Guns, God and gays: first day of prefiling for upcoming Lege session

abaa8de7236b4022851ea2557e2d68b0dc212ddb6ea8b427616006bb297bd2cdToday is the first day for Texas legislators and members-elect to pre-file legislation for the 84th legislative session. This means you get to see just how crazy some of your newly and returning elected officials really are. Don’t worry everyone, the first day of pre-filing didn’t bring out the worst of your electeds just yet. Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, only filed a handful actually, so the worst is yet to come.

As of mid-afternoon, legislators have pre-filed 336 bills.

Rep. Walter “Four” Price, R-Amarillo, filed four bills commemorating the National Day of Prayer, Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, filed HB 195, loosening restrictions on gun toting. Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, is gonna keep abortionists out of the classroom with HB 205.

But wait! LGBT people were recognized by our allies!

Out Rep. Mary Gonzalez, D-El Paso, filed HB 70, an anti-bullying bill preventing discrimination against and harassment of students in public schools based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, filed HJR34, one of many bills targeting the repeal of Texas’ same-sex marriage ban. As the Voice reported, Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, filed HB 130, repealing Texas’ same sex marriage ban. The identical SB 98, was filed by Sens. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and José Rodríguez, D-El Paso. Sen. Rodríguez also filed SB 148, repealing language condemning homosexuality in the state’s health and penal codes.

 

 

—  James Russell

Reps. Anchia, Coleman file bill to repeal Texas’ marriage amendment

Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 9.00.34 AM

A screengrab of the text of the House Joint Resolution from the Texas Legislature’s website.

Rep. Rafael Anchia

Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas

While Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, has filed a bill to repeal the marriage amendment repeatedly since it passed in 2005, we’re pretty sure this marks the first time Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, has signed on as a co-author. Here’s the full release from Equality Texas:

Reps. Rafael Anchia and Garnet Coleman File Legislation to Repeal Discriminatory Marriage Amendment

Two-thirds of Texas’ voters now support some form of legal recognition for lesbian & gay couples.

Austin, Texas (February 6, 2013) – State Representatives Rafael Anchia of Dallas (D-103) and Garnet Coleman of Houston (D-147) today filed legislation [HJR 77 and HJR 78] to repeal the constitutional amendment added to the Bill of Rights to the Texas Constitution in 2005. The amendment denies same-gender Texans in committed relationships the freedom to marry or enter into a civil union.

“In 2005, most Texans did not support any form of legal recognition for lesbian and gay couples. But, public opinion has changed greatly in the last eight years, both across the country and right here in Texas,” said Representative Coleman, who has championed a repeal in multiple legislative sessions. “Two-thirds of Texas’ voters now believe the state should allow some form of legal recognition for committed same-gender couples,” Coleman said.

Indeed, an October, 2012 University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll reported that 36 percent of Texas voters surveyed would support allowing lesbian & gay couples to marry, while another 33 percent would allow civil unions but not marriage. Only 25 percent of Texas voters said that same-gender couples should neither be allowed to marry nor enter into a civil union.

“Millions of Texans have had their own very personal evolution on this issue,” said Chuck Smith, Executive Director at Equality Texas. “Texans now agree that all couples in loving and committed relationships deserve the opportunity to create stronger and more successful families. Because the Texas Constitution currently prohibits any form of recognition similar to marriage, the first step toward civil unions or marriage must be repeal of the discriminatory 2005 amendment,” Smith concluded.

“My constituents include many couples and families who are negatively impacted by the current constitutional restrictions. It is time we revisit this issue; it is time we treat all Texans with dignity and respect,” Rep. Anchia concluded.

—  John Wright

LEGE UPDATE: PolitiFact finds attack on birth certificate bill ‘mostly false’

A conservative group’s claims that a bill to allow same-sex adoptive parents to have both names on birth certificates would affect everyone’s records were mainly unfounded, according to research by PolitiFact Texas.

The nonpartisan politics fact-checking project analyzed claims Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz made on Austin’s KTBC-TV Nov. 19 about HB 201 filed by state Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas.

Saenz said the bill would mandate a change in all birth certificates in the state, suggesting that the bill aims to grant gay couples special rights and would lead to two or three fathers listed on certificates in cases of polygamy.

