Lesbian TX House candidate Ann Johnson to visit Dallas on Tuesday

Houston attorney and Democratic House candidate Ann Johnson will hold a fundraiser in Dallas on Tuesday while she’s in town for the North Texas Children’s Law Symposium.

Johnson, who focuses on child advocacy cases in her private practice, is among the presenters at the symposium and will lead a discussion on the decriminalization of child-trafficking victims, talking about the minor she represented in the 2010 case, In re. B.W., heard before the Texas Supreme Court.

Johnson is the Democratic candidate in Houston’s House District 134. She will face one-term incumbent Republican Sarah Davis in November.

New Leaders Texas is hosting a fundraiser for Johnson on Tuesday evening. The organization endorsed and funded Mary Gonzalez, but is now shifting its attention to Johnson after Gonzalez won her primary. Gonzalez is unopposed in November.

If Johnson wins, she and Gonzalez will be the first two LGBT women elected to the Texas House — and the only LGBT members of the Legislature.

“New Leaders Texas is dedicated to changing the face of Texas leadership,” said Brian Stansbury, the president of the board of New Leaders Texas. “Electing Ann Johnson will be an important step in achieving that goal. Ann will fight to make Texas a better place for all Texans, and we believe it is important to give Texans from across the state an opportunity to step up and support Ann in this election.”

The fundraiser is Tuesday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Stoneleigh P restaurant, 2926 Maple Ave.

People who attend the event will be asked to donate $100 and hosts are expected to donate $250. A suggested minimum donation is $50. Equality Texas Executive Director Dennis Coleman is among those listed on the host committee.

While Equality Texas has not endorsed in the race yet, as both Johnson and Davis have expressed interest in working with the organization, Coleman said his support is personal, having met Johnson before.

For more information, email info@newleaderstexas.org or call 512-591-8683.

—  Anna Waugh

CORRECTION: Stonewall Democrats of Dallas endorsed Domingo Garcia in runoff for CD 33

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas endorsed former state Rep. Domingo Garcia in the Democratic Primary for Congressional District 33 and in the July 31 runoff against state Rep. Marc Veasey. A story in Friday’s print edition said otherwise, and we regret the error.

Early voting begins Monday, July 23, and runs until Friday, July 27, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. For a list of early voting locations and times, go to DalCoElections.org or TarrantCounty.com/evote.

Read our full story about the runoff in CD 33 here.

—  Anna Waugh

Garcia to Stonewall Dems: ‘Help me make history’

Dallas attorney Domingo Garcia spoke to an energized crowd at the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas meeting Tuesday night about the importance of voting early to help him make history.

SDD endorsed Garcia in the race for the new Congressional District 33. He faces state Rep. Marc Veasey in the July 31 runoff. Veasey spoke last week at the Tarrant County Stonewall meeting. Garcia, who has picked up some Tarrant County support, did not attend that meeting but didn’t have to remind the Dallas Stonewall group about his LGBT support.

While serving on the Dallas City Council from 1991-95, Garcia was a strong proponent of the Dallas police lifting a ban on hiring gays and lesbians and supported adding sexual orientation to the city’s policy protecting employees against discrimination. When he went on to serve in the Texas House in 1996 until 2002, he voted for an LGBT-inclusive hate crimes bill in 2001.

Garcia thanked the group Tuesday night amid loud applause and cheers and said the group’s endorsement helped him survive the 11-candidate primary. Calling it a “turnout election,” Garcia said it was vital for voters to vote in the runoff July 31 and early-vote beginning Monday.

“This is crucial,” he said. “If Dallas can turn out more voters, then we really have a shot at winning District 33.”

Garcia is vying to become the first Hispanic elected to Congress in North Texas, something he mentioned Tuesday as he reminded the audience to help him make history.

“I want you to help me make history as we elect the first Democrat Congressman in District 33,” he said. “That victory won’t happen unless we get out our vote.”

Read more about the runoff for District 33 in Friday’s edition of Dallas Voice.

—  Anna Waugh

Texas Stonewall Democrats to honor state party Chair Boyd Richie prior to convention in Houston

Boyd Richie

The above photo apparently was taken Tuesday night during Stonewall Democrats of Dallas’ monthly meeting at Ojeda’s on Maple Avenue. It was sent to Instant Tea on Wednesday by Daniel Graney, the president of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus who, according to Facebook, is celebrating his birthday today. (Happy birthday, Dan.)

