UPDATE: Defined benefit retirement plans must also recognize same-sex marriages

David-Henderson

David Mack Henderson

In the Dec. 5 issue of Dallas Voice, we reported on the discovery by Resource Center Communications and Advocacy Manager Rafael McDonnell and Fairness Fort Worth President David Mack Henderson that the Internal Revenue Service requires that defined contribution retirement plans — such as 401(a), 401(k) and 125 cafeteria plans —  recognize same-sex spouses of plan members if the couple were married in a jurisdiction that legally recognizes such marriages — even if the couple lives in a state that bans marriage equality.

Henderson has since discovered that defined benefit plans must also recognize same-sex spouses:

“From Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for Individuals of the Same Sex Who Are Married Under State Law:
Q17. What are some examples of the consequences of these rules for qualified retirement plans?
A17. The following are some examples of the consequences of these rules:
Plan A, a qualified defined benefit plan, is maintained by Employer X, which operates only in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages. Nonetheless, Plan A must treat a participant who is married to a spouse of the same sex under the laws of a different jurisdiction as married for purposes of applying the qualification requirements that relate to spouses.”

A defined benefit pension plan is a type of pension plan in which an employer/sponsor promises a specified monthly benefit on retirement that is predetermined by a formula based on the employee’s earnings history, tenure of service and age, rather than depending directly on individual investment returns. A defined contribution plan, on the other hand, does not promise a specific amount of benefits at retirement. In these plans, the employee or the employer (or both) contribute to the employee’s individual account under the plan, sometimes at a set rate.

You can also find information on the Equality Texas website.

—  Tammye Nash

2014 Black Tie Dinner: The Night in Photos

The Sheraton Dallas hotel was wall-to-wall Saturday night for the 33rd annual Black Tie Dinner, which raised funds for local beneficiaries and the Human Rights Campaign.

The event featured the presentation of the Kuchling Humanitarian Award to Mike Anglin, the Black Tie Media Award to Dale Hansen and the Elizabeth Birch Equality Award to attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, along with special appearances by NBA star Jason Collins and the Prop 8 plaintiffs.

Comedienne Dana Goldberg emcees the evening, which also featured entertainment by Alex Newell and Steve Grand.

Dallas Voice photographer Cassie Quinn captured the evening in photos:

—  Tammye Nash

DIFFA/Dallas awards funds to Resource Center nutrition programs

Resource Center officials announced Wednesday, Oct. 8, that their agency has received a $22,500 award from the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS/Dallas (DIFFA/Dallas) for the center’s nutrition programs. The money was awarded at an event held Sept. 12 at Roche Bobois.

Resource Center offers nutritional services through its food pantry as well through its hot lunch program.

The pantry, which began in 1985 out of a cardboard box at the intersection of Cedar Springs and Throckmorton, is presently located 5450 Denton Drive Cutoff and serves around 1900 clients every month.

The center began a hot lunch programs for its clients in the early 1990s. It is one of two agencies in Dallas County providing hot meals in a nonresidential setting to those living with HIV/AIDS, making the critical link between nutrition and treatment adherence. More than 100 clients a day eat lunch at the center Monday through Friday.

DIFFA is the oldest and one of the largest funders of HIV/AIDS service and education programs in the United States. Founded in 1984, DIFFA has mobilized the immense resources of the design communities to provide over $38 million to hundreds of AIDS organizations nationwide.

With events including the House of DIFFA each spring, DIFFA/Dallas has granted nearly $7 million to organizations across North Texas, including Resource Center. March 2015 will mark the 25th anniversary of the House of DIFFA.

—  Tammye Nash

DIFFA donates $428k to HIV nonprofits

DIFFA Grant 2014-076

DIFFA/Dallas awarded $428,000 to HIV/AIDS organizations — include $330,000 18 to North Texas-based groups — at a party on Sept. 11 at Roche Bobois. Among the recipients of funds from the 2013-14 DIFFA season were AIDS Arms, AIDS Interfaith Network, AIDS Services of Dallas, Bryan’s House, Legacy Counseling Center, Legal Hospice, Resource Center and The Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund.

The 2014-15 season kicks off with Burgers & Burgundy on Oct. 3, followed quickly on Oct. 15 with an announcement party revealing this year’s Style Council ambassadors. Clint Bradley is once again the chairman of DIFFA/Dallas, and the spring Collection will return to the Omni Dallas Hotel.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

First Mississippi city to offer partner benefits

Wiseman

Mayor Parker Wiseman

Coming out matters. Knowing someone gay makes a difference.

Starkville, Miss. Mayor Parker Wiseman announced his city will offer partner benefits to its LGBT employees. This is the first city in Mississippi to do so, according to the Jackson Clarion Ledger. Starkville, south of Tupelo and northeast of Jackson, has a population of about 24,000.

Wiseman is Paul Scott’s cousin. Scott is executive director of AIDS Services of Austin and former director of Equality Texas and Resource Center.

In May, Bay St. Louis, Miss. passed a nondiscrimination ordinance, the sixth one passed in the state. Starkville was one of the first make nondiscrimination its law.

—  David Taffet

Police investigating break in at Youth First

Youth First

Youth First after an overnight break in. (Photo courtesy of Resource Center)

A break in occurred at Youth First on Harry Hines Boulevard overnight, which Resource Center personnel discovered this morning.

Resource Center spokesman Rafael McDonnell said they discovered the burglary on Friday morning. He said it took place after hours Thursday night, after all youth had left the building.

The door to Youth First program director Mike Cruz’s door was kicked open. A karaoke machine, stereo system and several gaming systems were taken.

“It looks like when the Grinch stole Christmas,” McDonnell said.

He said when he was over at the facility earlier today, police were still dusting for fingerprints, and they’re still totaling up what was taken. They’re also looking into what will be covered by insurance and how large the deductible is.

“The computers appear intact,” he said.

Anyone with information should contact Det. Laura Martin, LGBT liaison with the Dallas Police Department. Her number is 214-490-0541.

As a side note from Dallas Voice, anyone with Microsoft, a retailer or any or any other company or donor who would like to help Youth First replace what was taken may contact Cameron Hernholm at Resource Center at 214-528-0144.

—  David Taffet

Long time volunteer and activist Chet Flake dies

Flake.Chet

Chet Flake

Longtime Dallas activist and volunteer Chet Flake has died.

Flake is predeceased by his partner Bud Knight. Together, they won Black Tie Dinner’s Kuchling Award in 2011. The award was posthumous for Knight, who died in November 2010.

The couple was together for 45 years. They married in Vancouver in 2005.

Flake volunteered at Resource Center since 2003.

“We miss him already,” Resource Center CEO Cece Cox said. “Chet volunteered here at the front desk at the community center and at Nelson Tebedo. He was on the front lines. So many people who came to the community center and clinic interacted with him. He made them feel comforted and welcome and encouraged the staff and other volunteers.”

In addition, the couple participated in Oak Lawn Community Center’s Buddy Project and was an early Turtle Creek Chorale volunteer. He’s a member of St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church where he volunteered. Flake and Knight raised thousands of dollars for LifeWalk, where they billed themselves as the “oldest walkers.”

Flake was a teacher and later a school administrator in Southern California. He became a consultant in math and science for Xerox Corp. and Ginn Publishing Company.

Memorial service will be held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Aug. 16 at 10 a.m.

—  David Taffet

2014 Pride parade grand marshals named

grand marshals

The 2014 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade grand marshals are Rafael McDonnell, left, and the Rev. Carol West

With nearly 1,600 votes cast by the community, the Rev. Carol West and Rafael McDaniel have been chosen as grand marshals of the 2014 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade.

West is the pastor of Celebration Community Church in Fort Worth. She was called in 1998 by the then 35-member congregation to lead the church which now has grown to more than 500 members. In 2010, West was named winner of the Black Tie Dinner’s Kuchling Humanitarian Award.

McDonnell is communications and advocacy manager for Resource Center. He worked 16 years in broadcast news, including seven years as an assignment editor for Fox 4 News in Dallas. In May 2008, became the first person to hold the job of communications manager for the center.

Watch for more about this year’s grand marshals in the Friday, Aug. 1 issue of Dallas Voice.

—  Tammye Nash

RC announces 5 Factor honorees

dalehansen

Dale Hansen

The sixth annual 5 Factor — the celebration of those in the North Texas community who work for gay rights and HIV activism — returns in September, but we already know who the Resource Center has tapped to honor.

The event identifies people and businesses in five categories – Media, Government, Commerce, Culinary and Philanthropy — who have made a difference. Here are this year’s selections:

Media: Dale Hansen, the WFAA sports director whose commentaries about gays in sports, especially his defense of Michael Sam coming out prior to the NFL draft, made him a national icon.

Kingston.Philip

Philip Kingston

Government: Philip Kingston, the Dallas city councilmember who quickly became a friend of the gay community.

Commerce: Whole Food Market, which donates food to the Resource Center and other charities.

Culinary: Abraham Salum, the award-winning out chef-owner of Komali and Salum restaurants who often donates his time to culinary and charitable events.

Philanthropy: DIFFA, the charity whose annual fundraiser is one of the highlights of the social season and which contributes many thousands to HIV/AIDS research and treatment.

Admission is $50/person to the event at 7 for Parties, 150 Turtle Creek Blvd. on Sept. 26. You can obtain tickets and more information here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Sister Helen Holy doesn’t walk off Amy Tilton’s show

Screen shot 2014-06-10 at 9.05.23 AMSister Helen Holy, aka Paul J. Williams, and Johnny Humphrey appeared on that train wreck of a morning show hosted by the daughter of religious scam artist Robert Tilton.

The sister restrained herself from asking some of the questions we wanted to know like where were the show’s gay strippers or when did Suzie Humphreys became a crotchety old bigot.

While Humphrey talked about some of the programs of Resource Center, Sister Helen Holy did everything she could to avoid going to Midland. I could describe, but better to just watch it.

—  David Taffet