More from Decision Day in Fort Worth: Celebrating at Celebration Community Church

Photos by Cassie Quinn

—  Tammye Nash

Marriage Equality Decision Day in Fort Worth

Here is a gallery of photos from the Tarrant County Clerk’s office from Friday morning, June 26. Photos by Cassie Quinn.

—  Tammye Nash

Tarrant County will comply with marriage ruling with teeth firmly gritted

Garcia.Mary Louise

Mary Louise Garcia

Tarrant County Clerk Louise Garcia said she had no particular plans to deal with the rush of Fort Worth and other Tarrant County gay and lesbian couples who will apply for marriage licenses after the Supreme Court marriage equality decision is issued other than to comply with the ruling.

We contacted Dallas County Clerk John Warren’s office. Warren has said he wanted to be the first clerk in the state to issue a marriage license. He wasn’t in his office this afternoon, but we’ll let you know how Dallas is preparing for the expected crowds (and financial windfall) when we hear from him. Warren has said in the past he hopes to be the first clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

A marriage license costs $81 in Dallas County and $71 in Tarrant County. Both people must appear in person and provide a valid ID and social security number. Valid IDs include a state ID, drivers license, passport or certified birth certificate with picture ID. Surprisingly, both people must be at least 18 years old and first cousins can’t marry.

Texas has a 72-hour waiting period before the ceremony can take place and must take place within 90 days. The license must be returned to the county clerk’s office within 30 days.

The 72-hour waiting period is waived for members of the armed forces, even if you are participating in Operation Jade Helm, taking over Texas for Obama and sending people to FEMA camps in Walmart basements, or if a district judge signs an order waiving the waiting period. In Dallas, several judges have already said they will waive the waiting period for same-sex couples during the period immediately following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. In Tarrant County, the first weddings are expected to take place after the 72-hour waiting period.

Well, Fort Worth, you get what you vote for.

The Tarrant County Clerk’s office is open Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and is located downtown at 200 Taylor Street, Suite 301.

Other Tarrant County locations to apply for marriage licenses:

Arlington: 700 E Abram St.
Fort Worth/Poly: 3212 Miller Ave.
Fort Worth/Northeast: 6551 Granbury Road
Fort Worth/Northwest: 6713 Telephone Road
Hurst: 645 Grapevine Hwy, Suite 120
Mansfield: 1100 E Broad Street, Ste 200 1400 Main, Suite 140
Southlake: 1400 Main, Suite 140

The Dallas County Clerk’s office is in the County Records Building at 509 Main Street, second floor and licenses are issued 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Other Dallas County locations to apply for marriage licenses (call for times):

East Dallas Government Center: 3443 St. Francis Ave.
North Dallas Government Center: 10056 Marsh Lane, Suite 137
South Dallas Office Government Center: 7201 S. Polk St.
Oak Cliff Sub-Courthouse: 410 S. Beckley Ave.
Richardson Office: 1411 W. Belt Line Road
Irving Office: 841 W. Irving Blvd.
Lancaster Office: 107 Texas Street
Grand Prairie Office: 106 West Church Street, Suite 205 St.

—  David Taffet

BREAKING: When ruling comes, Tarrant County Clerk will issue marriage licenses

gay_marriage_81102178_620x350Fairness Fort Worth President David Henderson reports the Tarrant County Clerk’s office will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if the 5th Circuit rules the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

“If the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals  were to  find the Texas bans on same-sex marriages unconstitutional and no stay is imposed on that decision, then Tarrant County will begin issuing marriage licenses in compliance with court rulings. We may need a day, maybe two, to configure changes to our systems and forms in cooperation with our outside vendor; however, we intend to comply with rulings that may be issued,” said Tarrant County Clerk’s Office Chief Deputy Jeff Nicholson to Henderson.

Garcia’s office had previously said Tarrant County would not give marriage licenses to same sex couples because the county does not fall into the federal court district in which the state’s same-sex marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional.

Henderson added that while he “is unaware of any state district judges in Tarrant County that will waive the 72-hour waiting period…getting equal access to a license is the more crucial step.”

—  James Russell

Tarrant County Pride Week grand marshals announced

Screen shot 2014-08-06 at 1.34.42 PM

Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association officials have announced that Sharon Herrera, Allan Gould and Tori Van Fleet-Kujala have been chosen as grand marshals of the 2014 Tarrant County Pride Parade.

They also announced that Todd Cooper (aka Scarlett Rayne), DeeJay Johannasen, David Mack Henderson and the Rev. Ken Ehrke have been nominated for the 2014 Raina Lea Award.

Honorary Grand Marshals are Chris McNoksy and Sven Stricker.

Tarrant County Gay Pride Week 2014 will be Oct. 2-12, beginning with a Pride Kick-Off Show on Oct. 2. The website doesn’t have details on the show posted yet, but keep watching. I am sure the info will be there soon.