But the bill would only apply to adopted children of same-sex couples, allowing both parents to have their names on the supplemental birth certificate. Texas law currently only allows one man and one woman to be listed on birth certificates, but the bill would remove that requirement from the Texas Health and Safety Code.

PolitiFact found Saenz’s claims “mostly false” saying the potential wording of forms remained unclear after they consulted with a State Health Services representative, who said it’s unknown whether “Mother” and “Father” would be replaced with “Parent 1″ and “Parent 2″ on forms for adopted children if the bill passes. Gender-neutral parent designation on birth certificates would raise the risk of distinguishing records for adopted children, which is prohibited under state law.

—  Dallasvoice

WATCH: Texas Values president attacks Rep. Anchia’s gay adoption bill

A bill that would provide accurate supplemental birth certificates to same-sex couples came under fire last night by Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz.

Saenz appeared on Austin’s Fox 7, speaking out against HB 201 filed by state Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas.

Under the impression that the bill would mandate a change in all birth certificates in the states, Saenz suggested that his three children would have to have theirs changed. But the bill would only apply to adopted children of same-sex couples, allowing both parents to have their names on the certificate. Texas law currently only allows one man and one woman to be listed on birth certificates.

“In the state of Texas, homosexual adoption is allowed, so that’s not the issue here. The issue is that you have a small group of people that want to change a birth certificate for everybody else,” Saenz said. “This is an issue about what is natural and what is common sense. You have a mother and a father.”

—  Dallasvoice

Up to 20 LGBT youth served by Dallas agency could benefit from Obama’s immigration order

The rally outside the White House after Friday's announcement. (Via NGLTF)

As many as 20 LGBT young people at Youth First Texas could take advantage of a new immigration policy announced Friday by President Barack Obama, according to YFT Board Chair Chris Cognetta.

Obama announced that the U.S. will stop deporting illegal aliens who were brought to this country as children, and they will be able to obtain work permits.

Effective immediately, the new rule will apply to people who are currently under 30 years old, arrived in the U.S. before they turned 16 and have lived here for at least five years. To qualify, they must have no criminal record and have earned a high school diploma, be in school or served in the military.

The provisions are similar to those proposed in the DREAM Act that has been before Congress several times but has not passed.

The change in policy could have an even greater impact for gay and lesbian youth. That’s because in many cases, a heterosexual sibling marries a U.S. citizen and can immediately apply for a green card and begin the naturalization process. The gay or lesbian sibling cannot be sponsored by a partner.

—  David Taffet

Local briefs • Dallas Bar Association hosts forum

Dallas Bar Association hosts forum

The Dallas Bar Association will host a legislative forum on Monday, Oct. 3, at noon in The Pavilion at the Belo Mansion, 2101 Ross Ave., to discuss legislative changes recently put into law, focusing on topics and trends related to local, state and national legislative agendas.

Guest speakers for the event are state Rep. Rafael Anchia, representing District 103 in Dallas, and state Sen. John Corona, representing District 16 in Dallas.

The event is free and open to the public, but an optional lunch buffet is available for $13 per person. Those interested in attending are asked to respond to sevans@dallasbar.org to ensure adequate seating.Garage parking is available with the entrance on Olive Street.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 30, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

What’s Brewing: FW officials briefed on LGBT progress; GLAAD rips Houston’s Fox affiliate

Jon Nelson

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Fort Worth officials received a briefing Tuesday on progress the city has made in addressing the concerns of the LGBT community in the nearly two years since the Rainbow Lounge raid. According to the Star-Telegram, the city has implemented 19 of 20 recommendations made by an LGBT task force formed after the raid. The only recommendation left outstanding is that the city provide health insurance to cover the cost of sex reassignment surgery for transgender employees. Other ongoing concerns include some apparent resistance to diversity training among police and firefighters, as well as the question of whether the city should subsidize domestic partner benefits. But overall, everyone seems pleased with the progress. “I think there is no city, because I’ve looked, in the United States which has done more in less time on these issues than the city of Fort Worth,” said Jon Nelson, a member of the task force and a leader of Fairness Fort Worth.

