Star-Telegram runs first same-sex wedding announcement

Star Telegram wedding ad

Photo from first Star-Telegram same-sex wedding announcement

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram ran its first same-sex wedding announcement on March 15.

Joshua Adam Rogers and David Apolonio Hernandez were married in New York on July 14, 2014 after having a ceremony in Fort Worth on July 12. The announcement didn’t run until the newspaper changed its policy this month.

According to the announcement, the Fort Worth ceremony was “on the 10-year anniversary of their personal commitment to one another.”

The paper listed a best man and best woman and the picture shows the couple holding hands.

We found it interesting that the Star-Telegram said the couple married in Fort Worth on July 12 and were legally married on July 14 in New York. With marriage equality spreading across the country and Texas still on hold, most Texas couples call their Texas ceremony their religious ceremony or their ceremony at home in front of friends and family. Most announcements we’ve seen recently call the out-of-state legal ceremony the marriage.

That’s nothing more than something we found interesting, certainly not a criticism.

As of this writing, there were seven comments in the online version — all of them words of congratulations.

Let us add our congratulations to the couple on their now 10-years-plus together and on their wedding and its announcement. And congratulations to the Star-Telegram that decided equality is good business. Engagement and wedding announcements come under paid advertising.

—  David Taffet

Star-Telegram to begin publishing same-sex marriage, other announcements

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 7.43.16 PM

David Mack Henderson

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 7.42.43 PMEffective Sunday, March 8, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram will be accepting same-sex marriage, engagement, anniversary and civil union announcements, Fairness Fort Worth President David Mack Henderson announced today (Saturday, March 7).

The first print issue of the Star-Telegram to include such announcements will be Sunday, March 15. The deadline to get such announcements in that issue is Monday, March 9. The announcements are considered paid advertising.

Henderson said the Star-Telegram has few restrictions on timelines for such announcements, and that the newspaper currently has “engagement announcements posted for more than a year out, or no timeline at all, and also a marriage announcement published seven months after the fact. We suggest that you include you were ‘legally married’ or that your engagement is to ‘wed legally’ in your narrative to expedite inclusion,” he said.

Henderson sad that Fairness Fort Worth representatives have held discussions over the last several weeks senior management at the Star-Telegram, “encouraging the paper to present a more realistic picture of our community throughout their coverage area.” He said those discussion have led to “increased coverage of timely legislative and court actions, the announcement by our Tarrant County Clerk’s office regarding issuing marriage licenses when courts clear the way and a superb article featuring two local same-sex families with children who represent the essence of what it means to be part of the integral fabric of our community.”

Henderson said that Star-Telegram Publisher Gary Wortel confirmed for him that the paper will carry announcements from LGBT couples. Henderson also noted that the newspaper’s criteria for marriage announcement specifically are based on the couple being legally married in a jurisdiction that legally recognizes same-sex marriage. Those who hold commitment ceremonies or holy unions that are not legally recognized can place their announcement in the Star-Telegram’s “celebrations” section.

Henderson also said that couples wanting to place an announcement in the Star-Telegram need to remember such announcements have to be paid for. Costs for marriage announcements are at three levels, starting at $75 and going up to $504.

The announces are “now available to all citizens, as they should be under the city of Fort Worth’s non-discrimination ordinance regarding public accommodations,” Henderson said. “Mr. Wortel shared that in the case of a large number of ads [being placed] immediately due to pent-up demand, they can always print more pages. The online announcements remain for months, while each ad is run on one specific Sunday in print.

“FFW will continue working with Star-Telegram management to iron out any issues that arise,” Henderson said. “For instance, if the web site still says bride/groom, overlook that for now, and still register.

“We encourage our community to actively promote their authentic, loving relationships, giving testimony to our lives truly lived and fostering an embracing environment for our youth in search of proactive role models and seeking their rightful place as they grow and develop into healthy adulthood,” Henderson said. “The time for our families is now.”

Here is the announcement that ran in the Sunday, March 8 issue of Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Section D, Page 5, announcing the policy change:

“To Our Readers: The Star-Telegram accepts announcements for Weddings, Engagements, Anniversaries, and Civil Unions regardless of gender. To qualify for publication in our Sunday Life section, under the Wedding heading, same-sex wedding ceremonies must be performed in states where same-sex marriages are legally recognized. Ceremonies taking place in states where same-sex marriages are not legally recognized will be listed under Celebrations. The Star-Telegram reserves the right to reject, edit or revise any copy and photos for any reason deemed material by the publisher. In the event the advertiser has prepaid for advertising which is later rejected or canceled by the Star-Telegram, the sole liability for such action by the Star-Telegram shall be a refund of the unused portion of the prepayment for such canceled advertising. The advertiser will be contacted by the Star-Telegram Announcement Coordinator after the announcement has been edited. The announcement will not be published until final approval has been given by the advertiser. Please do not use any abbreviations in your announcement information. To place an announcement go to: www. or call 817-390-7178. Deadline: Monday noon prior to the Sunday publication.”

