Mayor Rawlings backs equality resolution before Wednesday vote

Mayor Mike Rawlings speaks during an LGBT Pride Month Reception at City Hall in June 2011.

Mayor Mike Rawlings speaks during an LGBT Pride Month Reception at City Hall in June 2011.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings plans to support the LGBT equality resolution when it goes before the full council during a briefing Wednesday.

“Mayor Rawlings supports the resolution in its current form,” Rawlings spokesman Sam Merten emailed to Dallas Voice.

Councilmembers will debate the resolution Wednesday and can make changes to the measure.

After fighting the marriage equality resolution last year, calling it a “misuse” of council time and blocking it from the agenda, Rawlings placed the current resolution on the agenda for this week. But he delayed the vote a week so the council could ask legal questions in executive session last week.

LGBT advocates showed up in red to urge the council to support the resolution, which is expected to pass with 13 votes now that Rawlings is in favor. Councilmembers Vonciel Jones Hill and Sheffie Kadane, who’ve both spoken out against the LGBT community based on religious views, are sure to vote against the measure. Kadane voted against the resolution in committee.

Supporters are encouraged to pack the 9 a.m. meeting again Wednesday dressed in red.

The resolution is a comprehensive statement of support that instructs city staff to fix inequities that exist for LGBT employees. Staff will report to the Finance, Budget and Audit Committee quarterly and changes requiring a vote will have to be approved by the council.

The “resolution supporting equal rights for the employees of the City of Dallas, citizens within the City of Dallas, and visitors to the City of Dallas to address disparate treatment, if any, of  lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons,” the agenda states about the item.

The resolution, below, has a few minor revisions explaining the process of the city manager and city staff to implement changes. Staff is encouraged to make administrative changes and bring others before committee and then the council for final approval.

“The resolution itself does not change any existing City procedure or ordinance, nor does the resolution itself authorize any actions or expenditures,” the agenda item reads.  ”Rather, the resolution directs the City Manager and the City Council’s appointees to the pension boards to explore actions to further the goals of the resolution and initiate any necessary processes through the appropriate channels to amend City policies, procedures, or ordinances. The City Manager or his designee is directed to report quarterly to the Budget, Finance and Audit Committee to keep City Council informed of progress toward implementing this resolution and any proposed actions. Any changes to existing City ordinances or expenditures of funds will require further City Council action.”

Read the resolution below.

—  Dallasvoice

LGBT advocates plan to red out Dallas City Council meeting tomorrow

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Click image to enlarge

Wednesday’s Dallas City Council may be déjà vu for some LGBT advocates and allies when the gallery is full of red like it was in June for an LGBT equality resolution.

But this time LGBT advocates hope to encourage councilmembers to support a resolution and pass it, instead of express anger for the resolution that failed to go before the council last year.

The “Comprehensive Statement of Support” resolution passed committee last week and was slated to go before the full council for a vote Wednesday, but Mayor Mike Rawlings delayed the council vote  because he wants to discuss legal implications in executive session before the full council votes on it.

The new measure directs the city manager and city staff to resolve the inequities in city employment for its LGBT employees, as well as help the city be an advocate for state and federal LGBT equality.

In response to the delay by Rawlings, advocates plan to show up in mass at City Hall Wednesday wearing red to address the council and show support in the audience for the resolution.

Advocates have launched a Facebook page called “Dallas LGBT Equality Resolution” to gain support for the measure. It has received 626 likes so far.

LGBT people and allies planning on attending the meeting are encouraged to show up to meet with Councilmen Adam Medrano and Philip Kingston at 8 a.m. on the fifth floor before the 9 a.m. council meeting on the sixth floor. If people cannot attend the meeting, advocates urge supports to contact their councilmember.

Meanwhile, GetEQUAL TX issued travel advisory Tuesday for LGBT people coming to Dallas. The statewide activist organization issued a similar warning in San Antonio during the summer when the discussion around a nondiscrimination ordinance divided the city.

“This alert has been issued based on the fact that Dallas — the 9th largest city in the country — has refused multiple efforts by the community to pass resolutions backing marriage equality, employment nondiscrimination, and most recently a comprehensive statement of support for the LGBT community,” GetEQUAL TX says in a press release.

Read the full travel advisory below.

—  Dallasvoice

Dallas Councilmen Adam Medrano, Philip Kingston to take NOH8 photos

photoTwo LGBT allies on the Dallas City Council will be among the hundreds of people to participate in the NOH8 Campaign’s Dallas photo shoot this evening.

Adam Medrano, chair for the city’s LGBT Task Force, and Philip Kingston, who both represent parts of Oak Lawn in two of Dallas’ most heavily LGBT districts, will pose in white shirts and duct tape.

