Paxton whines to SCOTUS over Texas’ unconstitutional Voter ID Law

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is at it again.

Ken-Paxton-mug

AG Ken Paxton

If filing 900-thousand lawsuits against President Obama to try and force the federal government to let him mistreat transgender people isn’t enough to keep Paxton busy, now he has filed “a petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court to reinstate Texas’ voter ID law.”

In other words, the AG is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to please let him and the other Republicans in Texas keep on preventing Texans who might not vote for them from voting at all. (You can see the petition here.)

A press release issued today (Friday, Sept. 23), quotes Paxton as saying, “Safeguarding the integrity of our elections is essential to preserving our democracy. Voter ID laws both prevent fraud and increase the public’s confidence in our elections. Texas enacted a common-sense voter ID law and I am confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately reinstate it.”

The press release also notes that the petition will have no effect on the Nov. 8 elections “for which an interim remedy has been ordered by the courts.”

The folks over at the Lone Star Project — an admittedly partisan organization that has little fondness for any Republican — don’t think too highly of Paxton’s petition. Lone Star Project Director Matt Angle criticized Paxton and Gov, Greg Abbot for having thrown “another bale of taxpayer money in the dumpster and set it on fire” with this latest effort.

Angle added, “It’s unlikely that the Supreme Court will even take up Paxton and Abbott’s appeal. Today’s announcement is nothing more than a political move designed to provide cover for Texas Republicans’ utter failure to defend their discriminatory voter ID law. The voter ID appeal is irresponsible, a waste of taxpayer money and yet another example of Paxton and Abbott putting politics ahead of common sense and fiscal responsibility.”

Rebecca L. Robertson, legal and policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas, issued a statement reiterating that the petition will have not effect on the Nov. 8 election. “But,” she added, “with Texas’ already abysmally low voter turnout, the real question is why Attorney General Paxton would waste upwards of 3.5 million taxpayer dollars (and counting) defending a law that disenfranchises more than 600,000 eligible voters. Instead of suppressing the vote, we ought to do everything in our power to ensure that every qualified voter participates.”

—  Tammye Nash

BREAKING NEWS: SCOTUS says domestic violence offenders can’t buy guns

Screen shot 2016-06-27 at 10.26.53 AM

Even though congressional Republicans’ refusal to act last week means that suspected terrorists on the U.S. no-fly list can still buy guns, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today (Monday, June 27), people convicted of domestic violence cannot legally buy guns.

The ruling came in the case Voisine v. the United States, in which two Maine men convicted on state domestic violence charges were later found with firearms and charged with violating a federal law that prohibits domestic abusers from having firearms, according to Amy Howe with SCOTUSblog. “The question was whether their convictions qualified under the statute,” Howe wrote.

Stephen Voisine and William Armstrong, the two plaintiffs in the case, had argued that their state domestic violence convictions didn’t automatically qualify as misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence because the state-law provisions “can be violated by conduct that is merely reckless, rather than intentional,” Howe explained. But the court ruled that “A reckless domestic assault qualifies as a ‘misdemeanor crime of domestic violence; … . That conclusion follows from the statutory text. Nothing in the phrase ‘use . . . of physical force’ indicates that [the statute] distinguishes between domestic assaults committed knowingly or intentionally and those committed recklessly.”

Read the complete opinion here.

—  Tammye Nash

BREAKING NEWS: SCOTUS strikes down Texas law restricting abortions

Screen shot 2016-06-27 at 10.26.53 AM

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the Texas law requiring clinics that provide abortions to have surgical facilities and doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The court issued its 5-3 ruling this morning (Monday, June 27), reversing the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding the law in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

NPR reports that conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, while Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan in the majority.

Breyer, writing for the majority, said the restrictive law would “vastly increase the obstacles confronting women seeking abortions in Texas without providing any benefit to women’s health capable of withstanding any meaningful scrutiny.” Read Breyer’s entire opinion, Ginsberg’s concurring opinion and dissenting opinions by Thomas and Alito here.

—  Tammye Nash

Hang on Kim Davis, Dwayne Stovall has a plan

Stovall.Dwayne

Dwayne Stovall

As Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis continues to fight back the hordes of homosexual infidels clamoring to defile the institution of marriage in Kentucky, Texas Republican congressional candidate Dwayne Stovall wants her to know, he’s got her back.

Davis, as you likely already know, is the four-times-married county clerk who continues to defy federal law and the federal courts — right up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court — by refusing to issue marriage licenses to anyone to avoid issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She claims she is operating — or refusing to operate — under God’s authority in refusing to carry out the duties of the office to which she was elected and for which she is paid $80,000 a year (even though she took an oath to perform those duties). See, same-sex marriage goes against her religious beliefs, so God says she doesn’t have to issue those licenses, oath be damned.