—  Tammye Nash

What’s Brewing: TX Senate OKs anti-bullying bill; FW candidate calls LGBT protections ‘damnable’

District 7 Fort Worth council candidate Jack Ernest called the city’s LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance “damnable” and “wrong” during a forum Tuesday.

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A bill that would require school districts in Texas to enact anti-bullying policies cleared the Texas Senate in a 30-1 vote on Tuesday. Unbelievably, school districts in Texas aren’t currently required to have anti-bullying policies. The bill by Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, contains no specific references to LGBT youth — who do they think is getting bullied? — but it is backed by Equality Texas and it does now proceed to the House.

2. Also this week, the Texas Senate is working on the budget bill, HB 1, which currently contains an amendment from Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, that would require colleges and universities with LGBT resource centers to spend an equal amount on centers for “traditional and family values.” According to The American Independent, the amendment would have little practical impact because LGBT resource centers are funded mostly with student activity fees, and not with state dollars. Even so, we’d certainly rather not see the amendment included in the Senate version of the budget. To contact your senator and urge them to strip the Christian amendment from the Senate budget, go here.

3.  Fort Worth’s nondiscrimination ordinance, which has long included sexual orientation but was amended to include gender identity/expression in the wake of the Rainbow Lounge raid, has become an issue in city elections this year. At a forum on Tuesday night, District 7 council candidate Jack Ernest came out strongly against the LGBT protections in the ordinance, calling them “damnable” and “wrong.” Mayoral candidate Betsy Price also indicated that she is opposed to the ordinance, saying “I don’t like the idea that the city is in this business at all.” Listen to audio of the candidates’ remarks, via the Star-Telegram’s Bud Kennedy on Twitter, by going here and here. (Ernest is the third speaker in the first audio clip, and Price is the first speaker in the second one.)

—  John Wright

Quote of the Day: Pat Carlson

Pat Carlson

“There is a continual effort by the homosexual community to push their agenda on the rest of us. The bottom line is they are trying to destroy traditional marriage as we know it in the country and make their lifestyle the norm. They make it seem that anybody who has a problem with it is homophobic.”

Pat Carlson, president of the Texas Eagle Forum, in a Star-Telegram article about marriage equality demonstrations on Valentine’s Day in Texas

—  John Wright

BREAKING: Moncrief won’t seek re-election

Mike Moncrief

Mike Moncrief announced today that he won’t seek re-election to a fifth term as mayor of Fort Worth, according to the Star-Telegram.

Possible candidates to replace Moncrief include former councilmembers Cathy Hirt and Jim Lane, as well as Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Betsy Price, according to the Star-Telegram.

Moncrief, of course, has led Fort Worth through the aftermath of the 2009 Rainbow Lounge raid.

The filing period for Fort Worth elections begins Monday.

—  John Wright

Fort Worth Police Department bans ‘bias-based policing’ against LGBT people, other groups

Chief Jeffrey Halstead

The Fort Worth Police Department has a new policy prohibiting “bias-based policing” — including bias against LGBT people — and officers who violate the policy are likely to be fired, according to FWPD officials who spoke to the Star-Telegram.

A police spokesman said the policy is not a response to any specific incident, but acknowledged that the department’s raid of the Rainbow Lounge gay bar in June 2009 was “on our mind.”

FWPD suspended three officers for a total of five days for their actions related to the raid, but determined that they didn’t use excessive force.

Jon Nelson, a founder of Fairness Fort Worth who once called the suspensions “absolutely inadequate,” praised Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead for the new policy.

“This policy would not exist but for the chief of police,” Nelson told the Star-Telegram. “He sets the tone and he made this decision and I think that this Police Department is significantly different because of his leadership.”

Halstead signed a special order enacting the new policy on Friday. It will be distributed to employees next week and takes effect immediately.

The policy specifically prohibits bias based on “race, color, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, economic status, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, membership in a cultural group or other individual characteristics or distinctions.”

—  John Wright

Facebook backs Texas anti-bullying bill

The Star-Telegram reports that Facebook has endorsed an anti-bullying measure filed by State Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin. The bill would require school districts to provide training for employees and educate students and parents about bullying and cyberbullying. It would also require school officials to immediately notify parents about incidents of bullying, and grant districts the authority to transfer bullies and victims:

“Facebook supports the bill and we are encouraged to see the Texas legislature take steps to keep our schools places where students can feel safe,” Corey Owens, a lobbyist for Facebook, wrote in a letter to Strama. “As a company with a significant presence in Texas – including employees who send their children to Texas public schools – we are committed to building an online platform that is safe for users of all ages.”

Strama’s bill, HB 224, would require school districts in Texas to track the number of incidents of bullying based on a number of factors, including sexual orientation. However, Strama’s bill doesn’t include gender identity/expression, meaning it’s unlikely to receive the backing of Equality Texas, at least in its current form.