As we mentioned Tuesday, TSDC has named the Dallas chapter the recipient of the statewide group’s Roberto J. Flores Club Achievement Award, which is named for Graney’s late partner.

On Wednesday, Graney announced this year’s other award winners. They are JC Dufresne, a straight ally from San Antonio, who’ll take home the Buck Massey Legacy of Leadership Award, named for the late Buck Massey of Dallas; and Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie, who’ll receive the Lone Star Equality Advocate Award.

All three awards will be presented in Houston prior to the state party convention, at a reception hosted by TSDC at the Hilton Americas Hotel from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 7.

Graney’s full press release is below.

—  John Wright

With early voting in full swing, Stonewall Dems and Log Cabin go head to head in Dallas tonight

Expect bigger-than-usual turnouts at monthly meetings of the Dallas chapters of Stonewall Democrats and Log Cabin Republicans — now both held on the third Tuesday of the month. With early voting in full swing, candidates should be making last-ditch appeals to win over LGBT voters.

DV contributor Phyllis Guest, who serves as secretary for Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, reports that the group will also be celebrating an award prior to Tuesday’s meeting. The Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus, the statewide organization, has announced that the Dallas chapter will receive the Roberto J. Flores Club Achievement Award. From a press release:

Created to recognize Stonewall Democrats clubs for growth in membership and political activism, the award recalls Flores, first Chair of the Club Development Committee of the TSDC.

SDD is the largest of the state’s Stonewall Democrats clubs with more than 400 members and has served as a model for other clubs across Texas. Its outreach and energy have spurred the development of Stonewall clubs throughout Texas and have enabled the TSDC to gain recognition as the official LGBT Caucus of the Texas Democratic Party.

Dan Graney, president of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus, will present the award to Dallas President Omar Narvaez at a reception prior to the state party convention in Houston in June.

Stonewall meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Ojeda’s Restaurant, 4617 Maple Ave.

Meanwhile, Log Cabin’s monthly meeting will consist of a meet and greet for Dallas County Republican candidates, according to an email from the group.

“It’s a great, last minute opportunity to decide who it is you want to vote for — not by reading a pamphlet, but by reading a person. Already voted? Great! Join us for a drink anyway!” the group writes in an email.

The Log Cabin meeting runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Texas Land & Cattle, 3130 Lemmon Ave.

UPDATE: Speakers at the Stonewall meeting will include openly gay former State Rep. Glen Maxey, who’s running for Democratic National Committee, and Taylor Holden from the Obama campaign.

—  John Wright

Stonewall Dems to endorse Domingo Garcia for Congress, Teresa Daniel for Commissioners Court

Group declines to recommend Commissioner John Wiley Price for re-election

UPDATE: Stonewall voted Tuesday night to endorse John Wiley Price and three other candidates who weren’t recommended by the committee.

DAVID TAFFET and ANNA WAUGH  |  Staff Writers

A Stonewall Democrats of Dallas committee recommended endorsing Domingo Garcia in Congressional District 33 and Teresa Daniel in Dallas County Commissioners Court District 1 this weekend — but withheld recommendations in two other key races.

The committee’s recommendations will be up for ratification by the group’s general membership at Stonewall’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday night. The committee interviewed 57 candidates over the weekend from Friday night to Sunday morning. Several races didn’t result in a recommended endorsement because no one candidate received more than 50 percent of the committee’s vote. The general membership could still vote to endorse candidates in those races at the meeting tonight.

Eight of the 11 candidates for the new Congressional District 33 were interviewed, including former Dallas Councilman Steve Salazar and activist Carlos Quintanilla. Fort Worth Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks and state Rep. Marc Veasey were also present. But the vote went to Garcia, based on his record as a state representative and his efforts as a Dallas councilman in the early ’90s to overturn the Dallas Police Department’s ban on hiring gay officers.

Hicks expressed her support for the LGBT community, sighting her outspokenness after the raid on the Rainbow Lounge, which is situated in her district. She said her determination to improve the city and support for a fully LGBT-inclusive, citywide non-discrimination ordinance in 2010 brought criticism and led to her losing the seat of mayor pro tem. Hicks said there have been whisper campaigns about her being 40 and unmarried. She said she is a known Democrat who continues to push for Democratic candidates and platforms in a conservative Tarrant County.

Quintanilla spoke about his work with fighting discriminatory laws in Dallas among the Hispanic community. Sighting his past with fraud indictments back in Chicago for hot checks, he said he paid his debt to society and has risen to the activist and leader he is today. When asked how he would invigorate the Hispanic community based on low attendance at public forums he held before, he said he would continue to go door-to-door and reach out to Hispanic voters through social networking to engage them on issues important to them.

In the County Commissioner District 1 race, Stonewall endorsed Daniel, although each of the other two candidates had supporters among the membership. That district was redrawn to become majority Democratic although Republicans are expected to work hard to retain the seat being vacated by Maureen Dickey.

In the District 3 Commissioners Court race, Stonewall did not endorse. Micah Phillips, who is challenging 27-year incumbent John Wiley Price, was also seeking Stonewall’s endorsement. To make an endorsement, a candidate must receive more than half the votes of those members who heard the presentation of each of the candidates attending in that race.

In their statements, both candidates expressed support for the LGBT community.

Phillips, whose brother is gay, said, “No one should be treated differently.”

Price highlighted his experience on the Commissioners Court including chairing eight of 15 standing committees. But he got the biggest applause when he answered a question from Narvaez.

“Just give me a one-word answer,” Narvaez said. “Are you going to miss Maureen Dickey?”

“Can I use an adjective?” he said. “Not no, but hell no.”

But neither Phillips nor Price received enough votes to gain an endorsement. Voting was split and some members abstained. Abstentions kept either candidate from receiving more than 50 percent of the vote. One member said after the vote that he didn’t want to oppose Price because of his support for the LGBT community over the years, but didn’t want to endorse during the current FBI investigation into the longtime commissioner.

Openly gay District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, a founder of Stonewall Democrats, is a Price supporter and was furious about the non-endorsement.

“There would be no AIDS services at Parkland without him,” Fitzsimmons said. “None.”

He repeated a statement Price made to the group, that for years he was the only voice the LGBT community had on the court and that he had always voted with the community. He said that if Stonewall made endorsements based on an LGBT voting record, Price deserved the group’s support.

The committee also didn’t make a recommendation in the Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate, in which former State Rep. Paul Sadler and Dallasite Sean Hubbard are seeking the group’s backing; or in House District 100, the seat covering most of Oak Lawn that’s held by Rep. Eric Johnson.

In Congressional District 30, the Stonewall committee recommended endorsing incumbent Eddie Bernice Johnson over challengers Taj Clayton and Barbara Mallory-Caraway.

Other notable endorsement recommendations included out lesbian Sheriff Lupe Valdez over challenger Charlie Thomas; and Maricela Moore for judge in the 162nd District Court, in a race featuring six Democratic candidates who are vying to replace the retiring Larraine Raggio.

Read the Stonewall committee’s full list of endorsement recommendations after the jump. Today’s meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at Ojeda’s Restaurant, 4617 Maple Ave.

—  Anna Waugh

Congressional District 33 candidates back ENDA, DOMA repeal at Stonewall Democrats forum

Six of the 11 Democratic candidates for the U.S. Congressional District 33 seat are shown at the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas forum Tuesday, March 27. From left, state Rep. Marc Veasey, former Dallas Councilman Steve Salazar, Dallas activist Jason Roberts, former state Rep. Domingo Garcia, Dallas attorney Chrysta Castaneda and Hispanic activist Carlos Quintanilla. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Six of the 11 Democratic candidates for the new U.S. Congressional District 33 voiced support for the LGBT community at a forum Tuesday night sponsored by Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

The forum attracted an attendance of about 100, with dozens of people coming and going throughout and standing in the back of the Vixin Lounge at Sue Ellen’s to hear the candidates.

The district begins in southeast Fort Worth area that includes the Rainbow Lounge and cuts through Arlington and Irving before ending in North Oak Cliff.

State Rep. Marc Veasey, former state Rep. Domingo Garciaand former Dallas Councilman Steve Salazar were the three frontrunners in attendance at the forum.

Three lesser-known candidates in the race also participated: local business owner and activist Jason Roberts, Dallas attorney Chrysta Castaneda and Hispanic activist Carlos Quintanilla.

All six candidates said they support repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, in addition to passing an LGBT-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act and Student Non-Discrimination Act.

—  Anna Waugh

Tonya Parker’s controversial marriage policy continues to attract media attention, analysis

Judge Tonya Parker

Despite lesbian Dallas County Judge Tonya Parker’s hope that her refusal to marry straight couples until marriage equality is gained in Texas will fade from the public’s attention, her name and stance still frequent headlines.