Dwayne.Kathhy.Stovall

Dwayne and Kathy Stovall

But let’s get back to Dwayne here in Texas.

Dwayne Stovall is a Republican campaigning to represent Congressional District 36 in the U.S. House of Representatives. District 36 encompasses Northeast Dallas and surrounding suburbs, among them the Preston Hollow neighborhood where former President George W. Bush lives. Right now, Rep. Pete Sessions represents District 32 in Congress.

But I guess ol’ Pete isn’t conservative enough for Dwayne — lord knows, Sen. John Cornyn wasn’t conservative enough when Dwayne ran against him last year for U.S. Senate — who has just announced his intention to, as a member of Congress, introduce legislation removing marriage from “any jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court.”

In a statement released today (Wednesday, Sept. 2), Stovall said: “The Constitution of the United States offers no authority to the federal Supreme Court to be involved in the issue of marriage. So why is the Supreme Court forcing a county clerk in Kentucky to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples against her religious convictions and against a State statute adopted by representatives elected by the citizens of Kentucky?

“Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of the people we elect to represent us in Congress aren’t aware of the authority given to the Congress to control the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, as stated in Article III of the Constitution.

“Based upon that authority, when I am elected to Congress, I intend to propose” the Removal of Marriage from Federal Control Act.

That legislation, Dwayne promised, would remand the issue of marriage to the states and the federal judiciary would no longer have any standing on the issue.

That would, he said, “rightfully return all authority to regulate marriage back to the states where it belongs, allowing the citizens of each state to manage the issue of marriage according to their morals, values, and traditions, exclusively.”

Dwayne went on to say that the form of government intended by our country’s founders has been replaced by a “national system in which the government is no longer limited by the Constitution.”

But, he declared, “It doesn’t have to be this way.” And he promised to, throughout his campaign, “give explicit and easy-to-understand examples of how I intend to use the authorities conveyed to the Congress in the Constitution to actually restore States’’ Rights and limit the federal government. Proposing legislation to take authority over issues like marriage away from a few political elites and return it to the citizens of Texas is just another of many.”

Dwayne Stovall lives in Liberty County and has been married to his wife Kathy for 24 years. They have three children. I guess that means he knows all about marriage and what it is supposed to be like. (His campaign website says they have been married 22 years, but the press release we got today says 24 years. Maybe it;s just an old website; I mean, he apparently runs for some office or another in every election.)

—  Tammye Nash

Vertigo12 salon wants you to look nice for your wedding pic. And it’s free

Nolan Matthew, supercool straight guy

Nolan Matthew is one of those guys who you think is gay because he’s the most awesomely cool guy ever, and then when you find out he’s straight, still wish he was gay, because he’s so damned handsome. Alas, we must be satisfied merely to label him an ally.

And what an ally he is. Matthew opened a cool-ass hair salon Downtown last year across from CBD Provisions, one that was a funky and fun as his staff. But a dispute with the landlord caused him to move out in search of new digs. It took a while, but he finally opened Vertigo12 Hair Lounge, a salon on the 12th floor of the building at 211 N. Ervay St. It has awesome views and a great vibe (wanna complimentary beer while you wait? Help yourself!). And it’s terrific in even another way.

Matthew has a deal going on right now, in celebration of marriage equality: If you come in with a marriage license dated from June 26, 2015 forward, you can get a free haircut. Gratis. I mean, you wanna get married to your husbear and look like a heavy metal bandmate from the 1980s and need a flattop for the ceremony? Done. It’s like his wedding gift to those who tie the knot.

And because he’s that guy, the offer doesn’t apply only to gay couples. Straight, bi, whatever — you have a license, you wanna cut, Nolan’s your man. (Or maybe you’ll get fellow stylist Krystal Summers to take her shears to your tresses.) The only catch is, you have until Aug. 31 to take advantage of the offer. So don’t dawdle! Get that license and look good as a result.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price: ‘We are proud to be a diverse community in our views and beliefs’

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price in the Tarrant County Pride Parade last year.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price in the 2012 Tarrant County Pride Parade.

In a statement provided to Dallas Voice, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, a LGBT ally, chimed in on the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality this morning:

“My focus as Mayor has always been on ensuring that our community leads the nation as a model of compassion and unity for all people. While city government officials have no authority to implement or authorize laws pertaining to marriage, the City of Fort Worth has been a trailblazer in equal employment opportunities, benefits for domestic partners, and citywide protections and equality for all,” she said. “We are proud to be a diverse community in our views and beliefs.  As Texas takes action to implement this historic Supreme Court decision, I know our citizens will respect one another, and continue moving forward as a community of one, standing together united.”