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, has filed a bill that’s nearly identical to Strama’s in the Senate. But unlike Strama’s, Davis’ SB 245 does include gender identity/expression in the tracking requirement. Davis’ bill was inspired by and has the backing of Joel Burns, who replaced Davis on the Fort Worth City Council and has since become famous for his “It Gets Better” speech:

“I have focused the message on the responsibility of adults to end bullying by creating a culture of respect,” Burns said. “The reporting tools in Sen. Davis’ bill will give us the data we need to prioritize resources and understand how we can do better educating and supporting children to learn and be a success.”

The Star-Telegram explains the difference between the two bills as follows:

Strama’s and Davis’ bills differ in one area drawing the attention of some gay rights activists. Both bills require districts to annually report how many bullying incidents they faced, including how many incidents were based on race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. Davis said she included “gender identity and expression” to her list of categories to make sure districts looked at bullying situations that arose due to “a perception of someone’s sexuality rather than the reality.” Strama said that phrase might be added to his bill as well.

Davis is correct in the sense that “gender identity/expression” includes some students who are perceived to be gay or lesbian. But these students are already covered because the bill clearly states, “actual or perceived sexual orientation.” The real difference between the bills — and the Star-Telegram should know this — is that Davis’ bill includes transgender students, whereas Strama’s bill does not.

—  John Wright

Rep. Marc Veasey again files bill seeking study of hate crimes act but says it’s ‘not going anywhere’

For the third consecutive legislative session, State Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, filed legislation last week calling for a study on the implementation of Texas’ hate crimes statute.

Veasey wants to know why, despite thousands of hate crimes reported to law enforcement since the statute was passed in 2001, only about a dozen cases have been prosecuted in court as hate crimes. If you’ll remember, the statute covers “sexual preference” but not gender identity.

In an interview the other day with KXAN (video above), Veasey cited homophobia as one of the reasons why the statute isn’t being used:

While Veasey understands that it’s hard to prosecute hate crimes he believes there’s another, underlying reason why prosecutors are rarely using the law.

“You have some people on the right that have said that it is a bill that protects gays and so they are against it for that reason,” Veasey said.

And Veasey told The Star-Telegram that the outcome of this year’s elections means the bill is likely doomed again in next year’s session, which begins in January.

“I’m going to try it, but quite frankly it’s not going anywhere,” Veasey said. “A lot of these folks that got elected were elected on opposition to the president and probably feel that being for anything pro-civil rights would hurt them in their political careers.”

Wait a second, is Veasey suggesting they’re going to completely ignore this memo?

—  John Wright

Does anti-gay protest at Tarleton State merit a response from the LGBT community?

Stephenville is about 106 miles from Dallas.
Stephenville is approximately 106 miles southwest of Dallas.

The Star-Telegram of Fort Worth is reporting that Tarleton State University police will need 50 extra local and state officers on Saturday, when student-director John Jordan Otte presents an excerpt from the gay-themed play “Corpus Christi” as a drama class project. As DV staffer David Taffet, who broke this story last week, has noted, the right-wingers in Stephenville are raising hell about the play, which depicts a gay Jesus.  They say the content is particularly offensive the week before Easter. And according to The S-T, they’re now planning to protest and “witness” in the parking lot outside the theater. So I’m just wondering out loud here, are any LGBT groups planning to make the 100-mile trek from Dallas? It’s a long drive, but doesn’t this situation warrant a show of support from the community in the nearest metropolitan area? Or in the interest of logistics and strategy, should we just ignore these nutjobs? Please feel free to discuss in the comments.siteвиды брендов

—  John Wright

Democratic AG candidate says constitutional amendment eliminates all marriages in Texas

Barbara Ann Radnofsky
Barbara Ann Radnofsky

You gotta love Barbara Ann Radnofsky. Why? Well, first of all, she’s basically accusing Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott of being a complete idiot.

Radnofsky, who’s running for AG as a Democrat in 2010, claims Texas’ constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, approved by voters in 2005, actually invalidates all marriages in the state because of the way one of its clauses is worded, The Star-Telegram reports today. And Radnofsky blames Abbott, a Republican who’s been a strong supporter of the amendment, for not catching the error. The clause was designed to prevent same-sex domestic partnerships and civil unions, but Radnofsky says it actually opens the door to all sorts of marriage-related legal action. Here’s the clause she’s referring to, with key words bolded:

This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”

Radnofsky, who worked for a powerful Houston law firm for decades before retiring a few years ago, calls the clause a “massive mistake” that “eliminates marriage in Texas.” She blames Abbott and says he should acknowledge the error and apologize. She also says another constitutional amendment might be required to fix it. She says she voted against the amendment anyway and didn’t realize the mistake until she started closely studying the Texas Constitution in preparation for her campaign.

“You do not have to have a fancy law degree to read this and understand what it plainly says,” Radnofsky tells The S-T. “Whoever vetted the language in [clause] B must have been asleep at the wheel.”

Radnofsky is scheduled to appear at 6:30 tonight at the Tarrant County Young Democrats Gubernatorial Forum at TCU. But I don’t even need to go. She’s already got my vote.oksnatcherпоисковое продвижение заказать

—  John Wright