The Pride Parade and Street Festival will be Saturday, Oct. 4, from noon-6 p.m., and is once again being held in downtown Fort Worth. The parade begins on Weatherford Street on the north side of downtown, and ends further south on Houston Street. The Pride Street Festival — with live entertainment, vendors and food and beverage booths — will be set up at the intersection of Houston and 9th Streets.

TCGPWA’s popular Pride Picnic at Trinity Park will be held from noon-6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, and will feature a DJ, live entertainment, group activities, friendly competitions and a free Pride Kids Zone. Community organizations and vendors will have booths set up, and there will be beer, other beverages and food available, too.

Pride Week continues with the 15th annual Q-Cinema Film Festival at Rose Marine Theatre. See details here.

—  Tammye Nash

Tarrant County lesbian couple files for divorce

FWdivorce

A lot has happened this week in Texas regarding same-sex marriage and divorce.

A Tarrant County couple came out as straight friends hoping to help win the marriage equality fight in the state. And a judge prevented Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott from interfering a San Antonio couple’s divorce proceedings.

Now a Tarrant County couple has filed for divorce. Brooke Powell and Cori Jo Long married in New Hampshire four years ago. Powell’s attorney filed a petition to declare the marriage void, like it never happened. But the couple wants a divorce.

Under Texas law, same-sex divorce is illegal just as much as same-sex marriage or recognizing same-sex unions. However, back in February, a U.S. district judge declared Texas marriage law unconstitutional. The Texas Supreme Court heard arguments in two same-sex divorce cases in November. A ruling is expected by summer.

“I feel like since I was legally married, then I should be entitled to a divorce,” Long told Fox 4 News.

Watch Fox 4’s report below.

—  Dallasvoice

21st annual Tarrant County AIDS Walk steps off Saturday at Trinity Park

Walk-picture-2011

AIDS Outreach Center hopes to earn $100,000 at the Tarrant County’s 21st annual AIDS Walk and Fun Run.

The event begins at 8 a.m. on March 30 at the northern end of Trinity Park at Stayton and 7th streets in Fort Worth with warm-up exercises, yoga, vendors and entertainment. Runners will begin at 9:30 a.m. and walkers at 9:45 a.m.

Registration is $30, which includes a commemorative T-shirt. Dog and pet registration is $10.

Donations may be made online or may be mailed to AIDS Outreach Center, 400 North Beach St., Ste. 100, Fort Worth, Texas, 76111.

AOC serves Tarrant County and seven surrounding counties with a nutrition center, dental clinic, counseling and case management. An AIDS Healthcare Foundation clinic is attached to its main office.

—  David Taffet

AOC kicks off 21st Tarrant County AIDS Walk with a casino party

AIDS Outreach Center‘s 21st annual Tarrant County AIDS Walk and Fun Run will be held Saturday, March 30, from 8 a.m. to noon in Trinity Park. Sign-in takes place at the Trinity Park Pavilion at 7th Street in Fort Worth.

A casino night kick-off party will be Feb. 8 at the Hilton Fort Worth, 815 Main Street, beginning at 7 p.m.

Volunteers for the walk and fun run are needed for set-up, water stations, path monitors, kids area, registration, food, vendor check-in and clean-up.

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Mary Scales by email or at 817-296-0597.

In the eight counties served by AOC, more than 4,500 people are known to be living with HIV/AIDS. Estimates are that 20 percent more in the area are infected and do not know.

AOC was founded in 1986 by volunteers to help people with AIDS in Fort Worth deal with end-of-life issues. Today AOC stands as the largest AIDS social service organization in Tarrant County in the fight against AIDS.

Last year, the agency partnered with AIDS Healthcare Foundation to open a medical clinic at its facility.

—  David Taffet

SLIDESHOW: Fort Worth Pride parade is city’s largest

CLICK HERE TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS FROM TARRANT PRIDE

 

Participants say parade, in 2nd year on Main Street, presents positive image of LGBT community

LOGAN CARVER  |  Contributing Writer

FORT WORTH — Perry Anable wiped tears from his eyes Saturday as he watched throngs of gays, lesbians, allies and passersby mingle on Main Street in Fort Worth after the largest gay Pride parade in the city’s history.

Anable, brother of the late activist Thomas Anable — who was named grand marshal before his August death and who was honored during the parade with a riderless car — said the large turnout showed that gay people finally have a voice in the city of Fort Worth and are no longer afraid to live their lives openly.

Thomas Anable helped formed Fairness Fort Worth after the Rainbow Lounge raid and was instrumental in the parade’s move from Jennings Street to Downtown.

“That’s what I believe I fought for is this right here,” said Perry Anable, a Vietnam veteran. “Whether you agree with the choice isn’t important; it’s that you have the freedom to choose, and that’s what this is about.”

The first bite of autumn couldn’t chill the spirits of parade-goers as floats made their way from the Tarrant County Courthouse to the Fort Worth Convention Center.

And while there was no shortage of shirtless dancers gyrating to thumping bass, the Fort Worth parade was markedly different than its Dallas cousin.

If Dallas Pride is your flashiest pair of pumps, Fort Worth Pride is your favorite pair of Tom’s. It doesn’t have the glitz and the glamour, but it exudes a feeling of community that doesn’t go unnoticed.

