“Head Figure Head” more about journalism than about Gov. Rick Perry’s sex life

Head Figure Head, the new e-book from Glen Maxey, details the author’s arduous and frustrating six-month effort to investigate rumors of Gov. Rick Perry’s gay sex life. Maxey served as executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas (now Equality Texas) during Perry’s tenure as a state representative, later serving for 12 years as a state representative, spanning Perry’s time as agricultural commissioner, lieutenant governor and governor. Of all the people who’ve attempted to look into the rumors of Perry’s trysts with men, Maxey is perhaps best positioned to get to the truth, and takes great pains to ensure we are aware of that fact.

The book is the narrative of Maxey’s research, assisted by a journalist from a national media outlet. Like almost every character in the book other than Maxey and Perry himself, “the Journalist” is referred to only as a pseudonym. Maxey and the Journalist begin their search for proof in June 2011 as rumors of Perry’s impending presidential bid are widely circulating. Immediately the pair find that almost every gay man in Austin has a friend who has a friend who claims to have slept with Perry. For the next three months they track those leads and come excruciatingly close to breaking the story.

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Early voting in runoff election off to slow start

For those who missed it, there is an election happening in Houston right now. Four City Council races wound up in run-offs after the November 8 municipal elections and Houstonians have until December 10 to decide the fate of these crucial races.  So far fewer than 2,000 people have voted. Without a “big ticket” item like the mayor’s race at the top of the ballot turnout in the runoff is expected to be very low. The upshot of which is that every ballot cast carries more weight than ever.

Two of the races are at-large seats, so every citizen of Houston gets to vote on this races:

  • In At-large position 2 former State Representative Kristi Thibaut faces Andrew C. Burks Jr. Pastor of Bailey Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
  • In At-large position 5 incumbent council member Jolanda Jones faces Jack Christie, former State Board of Education member .

Two of the races are for district seats, so only people who live in those districts get to vote on these races:

  • In District A incumbent council member Brenda Stardig faces republican activist Helena Brown.
  • In District B local restauranteur and education advocate Jerry Davis faces Alvin Byrd, current staffer for council member Jarvis Johnson.

Early voting continues through December 6th, election day is November 8. Voters may cast their ballot at any early voting location. Visit harrisvotes.org to find your election day polling location (it may be different than your November polling place) and to view a sample ballot.

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Rawlings campaign staffer declares victory

It doesn’t take a CEO to decipher these numbers. Mike Rawlings chats with campaign staffer Paula Blackmon on the patio of the Meddlesome Moth a few moments ago.

Just arrived at the Meddlesome Moth in the Design District, site of Mike Rawlings’ watch party. Despite the heat, there’s quite a crowd here on the patio, where Rawlings was making the rounds as I came in. Rawlings campaign staffer Paula Blackmon told me he’ll be speaking at 9 p.m. When I noted that early voting results look pretty good for Rawlings, Blackmon replied, “It’s over.”

—  John Wright

Lesbian couple turned away by Justin chapel to marry Friday at Cathedral of Hope

The Country Abbey in Justin

Earlier we noted that no Valentine’s Day marriage equality demonstration is planned for Dallas this year, so perhaps this is the next best thing.

PR guru and former Dallas Voice staffer Kris Martin sends along word that two local women who were turned away by a private wedding chapel last year for being lesbians plan to tie the knot on Friday in a ceremony at the Cathedral of Hope.

Tina Shaft and Tiffany Fenimore have been together for 10 years and made news in June when they were turned away by the Country Abbey in Justin as well as by other locations, according to Martin. Now, the Cathedral of Hope and community businesses are donating a chapel and services to make the couple’s dream wedding come true.

Christopher Thomas will officiate the wedding on behalf of the Cathedral, and the couple and their three children will sit for “No H8″ campaign photographs following the ceremony.

The ceremony is open to the media and will be at 3 p.m. Friday at the Cathedral’s Interfaith Peace Chapel, 5910 Cedar Springs Road in Dallas.

—  John Wright

Video: Focus staffer frustrated by SOTU’s gay presence. No, not you yourself, American hero Daniel Hernandez — just the part that makes you more equal

You’d be hard-pressed to find many Americans from any political stripe who’d consider President Obama’s mention of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal to be one of their most frustrating parts of last night’s State of the Union. But then again, most Americans don’t work at Focus on the Family:

Okay, first off, Ashley: We on the pro-equality side worked even harder. For years. With actual human lives and emotions attached. We worked in every way possible to come to the bipartisan vote that ultimately went in our favor. A vote that will ultimately allow brave Americans like Daniel Hernandez to serve without added fears. A vote that the majority of the American public clearly supports. A vote that was long overdue.

So please, Ash: Spare us the “but we wanted it” rationale! We wanted it more, obviously.

Oh, and speaking of sparing us: If you’re going to cite a poll, don’t cite one that was conducted by a Republican polling firm and commissioned by the Center For Military Readiness (Elaine Donnelly’s organization) and the Family Research Council! Especially not where there is so much actual data available.

You may not realize it, Ashley, but when you get to this part about the supposed “57% of military personnel and families,” your whole characterization changes. You stutter. You look like you are trying to convince rather than inform. There’s a noticeable difference that immediately made us go, “wait a minute, she’s using that B.S. poll, isn’t she?!

We don’t expect such poll utilization to change during your Focus on the Family employ, Ashley, as “pro-family” advocacy is built on squeezing “data” into a preconceived script. But just as constructive feedback, we thought you’d want to know that on this one: The disingenuous mask cracked. Hopefully when we inevitably when the rest of our equality, you’ll bring the full Streep.




Good As You

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FRC staffer likens U.S. to Sodom and Gomorrah; we wonder if Biblical city had universal healthcare

And now more Christmas cheer from Bob Maginnis, the Family Research Council‘s Senior Fellow for National Security:

“I’ve heard from commanders who are saying, ‘Well, we may not be able to tolerate that sort of [assertion] about homosexuality.’ What about the service member who is not a chaplain, but a Christian service member who has an understandable religious-based belief that what these people do is an abomination and that they should not embrace that lifestyle — especially if they’re told to live with someone like that?” the Pentagon advisor wonders. “Will they be listened to?”

But he laments that the military has refused to recommend segregating the homosexuals from heterosexual service members out of concern of antagonizing the homosexuals. So he decides America is now no better than Sodom and Gomorrah, the biblical cities mentioned in Genesis that are synonymous with impenitent sin that brought God’s wrath upon them.

Maginnis: U.S. no better than Sodom and Gomorrah [One News Now]

Honestly, it’s not even these folks repeated hostility towards gay people that’s so shocking. We, the proud crowd that gets marked for exportation and/or criminalization, 201012230842are more than used to that sort of thing. Why should the holidays put an end to it?

What is new and different in the DADT conversation is the way groups like FRC keep indicting heterosexual soldiers, making it sound as if our military is crawling with straight men and women whose violent tendencies towards other sexual orientations are hinging on a thin closet door. We of course all deserve better than what FRC offers up as discourse. But on this: It’s really the millions of perfectly adjusted men and women who serve our country with a brave heart and a peaceful mind who should resent the way the “values” crowd keeps presenting our armed forces as the world’s largest “Smear The Queer” team.

***

*NOTE: The audio version of this OneNewsNow report takes the segregation suggestion one step further, with the above line instead reading: “the military has refused to recommend segregating the homosexuals from [normal] service members.” Listen to that cheerful carol here.




Good As You

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Human Rights Campaign Field Staffer named “Organizer of the Year”

Nancy Pelosi Congratulates HRC Organizer Karl Bach for his work in Nebraska moments before sending DADT repeal bill to the president

HRC Regional Field Organizer Karl Bach was voted Organizer of the Year this week by Grassroots Solutions, a national grassroots training organization.

Karl was recognized by this prestigious group for his organizing leadership in many states, including Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Delaware and Texas.  But it was Karl’s field work in Nebraska that made history.  Karl built and led a team of Nebraska organizers that created a grassroots campaign in support of repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell directed at Senator Ben Nelson.

Many in Nebraska noted that Nebraska had never seen such a large, strategic, and effective grassroots program until HRC hit the ground.

Karl’s  leadership team included Nebraskans Nic Swiercek and Cassie Fleming.  Together they identified and mobilized hundreds of Nebraskan veterans (gay and straight), and thousands of Nebraskans across the state.

When Senator Ben Nelson issued a statement the day before the May vote in the Senate Armed Services Committee, Karl and his team were deservedly proud of their accomplishment.  In fact, Senator Nelson’s staff commented that it was HRC’s field effort that helped make it possible for the Senator to vote yes.

Karl was in Delaware this election season, engaging HRC members in the high-profile Senate race there. He was also in New Hampshire, working with New Hampshire Freedom to Marry, to help win marriage equality in the state.

Karl has worked in New Jersey alongside Garden State Equality as they sought to win marriage equality; he worked in Florida helping to protect equal rights at the ballot box in Gainesville; he was in Texas in 2008, working on state legislative elections.

Karl is not only a great organizer, but he’s also a wonderful colleague. The HRC field team and the entire HRC family are so proud of this well-deserved recognition of Karl Bach.  Karl Bach, you rock.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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DADT rally planned Thursday on Cedar Springs

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and other groups are planning a rally — either a protest or a celebration — on Cedar Springs on Thursday night following a possible Senate vote on the Defense spending bill that includes a repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.” From the e-mail we just received:

The Senate will be voting on DADT 12/09/10. We are going to join other LGBT community organizations tomorrow for either a celebration or a protest according to how the vote goes tomorrow.

Here is what we need the membership to do:

1. Call Senator Hutchison (202) 224-5922 or (214) 361- 3500 and/or FAX (202) 224-0776

2. Call Senator Cornyn (202) 224-2934 or (972) 239-1310 and/or FAX (202) 228-2856

Just tell them your name and that you are a voting constituent. Then tell the staffer you URGE the Senator to vote to REPEAL DADT. While you’re at it you can also urge them to vote in favor of the DREAM ACT! Both legislations effect our LGBT brothers & sisters.

3. Show up at the rally at 7 p.m. on 12/09/10. We will meet at the Oak Lawn Library and then march down Cedar Springs to the Monument of Love and have our celebration or protest rally! Bring your PRIDE Flags, banners, signs, or just yourself! History will be made tomorrow. Be a part of it! Please forward this rally email to everyone you know. Please post in your Facebook and/or Twitter statuses! Thank you to Equality March Texas (EMT), LULAC 4871, HRC, and Out & Equal groups that are already on board for the rally!

—  John Wright

GetEqual at Reid’s office. Staffer on commitment to lame duck repeal – ‘I don’t know’

UPDATE: GetEqual is at Sen. Harry Reid’s office. A Tweet from Scott Wooledge:

@ltdanchoi asks Deputy Chief of Staff if @HarryReid will commit to repealing #DADT in lame duck: “I don’t know.”

If Dan is permitted to speak with the Senator, keep in mind what happened at Netroots Nation this year. I was at Dan’s table when he strode onto the stage and gave him his West Point ring and a letter:

This summer, Lt. Dan Choi made headlines at Netroots Nation in Las Vegas when he approached Senator Harry Reid on-stage at a main conference event and gave his West Point cadet ring to Senator Harry Reid. At that time, Senator Reid – in front of this large crowd of progressive/liberal bloggers and activists, Senator Reid promised Dan that he would return the ring by the end of this year when the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is repealed.

Dan’s question to Senator Reid – “can I expect my ring back this year or not?”

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Catholic University Dumps Gay Staffer Over Wedding Announcement

Laine Tadlock, the education program director at Benedictine University in Springfield, lost her job because she mentioned it in an announcement of her marriage to her partner Kae Helstrom in The State Journal-Register, that newspaper reports:

Tadlock Tadlock left the program Oct. 28. The university says Tadlock resigned. Tadlock says she didn’t.

The wedding announcement, which included Tadlock’s position at Benedictine, a Catholic-sponsored university, appeared in the newspaper July 11.

In a Sept. 30 letter to Tadlock’s attorney, Benedictine President William Carroll wrote, “… By publicizing the marriage ceremony in which she participated in Iowa she has significantly disregarded and flouted core religious beliefs which, as a Catholic institution, it is our mission to uphold.”

*****

According to documents Tadlock furnished to the newspaper, the university offered her an early retirement deal Aug. 27 under which she would have been paid one year’s salary, two-thirds of her salary the second year and one-third the third year. The offer also included a confidentiality clause prohibiting Tadlock from talking publicly about what had happened, as well as a waiver prohibiting her from filing suit against Benedictine.

Tadlock and her attorney, Richard Frazier of Springfield, made a counter-offer. They were told there would be no negotiations, Tadlock said. She refused the university’s early retirement offer.

In a Sept. 7 e-mail and letter to Frazier, Wolf wrote that if Tadlock would not accept early retirement, then “most likely (the university) will decide to terminate your employment due to incompatibility with the University’s essential mission.” The e-mail was also sent to Carroll and Bromberg.

The University knew about the marriage, but forced Tadlock out over the mention of Benedictine in the announcement.


Towleroad News #gay

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