Fort Worth, El Paso have fewest same-sex couples among largest cities

Stockyards

Fort Worth ranks 49th out of the 50 largest cities in percent of same-sex couples

New data released by the Census Bureau indicates two Texas cities — El Paso and Fort Worth — have the lowest percentage of same-sex couples among the 50 largest cities in the U.S.

Fort Worth came in No. 49 with just 0.26 percent of couples who are gay or lesbian, and El Paso is No. 50 with 0.25 percent of couples.

Colorado Springs, home of anti-gay hate groups such as Focus on the Family, is No. 48.

In the top spot is Seattle with 2.6 percent of couples gay or lesbian. Seattle edged out San Francisco with 2.5 percent. Minneapolis is third with 2.4 percent. All three of those cities are in marriage-equality states.

Despite having a lower concentration of gay and lesbian couples, El Paso has a pansexual state representative and Fort Worth has a gay city councilman.

In the latest census, Arlington ranked 50th largest city in the U.S. and has a higher percentage of same-sex couples than Fort Worth.

To be counted as gay couples, two people of the same sex had to report that they were married or an unmarried partner.

—  David Taffet

Attendance swells at Pride across U.S., including Houston, San Antonio

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Organizers said the San Antonio Pride Parade was the biggest in its 10-year history. More than 400,000 turned out for Houston Pride.

The Pride Bigger than Texas festival in San Antonio attracted about 5,000 people. That was followed by the parade on Main Avenue with more than 15,000 lining the street.

The large crowds for Pride parades around the country celebrated the Prop 8 and Defense of Marriage Act victories in the Supreme Court last week.

In New York, home of the first Pride parade 44 years ago, 2 million people typically turn out for the event. This year, the city estimated 3 million celebrated in the wake of the victories. Edie Windsor, plaintiff in the case that struck down DOMA, was grand marshal.

“I love it obviously,” she said. “If someone had told me 50 years ago that I would be the marshal of New York City gay Pride parade in 2013 at the age of 84, I never would have believed it.”

In California, same-sex marriage resumed on Friday. Later, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the DOMA opinion, turned down a request by the plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case to delay the beginning of marriage equality while they file a petition for rehearing by the high court.

San Francisco’s Pride parade, which usually draws 1 million, attracted a few hundred thousand more participants this year.

Among those participating in the parade were House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Marriage equality passed in Delaware earlier this year and the state began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples today.

—  David Taffet

Texas native Michelle Shocked sees shows canceled after anti-gay rant

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Michelle Shocked during a 2008 performance at the House of Blues in Dallas.

Michelle Shocked has a rollercoaster musical career, but even more up and down is her view of homosexuality.

Shocked went on an anti-gay rant Sunday during a show in San Francisco, telling the audience 90 minutes into the show that “God hates fags and you can tweet that I said so.” Management reportedly responded by cutting off her microphone and ending the performance after most of her fans left.

Her outrage during the show has led to a Change.org petition for venues to cancel her scheduled appearances, and many venues have canceled her upcoming shows while others are listened as tentative.

Shocked was once labeled as lesbian and bisexual after a 1990 Outlines article where she spoke about being a gay role model and not knowing how to identify.

—  Anna Waugh

Ms. Texas Leather Synn Evans wins International Ms. Leather over the weekend

The leather title tradition continued this weekend when Synn Evans, from Dallas, brought home the International Ms. Leather title. This matches the International Mr. Leather title won by Jeffrey Payne in 2009. This was the 26th annual event for the title, which was held in San Francisco.

She was tagged in this photo soon after she won the contest. Read our profile on Evans when she won Ms. Texas Leather 2011.

 

 

—  Rich Lopez

Out & Equal to honor Parker, Welts

Mayor Annise Parker

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates will honor Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts at its Leadership Celebration on March 14 in San Francisco.

In October, Out & Equal held its week-long Workplace Summit at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. Because of rave reviews, the group plans to return in the next few years. Welts was among the speakers at the Dallas convention.

Now in its fifth year, the Leadership Celebration is a fundraising event that includes a hosted reception and dinner. Parker and Welts will be recognized as role models and inspirations in the movement to achieve equality in the workforce.

To attend the San Francisco event, register online.

The 2012 Workplace Summit will be in Baltimore on from Oct. 29-Nov 1.

—  David Taffet

San Fran DJ Sean Mac to headline January BearDance at The Loft

Prior to its headline event at TBRU in March, Big D BearDance gets the year started with its January event. Lat week, the organization announced it will bring in San Francisco DJ Sean Mac to headline the night and get all those winter bears out of hibernation and on their feet. Of course, this announcement came soon after they disclosed their headliner news for March.

The new year seems to be working out for these guys quite fine already.

—  Rich Lopez

Former Dallasite Israel Luna screens new film, ‘The Ouija Experiment,’ tonight at Magnolia

He may be living in San Francisco, but Israel Luna will always be part of Dallas to us. To Luna, too, actually it seems.

Luna — who caused a stir with his revenge fantasy Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives last year and has since made the slasher movie Fright Flick, is proving just how prolific he is, with a cast-and-crew screening of his third film in two years, The Ouija Experiment. This will be the first time most people who worked on the movie will get a chance to see it — and you can do, if you wanna buy a ticket. (It’s at Landmark’s Magnolia Theater tonight at 7:30 p.m.; tickets are available at the box office.

Now, we haven’t seen the movie yet, but even judging by the poster alone (we know, we know, books and their covers and all), it looks like a creepy little scarefest. And of course, we wish Israel the best of luck!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Judge mulls unsealing videos from Prop 8 trial

Judge James Ware

After Monday’s hearing, Vaughn Walker’s successor says he’ll issue written ruling at later date

LISA LEFF | Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — The legal sparring over California’s same-sex marriage ban returned to a federal courtroom Monday with a judge hearing arguments on whether he should unseal video recordings of last year’s landmark trial on the constitutionality of the voter-approved measure.

Lawyers representing two same-sex couples, the city of San Francisco and a coalition of media groups that includes The Associated Press asked Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware to make the recordings public.

They maintained that allowing people to see the proceedings for themselves was necessary to demonstrate why Ware’s predecessor, former Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, ultimately struck down the ban, known as Proposition 8, and to counter any perceptions that Walker was biased against same-sex marriage opponents from the start.

“Releasing the video would allow everyone to review and make their own judgment about what happened,” Theodore Boutrous, the couples’ attorney, told the judge.

Ware did not rule at the end of Monday’s hearing but said he would issue a written ruling at a later date.

Attorneys for the ban’s backers want to keep the videos under wraps. They argued that disseminating oral and visual recordings of the 13-day trial would be a direct violation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s position on the issue.

As the trial got under way in January 2010, the high court, on a 5-4 vote, blocked cameras from covering the high-profile case so they could be streamed live to other federal courthouses and possibly posted on YouTube.

Walker, asked the court staff to keep shooting the proceedings, but sealed the videos with the understanding that they were being produced for his own review in reaching a verdict.

“We were entitled to rely on those unqualified assurances, and we did,” David Thompson, a lawyer for the religious and conservative groups that sponsored Proposition 8, said about the move by Walker.

In taking the matter under advisement, Ware said he was torn between the desire to preserve public access to court proceedings and upholding the integrity of the courts.

“The judicial process is affected when a judge takes the position of, “I will seal this and use it only for a limited purpose,’ and then that is changed by a different judge and unsealed and used for a different purpose,” the judge said.

Walker’s ruling from last August overturning Proposition 8 as an unconstitutional violation of the civil rights of gay Californians is currently on appeal. The recordings are part of the case record before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Also before the federal appeals court is the proponents’ challenge to Ware’s refusal in June to vacate Walker’s decision. The ban’s sponsors have argued that Walker should have revealed he was in a long-term gay relationship before he presided over the closely watched trial.

Boutrous said at Monday’s hearing that the move to challenge Walker’s impartiality made it more important for the public to see the videos first-hand.

“They tried to undermine the integrity of the court by attacking the proceeding,” he said.

Ware did not seem convinced. He noted that during his 24 years on the bench, “I’ve had lots of parties attack me” and that it was up to the appeals court, not the public, to decide if Walker had acted appropriately.

Gay rights supporters already have used the written transcripts to recreate the full 13-day trial for online audiences. Next month, Morgan Freeman, Marisa Tomei and other big-name actors are scheduled to perform a dramatic play about the trial that screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who won an Academy Award for the film “Milk,” created from the written testimony.

To those who have not been following the Proposition 8 narrative closely, it therefore may not be immediately obvious why attorneys were spending their time and clients’ money fighting over the recordings as if they were the Nixon White House tapes.

Gay rights supporters claim the footage is their smoking gun, proof that arguments against same-sex marriage cannot hold up under rules of evidence sustained scrutiny and legal standards.

They want to use live segments, especially the cross-examinations to which the expert witnesses called by Proposition 8′s supporters were subjected, to nudge the American public further in its embrace of same-sex marriage, although it’s unclear what the vehicle for the snippets would be.

“There really is only one question–what do they have to hide?” said American Foundation for Equal Rights President Chad Griffin, whose group is funding the Proposition 8 case.

The Proposition 8 defense team, meanwhile, has argued that putting the trial recordings into the public realm could subject their witnesses to unwanted scrutiny in a way that written transcripts have not.

In persuading the Supreme Court to block the broadcasts, lawyers had argued that same-sex marriage opponents feared being harassed by gay rights supporters if their images were distributed widely.

—  John Wright

Seelig to appear on ‘The Daily Show’ tonight

Tim Seelig

Tim Seelig, former director of the Turtle Creek Chorale, said that an interview he did with The Daily Show will air tonight. Seelig is now director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, and the segment includes a performance by the group.

“It’s tonight! We just got word that the segment was filmed some weeks ago for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart will air tonight! Heaven only knows what they did with my interview and the SFGMC performance! It’s too late for good thoughts, so just enjoy!” Seelig wrote on Facebook earlier today,” Seelig wrote.

Seelig was artistic director of the Turtle Creek Chorale for 20 years and founded the group Resounding Harmony. He moved to San Francisco in December 2010.

—  David Taffet

Dallas Eagle’s Frazier says he can’t save the San Francisco Eagle if landlord doesn’t want him to

Mark Frazier

Mark Frazier, co-owner of the Dallas Eagle, reportedly has dropped his bid to purchase the San Francisco Eagle Tavern, according to the Bay Area Reporter. Matthew Bajko reports:

Mark Frazier, who owns the Dallas Eagle, had been working with Eagle manager Ron Hennis for days to try to buy the bar. But Frazier announced this week that he’s dropping out.

He expressed frustration in trying to deal with the bar’s landlord, John Nikitopoulos, who he said wants to raise the rent, among other issues. He also said Nikitopoulos hasn’t returned his calls. …

Community members have been working to keep the bar LGBT-oriented throughout the month, after it looked like it might be sold to the owner of a different bar, raising fears the business could go straight. That deal didn’t happen. There had been some hope, including on a Facebook page devoted to the bar, that Frazier entering the picture would help.

But Frazier said this week that Nikitopoulos had been “uncompromising.”

“There’s only so much that a business can do to break even,” he said. Frazier said the Eagle’s lost money in the last couple years. He said the bar could turn around, “but a business can only turn around if you have control over your expenditures.” He said that with Nikitopoulos “jumping up the rent to the point where it’s not feasible, that hinders your bottom line.”

—  John Wright