section 3 of DOMA was ruled unconstitutional and the federal government will have to recognize legally married same-sex couples. But Section 2 that addresses states recognizing same-sex marriages, was not up for consideration and the high court dismissed the Proposition 8 case on standing. So while many officials in Texas were pleased with the DOMA ruling, their attention turned to how to create marriage equality in Texas.

“The desire to legally affirm and protect loving relationships and families is fundamental and one that the American people increasingly understand and support,” lesbian Houston Mayor Annise Parker said in a statement. “The Court’s decision strikes down an inequality that has prevented legally married same-sex couples from enjoying the same rights as other married couples. Today we take a huge step forward, but this fight is not over. It is my hope that the decision leads to greater acceptance and tolerance — and ultimately to full equality.”

Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, who’s openly gay, said he was glad the ruling found that gay couples deserve the same federal protections.

“It is the concept of equal protection that ensures all Americans regardless of background may enjoy the freedom and dignity afforded to them by the constitution and not just a privileged few who happen to be members of a particular racial or ethnic group, religious denomination, gender or sexual orientation,” Fitzsimmons said.

—  Dallasvoice

U.S. Supreme Court to issue rulings in marriage equality cases Wednesday

Dallas LGBT advocates march for marriage equality in a Love is Stronger rally on June 8, 2013. (David Taffet/ Dallas Voice)

Dallas LGBT advocates march for marriage equality in a Love is Stronger rally on June 8, 2013. (David Taffet/ Dallas Voice)

The U.S. Supreme Court will issue  rulings Wednesday in two marriage equality cases, California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced after three rulings Tuesday morning that the court would meet for its final day Wednesday at 9 a.m. CST to read its last three decisions. Wednesday is the 10th anniversary of when the court ruled that sodomy laws nationwide were unconstitutional in Lawrence v. Texas.

Dallas’ LGBT community and allies will celebrate the marriage rulings at a Day of Decision rally Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Legacy of Love monument.

Roberts read the court’s ruling Tuesday in the Voting Rights Act case, Shelby County v. Holder, striking down a central part of the act, which LGBT advocates say is a step backwards in eliminating  discrimination at the polls. The decision reduces the federal government’s role in overseeing voting laws in areas with a history of racial discrimination.

“These varied and powerful voices attest to the self-evident reality that racial protections are still needed in voting in this country. As recently as last year’s elections, political partisans resorted to voter suppression laws and tactics aimed at reducing the votes of people of color,” read a joint statement from numerous LGBT groups, including the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal.

“Voting rights protections, which have long served our nation’s commitment to equality and justice, should not be cast aside now. The court has done America a grave disservice, and we will work with our coalition partners to undo the damage inflicted by this retrogressive ruling.”

As for the marriage cases, justices are expected to rule narrowly. In Hollingsworth v. Perry’s challenge of California’s constitutional marriage amendment, the ruling could just affect that state, greatly increasing the number of the country’s population that lives in marriage-equality states. Most legal experts don’t expect the court to strike Prop 8 and find all marriage amendments unconstitutional in the 37 states that have such bans, as it did with sodomy laws in Lawrence.

—  Dallasvoice

Congressman Marc Veasey issues statement on Prop 8, DOMA cases

Official Photo_Rep Marc Veasey

Rep. Marc Veasey

Freshman Congressman Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, reminded his North Texas constituents Tuesday that he is committed to fighting for full equality for LGBT citizens.

Veasey released the following statement today following the opening arguments in the Proposition 8 case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“As the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, I would like to reaffirm my commitment to the LGBT community,” the statement reads.

“It is my hope that the justices of the nation’s highest court rule that committed same-sex couples have civil and constitutional rights. The struggle for equality has taken us from Stonewall to the Supreme Court.

“As decades of progress have changed attitudes and opened hearts, I will continue to fight for members of the LGBT community until they have full equality under the law.”

—  Dallasvoice

LISTEN: The anti-gay rant for which Michelle Schocked is apologizing

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Michelle Shocked

Audio of folk singer Michelle Shocked’s anti-gay rant during a San Francisco show on Sunday has now surfaced.

Shocked begins speaking about God and evangelical Christians and their views of the world, launching into anti-gay views some Christians share.

