This Week in Marriage Equality

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

Dozens of people showed up for National Organization for Marriage’s annual March for Marriage — heterosexual-only marriage, that is.

Among the high-profile participants was Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, who apparently participated mostly to piss off the majority of his own city’s population as well as his congresswoman, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom who pleaded with him not to attend.

Presbyterians

The Presbyterian Church voted on Wednesday to allow pastors to marry same-sex couples in states where it’s legal. That must now be passed by a majority of the 172 local U.S. presbyteries.

Michigan

In a brief filed in Michigan’s marriage-equality case, 14 Republicans, including former state legislators, said conservative “values are advanced by recognizing civil marriage rights for same-sex couples,” not harmed.

“Providing access to civil marriage for same-sex couples poses no credible threat to religious freedom or to the institution of religious marriage,” they wrote in their brief.

Arizona

What the hell is going on with Republican Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona. First, she vetoed anti-gay legislation and now she says it’s time for legal protection.

HRC reported that on Tuesday, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer acknowledged that Arizona laws do not prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and suggested that it might be time to change that.

“I do not believe in discrimination,” Brewer said. “We are in the United States of America and we have great privilege that is afforded to everyone.

Sixth Circuit

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals announced Monday they will heard all five cases pending before the court on August 6.

The court will hear cases from all four states in the circuit: DeBoer v. Snyder from Michigan; Bourke v. Beshear in Kentucky; Tanco v. Haslam in Tennessee; and both Henry v. Himes and Obergefell v. Himes in Ohio.

Both sides in the Michigan and Ohio cases will get 30 minutes to argue their case, while both sides in Kentucky and Tennessee will get 15 minutes.

—  David Taffet

Tennessee man beaten in alleged anti-gay hate crime

imagesA Paris, Tenn., business owner told police that during an alleged robbery, assailants beat him while calling him anti-gay slurs and then wrote one on his forehead with a permanent marker before he was knocked unconscious.

WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tenn., reported on Thursday that 32-year-old Joe Williams, the owner of Healthy Thyme, was robbed of $1,500, and the store was set on fire. Williams told The Paris Post-Intelligencer that a man had entered the store earlier that day and asked him about his “sexual preference.” The man told Williams he couldn’t shop at the store if the owner was gay.

Williams told police a man later entered the store through the employee’s entrance, asking for something to help his sick daughter, according to the Post-Intelligencer. Williams recommended a product, and when he reached down to get it, the man allegedly began beating him.

Paris Police Sgt. Michael Ramos reported Williams had a “homosexual word written in black across his forehead.”

The police report also indicates two other men, both wearing ski masks and black jackets, joined the first man in hitting Williams. Williams told officers he was hit until he was unconscious, and when he woke up, he saw the men pouring gasoline near the front of the building.

Williams barricaded himself in the store’s office and then went next door to call police after he saw the robbers leave the business.

“I just fear for my life,” Williams said. “I’m to the point now where I’m worried to even go outside. I live my life as a gay man and wasn’t ashamed of it, and I just feel that I was targeted for that for that reason.”

—  Steve Ramos

Driver’s Seat: Mark Trimble, Flutist

Name: Mark Trimble, 44.

Occupation: Musician (flute) and music educator.

How might we know you: My partner Ami Sadeh and I helped create the BearDance events.

Type of car: Blue 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe.

Best car memory? Driving my Nissan 350Z the first time with my partner around town with the top down!

Funniest road trip story: I don’t know if it’s funny or sad, but I had an audition in Tennessee and a drunk driver sliced off a big chunk of metal off the side of the trunk. It was my dad’s Oldsmobile Delta 88. I had to tie that chunk of metal back on the car as it flapped all the way back to Cincinnati where I lived.

Hmmm… we vote sad. OK, buy or lease? Lately I prefer leasing. I get the itch for something new or different about every three to four years. It doesn’t hurt that you can get a bit more car for less money per month!

You play the flute, but ever in the car? I think I’ve played it in my partner’s car while he’s been driving. It’s not at all practical for the driver and it doesn’t work well in the passenger seat either. There are better places to practice. Now I will practice finger patterns for music on the steering wheel from time to time though, and that’s a great way to practice without the instrument.

What do you jam out to? NPR or BPM on satellite radio. Sometimes it’s Beethoven or Lady Gaga.

Don’t you musclebear types drive Jeeps or big trucks usually? Am I really that now? Ha! Maybe I do need to get the requisite truck!  I’m not about all my image with my car, it’s more about the driving experience for me, and I like fun-to-drive cars usually as long as they are roomy enough for me.

Since it’s hot as hell out, how’s your A/C? It is fantastic! I’m lucky to have a garage to park in at home so that it’s not all heated up when I leave the house in the summer, but even when it’s been out in the sun, it cools down very quickly.

Sounds great. So, one last thing: flootist or flautist? Well, it can be both actually.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Applause: Stage pink

Queer highlights from the upcoming theater season

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer

Anticipation should be strong for the upcoming theater season in general. Ambitious shows like Giant, The Tempest, West Side Story and Hairspray all dot the stage horizon.
But we also like to see some of our own up there. As we look over the upcoming offerings from local theater companies, we always ask, “Where’s the gay?”  In addition to Uptown Players’ first  Dallas Pride Performing Arts Festival, here are some of the others.

……………………….