2. A Texas House committee is expected to take up a bill this morning that would allow same-sex parents to put both their names on the birth certificate of an adopted child. HB 415, by Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, would resolve an issue in Texas that’s been the subject of a high-profile lawsuit in Louisiana, where a federal appeals court recently ruled against a same-sex couple in a case that could go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the full House could give final approval today to an anti-bullying bill that’s become Equality Texas’ top priority in this year’s legislative session. HB 1942, by Rep. Diane Patrick, R-Arlington, would then go to the Senate for consideration.

3. GLAAD is calling on Houston’s Fox affiliate (KRIV-26) to apologize for a segment that aired last week called, “Is TV too gay?” which criticized Glee‘s portrayal of gay teens. The segment aired the same night as a Glee‘s “Born This Way” episode and featured Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, which has been certified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Watch the full segment below. To sign GLAAD’s petition, go here.

 

—  John Wright

Why Rafael Anchia didn’t vote against Wayne Christian’s anti-gay budget amendment

Rep. Rafael Anchia

By now you’re probably aware of the anti-gay Texas House budget amendment authored by Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, which would require schools with LGBT resource centers to spend an equal amount, dollar for dollar, on centers promoting “family and traditional values.”

Like seemingly most things these days, Christian’s amendment has led to a petition at Change.org, which now has 146 signatures, calling for the Texas Senate and/or Gov. Rick Perry to reject it:

“This proposal does nothing to enhance the educational experience of Texas university students,” writes Mindy Townsend of Kansas, who started the petition. “It only serves to further marginalize LGBT people. Society is built to support straight people. We need LGBT resource centers to help fill in the gaps.”

We’ve got a message in to Christian’s office seeking further explanation of the amendment, such as how it jibes with teabagger principles of reduced spending and local control.

But for now, we wanted to note that Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, is listed as “present, not voting” in the House voting record for the amendment. Anchia’s vote, or lack thereof, prompted Instant Tea contributor Daniel Williams to write on his Legislative Queery blog that Anchia, a staunch LGBT ally, had “cowardly refuse[d] to take a stand on this issue.”

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Man found shot to death in Oak Lawn; UNC hate crime report was false

Ken Upton
Ken Upton

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A 28-year-old man was found shot to death Monday evening in an apartment near Oak Lawn and Dickason avenues, according to The Dallas Morning News. Police responding to a shooting call at 7 p.m. found Javier Ahumada in an apartment in the 4000 block of Dickason Avenue. The DMN reports that investigators are interviewing witnesses and trying to determine a motive.

2. A federal appeals court in Louisiana has ruled against two gay dads who sought to have both of their names on an adopted child’s birth certificate. The couple is represented by Ken Upton of Lambda Legal’s Dallas office, who tells the Associated Press that the case is now likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In Texas, legislation has been introduced by Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, that would allow same-sex parents to have both their names on an adopted child’s birth certificate.

3. On Tuesday we told you that a student at the University of North Carolina had been severely burned in an anti-gay hate crime. But authorities now say the student, Quinn Matney, lied about the assault and is likely to face charges of filing a false police report.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Leo Berman may not know what GLBT stands for, but he definitely doesn’t support it

 

Earlier we tried to post video of anti-gay State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, debating Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, about a bill Anchia has filed that would allow same-sex parents to put both their names on an adopted child’s birth certificate. But we accidentally posted the wrong segment from KXAN’s Session ’11, so we figured we’d put it up again here with a transcript.

After Anchia explains the reason behind his bill, Berman is asked for his opinion about it.

Berman: It’s just like camouflaging an issue. This bullying issue in school, it a GLBT issue. It’s a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transvestite issue.

Anchia: Transgender.

Berman: I’m sorry. Transgender and transvestite. You cross-dress and you’re a transvestite, I guess. But anyway, I don’t support that at all. I don’t support it at all. I’m a conservative, and I suppose you would call yourself a liberal.

Anchia: I’d prefer you not branding me. How’s that?

Berman: I’m sorry. I apologize. I call myself a conservative, though. I am conservative, and I don’t support the agenda that the gay lesbian … transvestite — I’m sorry, what was that word?

Anchia: It’s the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community. GLBT.

Berman: Transgender community. GLBT. I don’t support their agenda at all.

—  John Wright