The Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats hosted their monthly meeting at Tommy’s Hamburgers in Fort Worth last night (Monday, July 13) celebrating the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision.
Couples who got a license but hadn’t wed were invited to get hitched. Had a couple already gotten married, they were invited to share their stories.
Three couples stood up and shared their stories. After their humorous and touching speeches, the invaluable — and, as he noted, single — David Mack Henderson, president of Fairness Fort Worth, shared his experiences helping local couples get hitched.
While my intent was to share photos from the meeting, my camera card unfortunately thought otherwise. But I do have a few takeaways worth noting.
First, it turned out for the best I couldn’t get photos. One man approached me after the meeting adjourned requesting their photos not appear on the site. His husband is “insecure in the workplace,” he said. Whether because he fears losing his job or for some other reason, I don’t know. But I know LGBT Texans can still be fired from their jobs simply because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Texas is, in fact, one of 28 states that doesn’t protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination aside from a few federal protections.
Texas is also among the 29 states without laws protecting LGBT individuals in public accommodations. Cities like Dallas and Fort Worth have made strides to protect their citizens from being denied service, or face harassment, from the grocery store to the doctor’s office. But I’d avoid going to any bakery owned by Rep. Molly White, R-Belton.
David Mack Henderson, president of Fairness Fort Worth
As the saying goes, you can get married at night but still be fired from your job the next morning.
This past legislative session, legislators filed or sponsored nearly 40 anti-LGBT bills. Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, filed two bills criminalizing transgender individuals for using a bathroom. Rep. Gilbert Pena, R-Pasadena, filed similar bills. Rep. White, as we learned, won a gold star for filing legislation legalizing discrimination against any groups not straight, white, Protestant and Republican — so, like, everyone.
After the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, the statements started pouring in. Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, author of numerous bills barring state recognition of same-sex marriages, lead the crusade. He announced the “Pact for Constitutional Restoration of State Sovereignty” on Monday, July 6 in response to the ruling.
David Simpson, a Longview Republican running for an open state senate seat, denounced the ruling and called for a special session abolishing government issuance of marriage licenses altogether. I don’t oppose the latter idea, though I prefer that decision not come following the Supreme Court ruling. Unfortunately, yesterday (Monday, July 13), he went even further, calling on the state’s Republican leadership to address the consequences of the ruling. He was furious state employee benefits were now extended to same-sex spouses.
For the record, Simpson has yet to be endorsed by a single socially conservative group. His primary opponent in the senate race, Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, has received those honors.
Not all Republicans denounced the decision of course. But if it helps with fundraising, why not throw shade at two individuals of the same gender in love?
During the meeting, Henderson told a harrowing and touching story about a local couple just wanting to get married. The situation wasn’t easy though. As far as I remember it, a HIV-positive, 60 percent deaf undocumented man was jailed. His partner wanted to avoid deportation. David helped them find an avenue to get married. (Knowing Henderson, he’ll chime in the comments below, which I would prefer he do. The story is at once tragic and beautiful.)
Before I left, a straight ally approached two friends and I. He was thrilled by the decision, he said, but the fight isn’t over yet.
I’ve harped on this before but he’s right. Until we’re all equal, the rainbow is frankly just one color.
Supporters of LGBT ally state Sen. Wendy Davis can stand with her this weekend at Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats’ Spring Extravaganza.
Davis is among the guests for the Saturday event, as well as U.S. Congressman Marc Veasey and state Rep. Chris Turner, who are also LGBT allies.
The event is 7 p.m. Saturday at the City Club in The Oak Room, 301 Commerce St. in Fort Worth. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased here. Sponsorships are also available for $500 and sponsors are invited to a VIP reception with guests before the event at 6 p.m.
Stonewall Democrats of Dallas will kick off the holiday party season with their annual holiday bash tonight.
Members will gather at the Round-Up Saloon on Monday for treats and the presentation of awards. Lunches with elected officials will also be auctioned off for a chance to dine with Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia, Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Judge Gena Slaughter and Judge Tonya Parker.
Donations for the group’s Santa’s Helpers Drive benefiting Legacy Founders Cottage will also be collected at the party. Needed items include socks, razors, toilet paper, paper towels, disposable forks and spoons, cleaning supplies, latex gloves, depends, soap and body wash.
• Don’t miss the Cedar Spring Merchants Association’s The Holidays on Cedar Springs Wednesday, Dec. 5, featuring live music on TMC: The Mining Company’s patio and the Christmas tree lighting at 7 p.m.
• The GLBT Chamber of Commerce’s Holly Jolly Ball is 7 p.m. Thursday at Avneu Lounge, 2912 McKinney Ave. Proceeds benefits the chamber’s Leadership Education & Advocacy Program (LEAP).
• Metroplex Republicans will host its Christmas/Hannukah Party Friday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m. at President Rob Schlein’s home, 5502 Bent Trail.
• Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats will serve up cheer at its holiday party Monday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. The party will be at the home of Julie and Dick Abrams, 4301 Briarhaven Road in Fort Worth. R.S.V.P. to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats is kicking off its fall fundraising efforts with a “Building on Legacies” event next Tuesday.
Former state Rep. Glen Maxey, state Rep.-elect Mary Gonzalez and Dallas County 116th Civil District Court Judge Tonya Parker are scheduled speak at the event.
Felipe Gutierrez, Stonewall president, said the event symbolizes the work in the past with Maxey, Parker’s current work and Gonzalez’s future work in the Texas House.
“Our goal was talking about the past, the work in the present and in the future and how we come together to work on issues,” he said.
The event is at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at the home of. Scott W. Green and Garrett Warren, at 3905 Summercrest Drive in Fort Worth.
General admission is $75. Sponsorships are also available for $250 (for two tickets, $500 for four tickets and $1,000 for six tickets. All sponsorships include donor recognition and an invitation to private donor cocktail party.
For tickets, contact Scott Green at email@example.com. Deadline to RSVP is today or ASAP. For more info, go here.
Stonewall Democrats of Dallas members voted unanimously Tuesday to endorse state Rep. Marc Veasey for Congress and municipal court Judge Phyllis Lister Brown for district judge in the general election.
Stonewall had endorsed other candidates in the primary, but Veasey and Brown won their runoffs. Veasey is running for the new Congressional District 33 and Brown is seeking election to become judge of the 162nd civil district court.
At last week’s Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats meeting, the group voted on a slate endorsement of the Democratic ticket in Tarrant County with a special mention of Veasey, state Sen. Wendy Davis, Nicole Collier in House District 95, Lon Burnam in House District 90 and Chris Turner in House District 101.
Tarrant Stonewall doesn’t endorse in primaries, so President Felipe Guttierez said the special mention just highlights the group’s strategic plan to get those Tarrant County candidates elected.
State Rep. Marc Veasey addresses the crowd at a Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats meeting July 9. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)
With 13 days left until early voting for the runoff begins, it’s crunch time for both state Rep. Marc Veasey and former state Rep. Domingo Garcia to gain voters in the other’s county.
Both Veasey and Garcia were scheduled to speak at the Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats meeting Monday night, but Garcia was unable to attend at the last minute.
Instead, Bexar County Democratic Party Chair Choco Meza spoke briefly on his behalf.
Meza, who lives in San Antonio but was in the area visiting family, said she wanted to come speak on Garcia’s behalf because she’s known him most of her adult life. She said she wouldn’t give up time with her family to speak to strangers “if I didn’t believe so strongly like I do about Domingo.”
She reminded the audience that Garcia was “in the forefront in any legislation regarding LGBT issues when he served in the Legislature” from 1996 to 2002, where he voted for a hate crimes bill that includess sexual orientation in 2001.
State Rep. Marc Veasey then spoke to the large crowd of about 50 people amid cheers and applause. A large majority of the audience was sporting Veasey campaign stickers.
Veasey was the top vote-getter in the primary, winning Tarrant County and coming in second in Dallas County.
Veasey said he couldn’t have come so far without the help from supporters in Tarrant County and the LGBT supporters from the county.
“It’s because of you and your belief in me and you being willing to stand up for my record, and that’s why we ran such a good strong campaign the first round,” he said.
Highlighting that he won a precinct in Dallas with the most LGBT families, he said he was gaining momentum among Dallas County voters to secure a win on July 31.
“The LGBT community has really galvanized behind me and I’m really proud of that,” he said. “I want to know that not just because of that but because it’s the right thing to do, that when I go to Congress that you can always count on me to be a strong advocate on the issues that are important to your families and to your community.”
In closing, he reminded the audience of his freshman year in the state House in 2005, when he voted against an amendment to the Texas Constitution banning same-sex marriage and civil unions when others representatives walked out of the vote or voted with Republicans.
“I’ll never forget that day,” he said. “I saw people that quite frankly that shouldn’t have done it, but I saw people walk off the House floor because they didn’t want to take that vote.
“I never skip votes and I can promise you that when those votes that are important to the LGBT community come onto the United States House floor, that I will be there fighting for you.”
A debate between Veasey and Garcia will air tonight on KERA at 10 p.m. with encores played at 7:30 p.m. Friday and noon Sunday. It will also play on KERA 90.1 FM at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Democratic hopefuls for the new Congressional District 33, Marc Veasey and Domingo Garcia, are both slated to speak at Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats’ monthly meting tonight.
Veasey, along with Shane Hardin for House District 93 and Gary Grassia for House District 97, were advertised as guest speakers for the meeting, but the group’s, President Felipe Guttierez, said Garcia confirmed that he would also be in attendance.
Veasey and Garcia are headed to the runoff for the Democratic nomination July 31 after finishing first and second, respectively, among 11 candidates in the primary. State Rep. Veasey captured 37 percent overall to former state Rep. Garcia’s 25 percent.