The Fort Worth parade was started 31 years ago by a drag queen who wanted a place for gays to congregate that wasn’t between the four walls of a bar, said parade director Tina Harvey.

For nearly three decades, the parade took place on Jennings Street — celebrating gay Pride in front of nothing but bars, dilapidated storefronts and homeless people. Last year, with the help of Thomas Anable, the parade moved to downtown and marked a new era in the Fort Worth LGBT community.

Harvey said it gives credibility to people who have been treated as second-class citizens their entire lives; and the Main Street presence helps break down stereotypes.

“Other people can see our event going on and see ‘hey, they’re just a loving, tight-knit community and having a great time and this is a great thing,’” Harvey said. “If we’re down on Jennings, nobody comes except the gay community.”

Dana Curtis has participated in both the Dallas and Fort Worth parades and said the Fort Worth celebration is more personal.

“Everybody is on the same team in Fort Worth,” she said.

And for her, being able to ride a float down Main Street is liberating after years of oppression.

“(It’s an) absolute victory for those of us who have been marginalized for so long,” Curtis said. “We haven’t had a voice. Now we do.”

Craig McNeil, who marched with QCinema, said the parade’s downtown location — away from the bar district — makes families feel more comfortable.

“It’s good for them to see there aren’t naked people running around,” McNeil said. “It really is a great community event, and I think that’s great.”

On Saturday, the streets along the parade route were lined with elderly couples — gay and straight, families with children and allies who simply wanted to support equality in their community.

Sheldon Berry twirled a baton with the Fort Worth Pride Steppers and said it was important for non-gays in the city to see gay people who weren’t running around getting drunk.

“It’s not all like you see in the movies,” Berry said. “I just try to represent something really good and positive.”

Apparently Berry’s message was well received.

Kim Mixson was in town for a wedding, staying at a downtown hotel, and heard about the parade. She wore beads around her neck as she watched the floats roll down Main Street.

“I love it. I think it’s great. I see absolutely nothing wrong with it,” Mixson said. “People are people and to each their own.”

Rachel Tillay is a seminary student at Southern Methodist University and went to the Fort Worth parade to show support for the LGBT community and to serve as a counter balance to any anti-gay protestors.

To Tillay, anyone who claims to be Christian and uses scripture to support his or her hate speech doesn’t understand the Bible. She said the verses they take out of context and use to condemn homosexuality actually condemn a lack of hospitality, and when placed in the correct context have nothing to do with same-sex love.

“I’ve learned from my studies that we really need to be pro-gay if we want to be Christians,” Tillay said.

As expected, there were some purportedly Christian protestors quoting cherry-picked Bible verses in their vitriolic diatribe, but the Fort Worth Police Department kept them from interfering with parade viewers and participants and even straight people saw them as misguided afterthoughts.

“I think they should spend their time doing other positive things in the community instead of being out here worrying about how other people live,” said LeAnne Koonsman, who came to support the LGBT people she works with.

Fort Worth police said Monday that two anti-gay protesters were arrested. The arrested protesters are members of Kingdom Baptist Church in Johnson County, which has regularly staged anti-gay demonstrations in North Texas over the last few years. Joey Faust, 46, and Ramon Marroquin, 33, were charged with interfering with public duties, a class-B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine. Faust is the pastor for Kingdom Baptist Church.

After the parade and the ensuing street festival, Harvey said this year’s event was a huge success.

“It was a beautiful day of celebration on Main Street,” she said.

—  John Wright

Celebration Community Church announces plans for new center

Members of Celebration Community Church’s Capital Campaign Committee and Building Committee gather around a sign announcing The Rev. Carol A. West Community Center. The church held a steak cookout on Sunday, Aug. 19, to view the footprint for the planned expansion.

The congregation at Celebration Community Church celebrated the church’s upcoming expansion Sunday when details of the new community center were announced.

A capital campaign kicked off last year for the $1.3 million building and is expected to be complete by the end of 2013. Construction will take about a year.

More plans of the building were released Sunday. The building will serve as a meeting place for about 400 people and will be built north of the church with a covered walkway linking it to the current sanctuary. It will be named The Rev. Carol A. West Community Center in honor of West, who marked her 14th year at the church Sunday.

West said the name was announced again Sunday with the new expansion details after the church’s Board of Directors voted to name it for her after last year.

“I was very honored,” West told Instant Tea. “It was a very sweet surprise.”

West has seen the church grow from 35 members when she started more than a decade ago to the roughly 600 members now. She said the expansion will help the church, which is the largest Tarrant County church with a primary LGBT outreach, offer more groups and organizations to use the church as a meeting place.

“We’ve forged ahead in the community and this expansion is part of reaching out to the community,” she said.

Tom Guerin of Jepsen Guerin Architects in Dallas will be the architect on the project. Nan Faith Arnold of Nan Faith Arnold Co. in Dallas will serve as project manager.

To learn how you can support the capital campaign, call 817-335-3222.

Read the press release below.

—  Dallasvoice