Medrano’s spokeswoman Monica Huerta said he decided to take one of the iconic photos “because discrimination in any form is still inequality. Mr. Medrano agrees with the ideals of the N0H8 campaign and proudly supports the LGBT Dallas Community.”

NOH8 Campaign raises money for marriage equality and other LGBT issues like nondiscrimination.

After inquiring if Mayor Mike Rawlings plans to take a NOH8 photo, spokesman Samuel Merten said Rawlings is “out of town on personal business, so he is unable to participate.”

When asked if Rawlings would participate another time if he could, Merten said “I don’t know if he has ever thought about participating.”

Rawlings famously refused to sign a pledge for “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry” in 2012 and even interfered in preventing a marriage equality resolution from going before the council because he disagreed with the city discussing the issue. But he has said he personally supports marriage equality.

Dallas City Council is still considering a marriage equality resolution, which is expected to come before the council in coming months, as well as a broader statement of the council’s support for LGBT issues.

The event is 5:30-8:30 p.m. tonight at the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, located at 14115 Hillcrest Road.

—  Dallasvoice

Denton marriage resolution on hold after council members withdraw support

Tyler Carlton

Tyler Carlton

Gay Denton activist Tyler Carlton has been working with city officials for months in an effort to pass a resolution in support of same-sex marriage, but now Carlton reports that the item may not be considered by the council until next year.

Carlton presented to the City Council in April, and later wrote the resolution himself and urged council members to support it. He tried meeting with council members, but only one, Dalton Gregory, agreed to meet with him to discuss the resolution. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s DOMA and Prop 8 rulings, Carlton updated the resolution and hoped it would make it onto an August council agenda.

The resolution was slated for consideration Tuesday night, but Carlton said Gregory and other members who had been on board changed their minds, fearing the resolution would hurt relationships between the city and state Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, and state Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Lake Dallas.

Now Carlton, who’s moving to Boston in a week, said the resolution is on hold indefinitely.

“It’s on hold. It’s not done,” he said. “It’s on a long-term hold.”

—  Dallasvoice

Petition asks Mary Suhm to put pro-equality resolution on council agenda

Mary Suhm

Mary Suhm

LGBT activists are now turning to Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm as their last hope for having a pro-equality resolution be placed on the council’s June 12 agenda.

Damien Duckett with Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance started the Change.org petition to urge Suhm to place the item on the agenda.

“This resolution deserves placement on the council agenda for an up or down vote. Marriage and workplace equality are of vital importance to local communities,” the petition reads. “This resolution allows the council to send a message in support of equality on behalf of all Dallas citizens that are disadvantaged as a result of bans on marriage and workplace equality.”

Suhm did not return calls this week asking if she’d put the item on the agenda. Her record on LGBT issues has been hit and miss. She spearheaded an “It Gets Better” video for the city, but wouldn’t back adding transgender healthcare coverage for city employees.

In addition to the city manager, Mayor Mike Rawlings, who said he wouldn’t budge on his refusal to place it on the agenda, can add an item, or five council members can add an item. But the latter failed this week when Councilwoman Deila Jasso pulled her support, leaving the memo one signature short. A new memo would require the resolution to be placed on the agenda within at least 30 days, so Suhm is the last option to bring it forward for a vote in June.

—  Dallasvoice

Councilwoman Jasso apologizes for flip-flop without giving her reasons

DJasso

Delia Jasso

Dallas Councilwoman Delia Jasso apologized to the LGBT community in a letter this afternoon, calling her decision to remove her signature from a memo to place a pro-equality resolution on the council’s agenda “impulsive.”

“My decision to remove my signature from the memo did not totally represent me, and it certainly did not represent you,” Jasso wrote. “I truly understand the pain, confusion and feelings of betrayal my decision has brought you, and I take complete ownership for causing these raw emotions.”

But Jasso didn’t explain why she removed her signature, saying only that her “judgment in that moment hurt people I care about and causes I’ve championed.”

She ends the letter by saying she will once again “stand for fairness and equality,” but she likely won’t get the chance.

City Secretary Rosa Rios told Dallas Voice today that Jasso can’t undo removing her signature.

She could, however, sign a new memo again along with four other council members, but Rios said the whole process starts again and the resolution would take at least 30 days to be added to an agenda. Unless Mayor Mike Rawlings adds it himself, which is unlikely. So, the new council session would have to vote on it.

Read Jasso’s full letter below.

—  Dallasvoice

Rawlings on LGBT equality resolution: ‘I’m not going to change my mind’

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Mayor MIke Rawlings meets with LGBT activists Thursday during his visit to Lakewood Country Club.

Protesters lined the entrance to the Lakewood Country Club in East Dallas early Thursday afternoon to call out Mayor Mike Rawlings on his lack of support for an LGBT equality resolution.