More than a month has passed since her comments at a Stonewall Democrats of Dallas meeting were first reported on Instant Tea. Our video of Parker’s comments has been viewed more than 29,000 times. A longer story followed, as did hundreds of interview requests from national media.

Parker told us the media attention was “an incredible distraction” before declining a longer, in–depth interview.

The Dallas Morning News ran articles and opinion pieces on Parker’s comments, the most recent coming just last Monday in the form of a front-page article. In the article, Parker clarified that she only wants to serve and doesn’t want to make political statements. As with us, she declined The DMN’s request for a longer interview. The article, like all of ours, found only positive support from various friends and people who’ve interacted with Parker or influenced her career.

Then, on Friday, a New York Law School blog post analyzed the legality of Parker’s decision, comparing her stance to a New York county clerk’s refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses last year after marriage equality became law. The contrast between the job responsibility of the county clerk and the job option for Parker to perform marriages is clearly defined in the blog, along with kudos to Parker for her decision.

So, while Parker continues to decline interview requests— the Morning News reported that she’s turned down CNN and The Ellen DeGeneres Show — the comments she made in February continue to be discussed and analyzed.

—  Anna Waugh

Ex-Councilman J.T. Price rescinds endorsement of Theresa Daniel over her support for gay rights

On Monday we told you that Theresa Daniel, a Democratic candidate for the newly redrawn District 1 seat on the Dallas County Commissioners Court, had sent out an endorsement letter signed by 17 “LGBT Leaders & Friends.” Among other things, the letter mentioned that Daniel is a longtime member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, which is, of course, the party’s LGBT caucus. Well, apparently that came as a surprise to former Dallas City Councilman Jesse “J.T.” Price, who had endorsed Daniel for Commissioners Court. Daniel reports this morning that, after learning that she’s a member of Stonewall, Price requested that she remove his name from her endorsement list.

“I am disappointed by this development, and had I known Price held this view, I never would have used his name to begin with,” Daniel said in an email. “To my mind, being a Democrat means that you are inclusive and accepting of others. It also means that you are committed to fighting discrimination wherever it exists. I am proud of my convictions, proud of my work with the LGBT community and Democratic Party, and proud of my membership in Stonewall Democrats.”

FYI, in case you’ve never heard of Jesse Price, according to Dallas Morning News archives, he served on the council from 1967 to 1972.

Read Daniel’s full email after the jump.

—  John Wright

LOCAL BRIEFS: Stonewall voter registration drive, Lone Star Ride Casino Night

Stonewall holding voter registration drive

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas will be at JR’s Bar & Grill, 3923 Cedar Springs Road, on Sunday, July 30, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. to register new voters. The registration table will be next to the Cedar Springs entrance.

Those registering to vote only have to fill out a short form that asks for name, address and some form of identification, such as a driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number.

LSR hosting Casino Night

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS hosts its fourth annual Casino Night on Thursday Aug. 4, from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The event is hosted by Audi Dallas, 5033 Lemmon Ave., and tickets are $50 in advance and $65 at the door. The ticket price includes cocktails and appetizers as well as enough chips to get started at the tables.

Players can spend their winnings on silent auction items when the tables close.

For more information, call 214-460-4887.

LGBT bereavement support group starting

VITAS Innovative Hospice Care in Fort Worth will offer its next grief support group, intended specifically to meet the needs of LGBT people who have lost a loved one, beginning Wednesday, Aug. 1, at Agape Metropolitan Community Church, 4615 East California Parkway.

The group, to be led by the Rev. Teri Lubbers, will continue to meet each Wednesday in August.

To register or for more information, call the VITAS Bereavement Department at 817-870-7070.

Marine to speak at RCD

Justin Elzie, the first U.S. Marine discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell” in 1993 after coming out as gay on ABC’s World News Tonight, will appear at a book signing and meet-and-greet event Saturday, July 30, at 2 p.m. at Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan St.

Elzie was the first Marine to challenge DADT in federal court and after winning his lawsuit, he was reinstated and went on to serve four years as an openly gay Marine.
After coming out, he was recommended for promotion and served as platoon sergeant.

Elzie will be signing copies of his memoir, Playing by the Rules, on Saturday at RCD. The event is open to the public, and a limited number of copies of Elzie’s book will be available for purchase.

—  John Wright