—  James Russell

Kennedy and Thomas: a study in contrasts

Official Photograph of Justice Anthony Kennedy

Justice Anthony Kennedy

In one corner of today’s historic ruling on marriage equality we have Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the opinion of the majority that legalized same-sex marriages nationwide. (You can read the majority opinions and four dissents here.)

Take a look at his moving closing paragraph:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. 

Aww. Sweet. Sincere. Moving.

Then dammit Justice Clarence Thomas, you had to write this in your decision:

The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.

I hate to know what that a boxing match between the two would look like.

—  James Russell

D DAY: Events planned for marriage equality Decision Day

Beau-and-Major

After Beau and Major applied for their marriage license in 2012, they were arrested for trespassing at the Dallas County Records Building. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

When the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality comes down, the LGBT community will have plenty of reasons to gather and, if the decision is pro-equality as expected, to celebrate. The question is: Where on earth should they go?

 

Dallas/Fort Worth
• Dallas Day of Decision events include a rally at 6 p.m. at Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road followed by a march to Legacy of Love monument at 7:30 p.m. concluding with a rally at 8 p.m. at Legacy of Love. Shuttle service provided. For more information visit Action.marriagetx.org/page/s/join-us-for-decision-day.

• Denton Day of Decision events include a celebration 6 p.m. at a Denton Courthouse Square, 110 West Hickory Street. For more information visit Action.marriagetx.org/page/s/join-us-for-decision-day.

• Fort Worth Day of Decision events include a celebration at Celebration Community Church, 908 Pennsylvania Ave. hosts a rally with drinks, hors d’oeuvres, kissing and photo booths at 6 p.m. For more information visit Action.marriagetx.org/page/s/join-us-for-decision-day.

 

Texas:
• Amarillo Day of Decision events include a gathering at 6 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 4901 Cornell Street, Amarillo. For more information visit Action.marriagetx.org/page/s/join-us-for-decision-day.

• Austin Day of Decision events include a gathering at 6 p.m. at Central Presbyterian Church, 200 East 8th St., Austin. For more information visit Action.marriagetx.org/page/s/join-us-for-decision-day.

• Harlingen Day of Decision events include a rally at 6 p.m. at Mount Calvary Christian Church, 401 N 21st St., Harlingen. For more information visit Action.marriagetx.org/page/s/join-us-for-decision-day.

• Houston Day of Decision events include a celebration beginning at 5 p.m. in Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney St., Houston. A post rally event takes place at 7:30 p.m. at Hughes Hangar, 2811 Washington Ave. Another event will be held at 6 p.m. at Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church, 2025 West 11th St. For more information visit Action.marriagetx.org/page/s/join-us-for-decision-day.

• San Antonio Day of Decision events include a celebration 6 p.m. at the Bexar County Courthouse, E. Main Plaza, followed by a gathering at Luther’s, 1422 North Main Ave. For more information visit Sanantonio.hrc.org. Another event takes places 6 p.m. at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepard, 1630 Goliad Road. For more information visit Action.marriagetx.org/page/s/join-us-for-decision-day.

• Waco Day of Decision events include a celebration 6-9 p.m. in Heritage Square, at the corner of 3rd and Austin Ave. Speakers and entertainment include Susan Duty-Dennard and Heather Grace Ranelle. Another event takes place 6 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco, 4209 North 27th Street. For more information visit Action.marriagetx.org/page/s/join-us-for-decision-day.
Marriage-Equality-logo

Elsewhere:
• Tulsa Day of Decision events include a celebration 6:30-8 p.m. at Oklahomans for Equality’s Dennis R. Neill Equality Center, 621 E 4th St, Tulsa.

• Oklahoma City Day of Decision events include a celebration 5:30-7 p.m. at Pedestrian Mall, Jackson Square, New Orleans. After party at Oz New Orleans, 800 Bourbon St., New Orleans. For more information visit Facebook.com/events/886686488059687.

• New Orleans Day of Decision events include a celebration 6 p.m. at Freedom Oklahoma’s Equality Center, 5613 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City.

• Metropolitan Community Churches holds an online event and teleconference with church leaders providing coverage of events in the local areas at 5 p.m. Call in via Adobe Connect link and log in under “Guest” at Mccchurch.adobeconnect.com/communications_bemcc.

— James Russell

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 26, 2015.

—  Dallasvoice

Read the full text of the SCOTUS marriage equality decision here

Read SCOTUS majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges below. Give it a minute to load.

—  James Russell

BREAKING: SCOTUS rules for marriage equality

DV Cover 03-15-13DThe Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality by a 5-4 vote with Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the majority.

You can read the 5-4 majority opinion here.

Check the Dallas Voice for more information as more details. come in.

—  James Russell