Rawlings said this week he doesn’t plan to place the LGBT equality resolution on the council agenda after Councilwoman Delia Jasso removed her signature from a memo that would have required the mayor to do so. .

Rawlings was scheduled to speak at the country club and surprised LGBT protesters when he came out and spoke to them briefly. He told Dallas Voice that he followed the process for the resolution and decided not to put it on the agenda after Jasso pulled her support.

He alo said he’s not worried about his personal support for equality being overshadowed by his refusal to place the resolution on the agenda without the needed signatures to do so.

“I just have to speak my mind. I’m not worried about anything being overshadowed by anything,” Rawlings said. “People can think what they want. They can call and email, but I’m not going to change my mind.”

—  Dallasvoice

GetEQUAL TX to protest Rawlings for pulling pro-equality resolution

Rawlings.Mike

Mayor Mike Rawlings

LGBT activists plan to protest Mayor Mike Rawlings on Thursday morning after he said he planned to pull a resolution in support of LGBT job protections and marriage equality.

Regional GetEQUAL TX coordinator Daniel Cates said advocates will protest Rawlings’ appearance at Lakewood Country Club, 6430 Gaston Ave., from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“It seems like we have a lot of work to do here,” Cates said.

Last January, after he declined to sign a pledge from the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, Rawlings skipped a neighborhood meeting to avoid a gay-rights protest.

Activists are also planning to communications bomb Jasso, who withdrew her support for the resolution and allowed Rawlings to pull it. They’re encouraging people to call her office, email and Facebook message her Thursday morning until Friday at 4 p.m. to demand why she withdrew her support.

Jasso’s assistant, Gary Sanchez, can be reached at 214-670-4052, and her secretary, Mariza Perez, can be reached at 214-670-4055.

—  Dallasvoice

NC:Mecklenburg equality resolution passes unanimously; debate, condemnation of Bill James’ remarks

Image of James part of CREDO Action post.

Matt Comer at QNotes live-Tweeted tonight’s Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners meeting (the Charlotte area) where an equality and tolerance resolution passed unanimously, and the night included debate — with overwhelming condemnation — over anti-gay commissioner Bill James’s notorious recent “homosexuals are sexual predators” remarks.

From Matt’s QNotes report:

The resolution, proposed by Cogdell and approved Tuesday night, read, in part: “…the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners affirms, proclaims and declares its public support for community values that embrace and promote equality, diversity, tolerance and inclusion; and stands united in firm opposition to inflammatory speech that may cause bullying, intimidation, harassment, persecution or discriminatory treatment of any individual because of their race, color, sex, religion or creed, national origin, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, veteran status or disability.”

The unanimous vote marks one of the first times all Republicans on the Mecklenburg County board have voted in favor of a pro-equality statement. Several GOP members also made strong statements condemning James’ remarks.

…GOP Commissioner Karen Bentley also voiced her support for the resolution and said James’ comments were “beyond reproach” and “out of line with my Christian principles.”

James, as usual, blew off the criticism (and probably enjoyed the attention). He was incredibly rude, not bothering to look up from his terminal to make eye contact with those addressing him.

During his debate on the resolution, James said homosexuality was “perversity, not diversity,” and cited several laws and court cases he said showed homosexuality to be illegal. He also cited a 1988 study he says showed gay men more likely to molest children. The study, conducted by a Minneapolis-St. Paul medical center, contained less than 300 study participants and in no way connected homosexual men to molestation.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

UN Votes to Restore Sexual Orientation to Resolution Condemning Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions

Good news coming in from the UN, as member states have voted to restore sexual orientation to a resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The body had voted 79 to 70 with 17 abstentions and 26 absences on November 16 to remove Sexual orientation from the resolution.

The AP reports:

Un

The removal of the reference, done at the committee level last month, alarmed human rights advocates who said gay people are among minority groups that need special protection from extrajudicial and other unjustified killings.

The assembly on Tuesday voted 93 in favor of the United States' proposal to restore the previous language, with 55 countries against and 27 abstaining. The assembly then approved the amended resolution 122 in favor, with 0 votes against, and 59 abstentions.

Ambassador Susan Rice led the efforts to reinsert the resolution, The New Civil Rights Movement reports:

Suggesting LGBT peoples are weak and invited discrimination, the United Arab Emirates spoke at length, and said it “rejects firmly” the “controversial” statement that has “no legal foundation.”

The African Group representative said they were “gravely alarmed” with the “undefined notion of sexual orientation,” and called the attempt to restore the term a “systematic attempt to create new rights,” and  said it would “jeopardize the entire human rights framework… to achieve narrow political gain.”

In a major switch, South Africa voted for the resolution, after having voted to remove sexual orientation from the resolution last month. Rowanda also spoke very eloquently. But Zimbabwe, calling the text “adventurism,” also likened homosexuality to bestiality and said “individual proclivities should be just that.”


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin