Crazy Mormon woman thinks way too much about gay marriage


The first time I saw a friend link to a page on Facebook, I figured he had been Punk’d. The blog post, written by a Mormon grandmother, railed on against the movie Frozen as clearly a pro-gay-marriage message hidden within a fairy tale. This could not be real, after all — she’s obviously bat-shit crazy, and that’s the essence of being Punk’d: It gets you to believe something that’s a total goof. It’s satire.

But much as I tried to find the “gotcha” in the blog, I couldn’t. There was only one conclusion: This lady is serious.

What makes that so unusual is that she analyzes Frozen as if she’s an academic dissecting a film for a thesis. She reads into every moment of the film, looking for the secret pro-gay messages embedded to destroy the fabric of society. And she’s absolutely, insanely wrong.

Don’t misunderstand: I spend a great deal of my waking hours analyzing films and parsing the imagery. And certainly a lot of animated films have messages of tolerance and acceptance: The Hunchback of Notre Dame teaches not to judge based on appearances; The Little Mermaid speaks to female empowerment; Wall-E embraces connecting to our humanity, even if we are machines; in The Croods, Darwinian evolution is treated as a fact, and progress deemed necessary for survival. She’s not wrong looking for them. She’s just gone way overboard trying to prove it.

The blog itself is tedious and poorly written; she doesn’t even get to her points until well into it. But if you scroll down past the image of the Frozen billboard, she eventually gets into particulars. Among her more elaborate hidden messages include Elsa becoming a “queen,” and that the death of her parents represents killing off her oppressors so she can “come out of the closet.” Now, if you’ve seen the film, you know that the parents’ death is portrayed as tragic, not victorious.

The fact is, she does make a point. Elsa is forced into a role, and she struggles to follow her own path. That is true of gays as well. And girls in male-dominated societies. And poor people. And creative (non-gay) people. And anyone who wants to march to his own drummer. It’s also the story of The Jazz Singer.)

What’s fascinating to me is how the blogger is so angered and disturbed by this movie as an obvious metaphor against heteronormative ideals and patently trying to indoctrinate kids to be gay-friendly. And worst of all, she misstates almost everything about gay people — that we feel “shame” being attracted to the same sex (not me!), that we consider ourselves victims (I’m only a victim when you deny me rights), that we are “immoral” (what’s immoral his how bad her prose is).

You can’t read it all in one sitting — or rather, you shouldn’t (click here). But it’s a remarkable insight, in my mind, to the guilt-ridden mind of a bigot-in-denial, a person so concerned that her moral compass may be off that she lashes out at everything that makes her question her stance, much the way Macbeth continued to see the ghosts of those he killed. The fault, dear lady, lies not in our movies, but in yourself.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Judge to Kentucky: Start recognizing same-sex couples’ marriage licenses


Judge John Heyburn

A federal judge in Kentucky on Thursday ordered the state to recognize marriage licenses obtained by same-sex couples from other states.

U.S. District Court Judge John Heyburn, a nominee of George H.W. Bush, issued the final order on a ruling he made February 12. There were two questions at issue in the Bourke v. Beshear case. Heyburn said the state’s refusal to recognize valid licenses obtained in other states violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Today’s order instructs the state how to comply with that ruling: Start recognizing marriage licenses of same-sex couples.

Heyburn still must rule on whether the state’s refusal to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples is constitutional. Attorneys on both sides are submitting briefs on that issue, and a ruling could come in a few months.

If either or both questions are appealed, the case will go before the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Another case testing state bans, one from Ohio, is already petitioning the 6th Circuit.

Heyburn did not respond to the state’s request that he stay his order. If the state appeals to a higher court for a stay, Dan Conway, attorney for the plaintiff couples, has said he will oppose it.

LISA KEEN  |  Keen News Service

—  Steve Ramos

Marriage ruling celebrated at Legacy of Love monument

IMG_0163A small crowd gathered at the Legacy of Love monument on Wednesday to celebrate a federal judge’s ruling that declared Texas’ ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. The quickly organized gathering, energized by activist Cd Kirven, listened to short speeches by LGBT leaders that included Resource Center’s Communications and Advocacy Manager Rafael McDonnell and Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance President Patti Fink.

“I own my equality, and you need to own it, too,” Fink said. “A few people can’t carry it for everybody. When we show up in numbers, we are unstoppable.”

Judge Orlando Garcia issued the preliminary injunction earlier in the day after two gay couples challenged a state constitutional amendment and a longstanding law. He said the couples are likely to win their case, and the ban should be lifted, but said he would give the state time to appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution,” Garcia wrote. “These Texas laws deny plaintiffs access to the institution of marriage and its numerous rights, privileges, and responsibilities for the sole reason that Plaintiffs wish to be married to a person of the same sex.”

See photos here.

—  Steve Ramos

BREAKING: Federal judge strikes down Texas ban on gay marriage, postpones action pending appeal


THEIR DAY IN COURT | Plano couple Vic Holmes, far left, and Mark Phariss and Austin couple Cleopatra DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman in court Feb. 12. (Photo courtesy of Randy Bear)

A federal judge declared Texas’ ban on gay marriage unconstitutional Wednesday, but left it in place until an appeals court can rule on the case, U.S. News & World Report reported.

Judge Orlando Garcia issued the preliminary injunction after two gay couples challenged a state constitutional amendment and a longstanding law. He said the couples are likely to win their case, and the ban should be lifted, but said he would give the state time to appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals before do so.

“Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution,” Garcia wrote. “These Texas laws deny plaintiffs access to the institution of marriage and its numerous rights, privileges, and responsibilities for the sole reason that Plaintiffs wish to be married to a person of the same sex.”

The ruling is the latest in a series of victories for gay rights activists following similar decisions in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia.

But this was the first time a court in the conservative 5th Circuit has reached such a decision. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was expected to file an expedited appeal.

“Today’s ruling by Judge Garcia is a huge victory that moves Texas one step closer to the freedom to marry,” said Equality Texas executive director Chuck Smith. “The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Windsor made it clear that animus or moral disapproval is not an acceptable justification for denying any American their constitutional right to equal protection of the law. We are gratified to see Judge Garcia uphold the Constitution of the United States and declare that Texas’ restrictions on the freedom to marry are unconstitutional and unenforceable. We anxiously await the day when the United States Supreme Court will reach the same conclusion.”

Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes filed their federal civil rights lawsuit saying Texas’ ban unconstitutionally denied them the fundamental right to marry because of their sexual orientation. Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman filed a lawsuit saying Texas officials were violating their rights by not recognizing their marriage conducted in a state where gay marriage is legal.

“In granting today’s order, Judge Garcia’s decision relies heavily on the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor and is rooted in law and fairness,” Resource Center CEO Cece Cox said. “It also confirms what we in the LGBT community have known for nearly a decade; the additions to the Texas Constitution and the Texas Family Code, which many fair-minded Texans fought against when it was put to the state’s voters as Amendment 2 in 2005, are discriminatory and violate the United States Constitution.”

Attorneys for the state argued that Texas voters had imposed the ban through a referendum and that Texas officials were within their rights to defend marriage traditions.

“This is an issue on which there are good, well-meaning people on both sides,” a statement by Abbott’s office reads. “And, as the lower court acknowledged today, it’s an issue that will ultimately be resolved by a higher court. Texas will begin that process by appealing today’s ruling to the Fifth Circuit. Because the judge has stayed his own decision, his ruling has no immediate practical effect. Instead, the ultimate decision about Texas law will be made by the Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled over and over again that States have the authority to define and regulate marriage. The Texas Constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman. If the Fifth Circuit honors those precedents, then today’s decision should be overturned and the Texas Constitution will be upheld.”

Another gay couple has filed a separate lawsuit in federal court in Austin. In that case, two men argue that the ban discriminates against them based on their gender. That case is scheduled for a hearing later this year.

Read the ruling below.

Order on Preliminary Injunction

—  Steve Ramos

Illinois couples can marry now in Chicago


Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn

A judge ruled Friday that same-sex couples can begin marrying now in Cook County that includes Chicago.

“There is no reason to delay further when no opposition has been presented to this Court, and committed gay and lesbian couples have already suffered from the denial of their fundamental right to marry,” U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman said.

Same-sex marriage was scheduled to begin in the state on June 1 as a result of legislation passed last fall. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed the law in November.

Cook County Clerk David Orr, who filed a brief in favor of the lawsuit to push up the date, said he would begin issuing licenses immediately.


—  David Taffet

Couple marries in Central Park on Valentine’s Day

Valentino Felipe

Valentino Torres and Felipe Alvarez

Valentino Torres and Felipe Alvarez celebrated their 10th anniversary in November skiing in Telluride.

They met on Cedar Springs 10 years ago. For their sixth anniversary, Torres purchased promise rings at Tiffany’s and proposed on a horse and carriage ride in New York’s Central Park.

When the Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act decision unconstitutional, the couple began thinking of turning the promise into reality. On the ski trip, they set the date. Valentine’s Day, they decided, was the perfect day to get married.

Last week, friends threw the couple a bachelor party. Since the party was for both of them, it was more a pre-wedding celebration, Torres said.

“There were no strippers,” he said, laughing.

Friends hired a limo, and the party was filmed for a reality show Torres is working on about gay Dallas Latino hairstylists.

On Wednesday, they left for New York City. That afternoon, they had a cake tasting in the city. On Thursday night, they had a rehearsal dinner in the West Village.

They were joined in New York by 14 friends from Dallas and a few others from the East Coast.

The wedding is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Valentine’s Day in Central Park — exact site to be determined.

“We have a few spots in mind,” Torres said.

An officiant they spoke to on the phone will preside and they’ve arranged for a violinist.

They’ll arrive at the ceremony in a horse and carriage to remind them of their fifth anniversary exchange of rings and during the ceremony replace the promise rings with wedding bands.

The violinist and officiant may be accustomed to New York’s cold and damp Februarys, but the Texans flying up to participate in the wedding are not. So in case of extremely cold weather, Torres said, their back-up plan is to marry at the Empire Hotel where they’re staying.

After the ceremony, they’re having a reception at Tao Uptown, a restaurant just south of Central Park on 58th Street.

“I never thought this would happen,” Torres said.

He said friends are always asking him how they’ve maintained a relationship for so long. He said he and Alvarez work at making their relationship succeed.

“Just take it day by day,” he advised.


—  David Taffet

Two lesbian couples — each with a trans partner — marry in Dallas courtroom


JJ Larson and Dani Pellett

Two lesbian couples, each with a trans partner,  married in Judge Carl Ginsberg’s court Friday morning.

Genevieve Jonte and Ashley Boucher said they contacted every justice of the peace in Dallas County, but none would perform their wedding. Then they contacted other judges. Ginsberg was the only judge who responded affirmatively.

Dani Pellett and JJ Larson decided to join them.

Ginsberg asked which couple was going first after the 100 guests filed into the courtroom.

“Dibs,” Pellett said.

The couple’s mothers signed the marriage license and kissed the brides.

Jonte and Boucher’s two children, ages 3 and 5, dressed in top hats for the occasion and held flowers as their moms got married.

The courtroom erupted in a standing ovation after Ginsberg announced, “You are now a happily, lawfully wedded couple,” after each of the ceremonies.

However, a court ruling in Corpus Christi on Thursday may affect the marriages. In that case, a judge ruled that a marriage between a man and a trans woman was legal. That overturns a 1999 case that prevented a trans person from having a heterosexual marriage, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage if one partner is trans.

The marriage licenses were issued to the two Dallas couples prior to the ruling, and it is unclear whether they remain valid under Texas law or whether Attorney General Greg Abbott will challenge their validity.

—  David Taffet

BREAKING: Federal judge rules Va. same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

gay_marriage_81102178_620x350A federal judge has ruled Virginia’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.

The ruling was announced late Thursday evening. The order released around 10 p.m. stated the following:

“The Court finds Va. Const. Art. I, § 15-A, Va. Code §§ 20-45.2, 20-45.3, and any other Virginia law that bars same-sex marriage or prohibits Virginia’s recognition of lawful same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions unconstitutional. These laws deny Plaintiffs their rights to due process and equal protection guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

—  Steve Ramos

BREAKING: Texas appeals court rules in favor of trans widow Nikki Araguz

Nikki Araguz

Nikki Araguz

CORPUS CHRISTI — The 13th District Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi issued a landmark opinion Thursday in favor of Houston trans widow Nikki Araguz, ruling that Texas must recognize the marriages of trans people.

The opinion, written by Chief Justice Rogelio Valdez, reverses the 2011 ruling by Houston state district Judge Randy Clapp, who ruled that Araguz was born male and Texas’ 2005 marriage amendment doesn’t recognize her marriage to a man. Her 2008 marriage to her late husband, Thomas Araguz III, became invalid. Thomas Araguz was a volunteer firefighter in Wharton and was killed in the line of duty in 2010 and Nikki Araguz was denied his death benefits.

Clapp’s ruling hinged on the 1999 Texas Court of Appeals decision in Littleton v. Prange, which found that since a male who transitioned to female was born male, she was therefore still male. Her marriage to a male was therefore invalid because same-sex marriages are invalid under state law.

But the Texas Legislature opened the door for transgender marriage in 2009 when it added documentation of a sex change to the identification documents people can present to obtain a marriage license. Araguz’s appeal in September hinged on how the 2009 statute voids the Littleton ruling.

Houston attorney Kent Rutter, the lead attorney for the appeal, said the opinion marks the first time in Texas a court has recognized that trans people have the right to marry.

“What the decision today says is Texas law now recognizes that an individual who has had a sex change is eligible to marry a person of the opposite sex,” he said. “I think it’s a significant victory for trans people in Texas.”

Kent said that the ruling will result in further court proceedings to ensure Araguz receives her late husband’s death benefits.


—  Anna Waugh

Federal judge issues no decision in hearing on Texas marriage ban

Plano couple Vic Holmes, far left, and Mark Phariss and Austin couple Cleopatra DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman in court Wednesday. (Courtesy photo)

Plano couple Vic Holmes, far left, and Mark Phariss and Austin couple Cleopatra DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman in court Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Randy Bear)

SAN ANTONIO — Saying he had listened to both sides of the argument, San Antonio Federal District Judge Orlando Garcia told a crowded courtroom on Wednesday  he will soon make a decision in the case of two couples who are seeking a preliminary injunction to bar Texas from enforcing its same-sex marriage ban.

Mark Phariss and his partner Vic Holmes of Plano, along with Cleopatra DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman from Austin, filed their original federal lawsuit on Oct. 28 in San Antonio challenging the state’s marriage ban.

The defendants named in the case are Governor Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbot, Bexar County Clerk Gerard Rickhoff and Commissioner of State Health Services David Lakey.

The injunction, dated Nov. 22 and submitted by the the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP, states:

“Plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court issue an order preliminarily enjoining Defendants from enforcing any constitutional or statutory provisions, including article I, section 32 of the Texas Constitution and Texas Family Code §§ 2.001 and 6.204, that prevent Plaintiffs Phariss and Holmes from marrying on the basis that they are of the same sex, or prevents the State from recognizing Plaintiffs’ De Leon and Dimetman’s marriage on the basis that they are of the same sex. Plaintiffs further request that the Court enter a preliminary injunction commanding Defendant Rickhoff to issue a marriage license to Plaintiffs Phariss and Holmes.”

At the Wednesday hearing, attorneys for the plaintiffs said there are “hundreds of thousands” of people affected by the state ban.

Attorney Neel Lane, who represents the two couples, said that by not having their unions recognized by the state, same sex couples lose such rights as community property, intestate survivorship, parental rights, health care decisions, and spousal and child support after divorce.

“We’re not seeking to rewrite any Texas law. We’re seeking to enforce the Constitution that protects everyone,” Lane said.

To get the preliminary injunction, the two couples must convince the judge they have a good chance of winning their cases when it is litigated and that by keeping the ban in place their relationships are being harmed.

Assistant Texas Solicitor General Michael Murphy urged the judge to deny the injunction saying, “The right to marry has never included the right to same-sex marriage. Plaintiffs’ constitutional claims are not likely to succeed on the merits, as they are foreclosed by direct, binding Supreme Court precedent and by application of equal-protection and due-process standards.”

“As we all know, no matter how I decide this, this matter is going to be appealed in time,” Garcia said. He offered no time frame as to when his decision would be made public.

Sam Sanchez is the publisher of

—  Sam Sanchez