Both took their own counties with Dallas County going to Garcia with 44 percent compared to Veasey’s 17 percent. In Tarrant County, Veasey captured 49 percent of the vote and Garcia received 14 percent.
The meeting is at 7 p.m. tonight at Tommy’s Hamburgers, 5228 Camp Bowie Boulevard in Fort Worth.
State Sen. Wendy Davis addresses the crowd at the Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats Spring Fundraising Kick-off Party in Fort Worth Wednesday, May 23. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)
The Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats raised close to $20,000 Wednesday night at the Spring Fundraising Kick-off Party in Fort Worth.
The event was the group’s launch for fundraising efforts and will go toward backing Sen. Wendy Davis’ campaign in the general election. She is unopposed in the primary. In addition, funds will go to state House candidates and the Congressional District 33 Democratic candidate selected in the primary, chapter President Felipe Gutierrez said.
About 100 people attended to donate, mingle and hear Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns and Davis speak about local and state issues.
Burns spoke first, addressing the national attention focused on marriage equality. He said the president’s announcement was among the things he “never thought I would see in my entire life.”
“Things like the president of the United States telling me that he wants me and my husband to legally marry here in the state of Texas,” he said. “This is something we should have all along. This is something that we are owed. It is a fundamental right that we should’ve already have but it’s still monumental.”
He also acknowledged local success, recapping the efforts of the Fort Worth City Council to embrace equality by adding transgender protections to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance, something he said he was “incredibly proud” to accomplish and acknowledged Stonewall and Fairness Fort Worth for the groups’ efforts in helping make it a reality. He also said the city has extended partner benefits for LGBT city employees and improved police and firefighter training.
Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns speaks about the important accomplishments made in favor of equality locally and nationally at a Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats fundraising event May 23. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)
While many lawmakers are following the president’s lead, he said he was “incredibly proud to have an ally” like Davis in Austin fighting for the rights of everyone. He told the audience to unite in the coming months to help motivate voters in Senate District 10 to re-elect Davis by “reminding them of just how incredibly kick-ass awesome Wendy Davis is.”
Davis then spoke about “shifting the dialogue” about what Texas has and can accomplish. She praised the state Legislature for passing an anti-bullying bill in the last session, but reminded the crowd to continue to fight for education and healthcare funding, two things she relied on as a single mother at 19 attending college. Davis has been outspoken about Texas defunding Planned Parenthood.
“I certainly didn’t ever look like I was going to be one of those people who made my way up into a place in the world that has the meaning that my life has today,” she said about her upbringing.
At 19, Davis said she destined to love the life of her mother, who raised her and her three siblings on her own. She was divorced with a 1-year-old, working two jobs and sometimes still couldn’t pay her bills.
But when a co-worker brought a brochure for Tarrant County College to work, Davis enrolled in classes to become a legal assistant. Later, she received a Texas Equalization Grant to attend Texas Christian University on her way to becoming a lawyer and graduating from Harvard.
The grant was “obliterated” in the last session, Davis said, placing the future generations at risk without opportunities others enjoyed in the past and what voters have the power to bring back by voting for candidates who want to improve people’s futures.
Davis was elected to the state Senate in 2008 in a district that still leans to the Republican side, she said. But that may not hinder her support in November because the voters in her district understand the issues she fights for.
“It doesn’t matter whether you have an R or a D next to your name when what you care about is your healthcare, your children’s future and education and so many of the other issues that we’re working on,” she said.
Founding members awards were given out at the end of the event to recognize the charter members who founded Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats. Certificates were presented to state Rep. Lon Burnam, Mary Edward, Lisa Thomas, Steve Bratka, Drew Sutton, Bayliss Camp, Lynn Johnson, Glenda Thompson, Chris Randolph and Tim Meagher.
Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns is scheduled to speak about various LGBT issues before introducing state Sen. Wendy Davis as the keynote speaker, said Felipe Gutierrez, president of Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats. Davis will highlight key issues at stake in her district and in the state, such as healthcare and education.
Gutierrez said the goals of the organization are to re-elect Davis and to get out the votes for House districts, in addition to supporting candidates who win the primary by making donations. The group’s bylaws prohibit endorsements in the primaries.
“We need all the help we can get to meet our fundraising goals in order to meet our goals for the year,” he said. “And it’s very important that Senator Davis gets re-elected. We cannot afford to lose her.”
About 100 people are expected to attend the event from 7-10 p.m. at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, at 1700 University Drive in Fort Worth. Sponsorships ranging from $50-$2,500 are still available and will be announced at the event.
Those interested in attending should contact Gutierrez at 817-713-7426 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sponsorship levels are below.
• Gold ($2500) You will receive six event tickets, and your name will appear in the invitation and event signage.
• Silver ($1000) You will receive four event tickets, and your name will appear in the invitation and event signage.
• Bronze ($500) You will receive three event tickets, and your name will appear in the invitation and event signage.
• Individual ($50) You will receive one event ticket.
Ways to donate:
1. Make checks payable to Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats and mail to 3905 Summercrest Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76109.