“From their vantage point, and I really shouldn’t say their because it’s mine, too, we are nearly at the end of time and from our vantage point we’re going to be, I think maybe Chinese water torture is going to be the means, the method, once Prop 8 gets instated and once preachers are held at gunpoint and forced to marry the homosexuals, I’m pretty sure that will be the signal for Jesus to come on back,” she said. “You said you wanted reality. Would someone be so gracious as to please tweet out Michelle Shocked just said from stage God hates faggots. Would you do it now?”

People begin grumbling in the background when she says that and some shout out before leaving.

In a letter sent by a friend to the Texas Observer on Wednesday, the Texas native apologizes for her comments and she’s never “believed that God hates homosexuals (or anyone else).”

She explains that she was talking about how some Christians feel about same-sex marriage, not her own beliefs.

“And to those fans who are disappointed by what they’ve heard or think I said, I’m very sorry: I don’t always express myself as clearly as I should. But don’t believe everything you read on facebook or twitter,” the letter reads in part. “My view of homosexualty (sic) has changed not one iota. I judge not. And my statement equating repeal of Prop 8 with the coming of the End Times was neither literal nor ironic: it was a description of how some folks – not me – feel about gay marriage.”

Shocked, who has been rumored to be gay herself after she spoke about a relationship with a woman in a 1990 OutLines article, also addresses her sexuality in the letter.

“Folks wonder about my sexuality, but denying being gay is like saying I never beat my husband. My sexuality is not at issue,” she wrote. “What is being questioned is my support for the LGBT community, and that has never wavered. Music and activism have always been part of my work and my journey, which I hope and intend to continue.”

Read her full letter here. Listen to the audio below. Her comments begin around the 4.30 mark.

—  Dallasvoice

Equality Texas among groups to file joint brief in marriage equality cases

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Equality Texas has joined more than two-dozen statewide organizations in filing a joint amicus brief in the two marriage equality cases currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The “Red State Brief” is a brief supported by the Utah Pride Center, Campaign for Southern Equality, Equality federation and 25 statewide advocacy groups. It calls for the court to uphold appellate court rulings that found the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 unconstitutional. It explains the history of anti-gay legislation in many states that degrade LGBT citizens and deny them freedoms.

“This brief calls for an end to the systemic denigration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans,” Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith said. “The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to consider whether all Americans are entitled to equal treatment under the law regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. The Court must answer this question with a resounding, ‘Yes, ALL Americans must be treated equally.’”

Read the brief here.

—  Dallasvoice

Scalia claims he’s never expressed his views on marriage equality

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, right, reads from his new book, ‘Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts,’ alongside SMU professor and co-author Bryan Garner. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told an audience at Southern Methodist University on Monday night that he hasn’t previously “expressed [his] views” on marriage equality or gun control.

The comment came while Scalia and SMU professor Bryan Garner were lecturing on their new book, Reading Law: Interpretations of Legal Texts. Part of the lecture focused on interpreting texts in the context in which they were written.

Garner explained that someone can personally disagree with a text but can agree on its interpretation. He explained that he and Scalia differ on gun control and marriage equality because he favors both. Scalia countered that he hadn’t expressed his views on either topic and left it at that.

Scalia’s statement seems at odds with his dissenting opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, which declared state sodomy laws unconstitutional. In the opinion Scalia wrote:

“State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers’ validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today’s decision; the Court makes no effort to cabin the scope of its decision to exclude them from its holding.”

—  Dallasvoice

Texas among states ‘Least Likely to Legalize Gay Marriage Anytime Soon’

While a record number of Texas voters support some form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples, the Lone Star State is still viewed as one of the last states that will legalize it.

A Huffington Post article ranks the nine states that are the least likely to legalize same-sex marriage in the near future based on the percentage of voters who favored a state constitutional ban.

Mississippi was No. 1 with 86 percent of voters who supported the ban, followed by Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas.

Texas passed its constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions in 2005 with 76 percent of voter support.

Austin’s KUT News recently examined if marriage equality could come to Texas, which could happen depending on how the U.S. Supreme Court’s rules in the Proposition 8 case that challenges California’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

LGBT experts believe that if the Supreme Court ruling doesn’t affect Texas, it could take a decade for the high court to hear another case that would ultimately force Texas to recognize same-sex marriages.

—  Dallasvoice