Fall

Although the Dallas Opera canceled the opera she was set to star in, lesbian soprano Patricia Racette will still perform at a TDO gala. (Photo Devon Cass)

Singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik gave an indie music flair to the musical adaptation of the 1891 play Spring Awakening. Set in 19th century Germany, Awakening follows a group of youths as they discover more about themselves and their rapidly developing sexuality.

The original Frank Wedekind play was controversial in its day, depicting abortion, homosexuality, rape and suicide. Now the show just has an added rock ‘n’ roll score. Along with Sheik’s musical perspective, Steven Slater wrote the book and lyrics in this updated version which debuted in 2006 on Broadway and won the Tony for Best Musical. Terry Martin directs.

WaterTower Theater, 15650 Addison Road., Addison. Sept. 30–Oct. 23. WaterTowerTheatre.org.

It’s almost un-Texan if you’re gay and not familiar with Del Shores’ tales of Southern discomfort.  Southern Baptist Sissies and Sordid Lives are pretty much part of the queer vernacular in these parts, but Shores got his start way back in 1987.

How will those northern folks take to Shores work (And by north, we mean past Central Expressway past LBJ)? Jeni Helms directs Daddy’s Dyin’: Who’s Got the Will for McKinney Repertory Theatre this fall. As the family patriarch suffers a stroke, the Turnover family gathers as they wait for his death. This family may just put the fun in dysfunctional.

McKinney Performing Arts Center, 111 N. Tennessee St., McKinney. Sept. 30–Oct. 7. McKinneyRep.org.

WingSpan Theatre Co. will produce one of the greater comedies of theater-dom this fall: Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, with Nancy Sherrard sparring over the gay wit’s price bon mots as Lady Bracknell.

Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive. Oct. 6–22. WingSpanTheatre.com.

Although A Catered Affair might sound a bit like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it has the added flair of Harvey Fierstein’s wit. That’s because he wrote the book for the show alongside John Bucchino’s music and lyrics. The play is based on the Gore Vidal-penned 1956 film The Catered Affair starring Bette Davis.

When Jane and Ralph decide to get married, Jane’s mom Agnes wants to put on an elaborate spectacle of a wedding. The truth is, she can’t afford it and Jane isn’t all too thrilled about a huge affair. As in most cases, the wedding planning is more about the mom than the daughter and Agnes soon realizes the fact. Jane’s Uncle Winston — the proverbial gay uncle — is left off the guest list and is rightfully pissed. But as most gay characters, he rallies to be the voice of reason and support.

Theatre Three, 2800 Routh Street, Ste.168. Oct. 13–Nov. 12. Theatre3Dallas.com.

Lesbian soprano Patricia Racette was going to be featured in the production of Katya Kabanová but unfortunately the show was canceled by the Dallas Opera. But fear not. Dallas will still get to bask in the greatness that is her voice as Racette will perform An Evening with Patricia Racette, a cabaret show with classics from the Great American Songbook for a patron recital.

Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. Nov. 9. DallasOpera.org

………………………….

Spring

Nancy Sherrard will star as Lady Bracknell in WIngSpan Theater Co.’s fall production of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest,’ perhaps the greatest comedy ever written by theaterdom’s gayest wit.

Kevin Moriarty directs Next Fall for the Dallas Theater Center next spring. Written by Geoffrey Nauffts, the play centers on Luke and Adam, a couple with some unusual issues. What’s new about that in gay couplehood? Not much, but when Adam’s an absolute atheist and Luke’s a devout Christian, the two have been doing their best to make it work.
The comedy played on Broadway in 2010, garnering Tony and Drama Desk nominations. And now Dallas gets to see how, as DTC puts it, “relationships can be a beautiful mess.”
Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. April 13–May 6. DallasTheaterCenter.org.

Perhaps the most surprising queer offering this next season is Theatre Arlington’s production of The Laramie Project. The show usually creates quite a stir — at least it did in Tyler, thanks to Trinity Wheeler — so how will this suburban audience handle it? Doesn’t matter. Props to T.A. for taking Moises Kaufman’s play about the tragic bashing and death of Matthew Shepard to its community.

Theatre Arlington, 305 W. Main St., Arlington. May 18–June 3. TheatreArlington.org.

Usually the question with MBS Productions is “what’s not gay?” Founder Mark-Brian Sonna has consistently delivered tales of gay woe and love that are sometimes silly and sometimes sweet, but always a laugh.

This season is no different. Playwright Alejandro de la Costa brings back drag queen Lovely Uranus in The Importance of Being Lovely. The last time we saw Uranus, Sonna wore the stilettos and pink wig in last season’s Outrageous, Sexy, (nekkid) Romp.  This time around, Uranus graduates to leading lady status as the show is all about her as audiences follow her through the changes she makes in her make-up, wigs and men.

Stone Cottage Theatre, 15650 Addison Road, Addison. July 16–Aug. 11, 2012. MBSProductions.net.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

WATCH: Nashville councilman blasts colleague for rejecting his pro-LGBT commendation

 

Jamie Hollin

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Metro Nashville Councilman Jamie Hollin shouted at colleagues who blocked his proposed commendation of students who protested what has become known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and then left the council chamber.

Hollin later launched into what The Tennessean described as “a profanity-laced rant” after Tuesday night’s council meeting at which his motion to suspend chamber rules to consider the commendation failed.

The motion failed when colleagues Jim Gotto and Phil Claiborne objected. Gotto is also a state representative. The state Senate this year passed a measure that would bar discussion of homosexuality in school below the high school level. A House version stalled in committee, but could come up again next year.

Hollin wanted to commend students who had protested the bill. He had missed a committee meeting at which the resolution could have first been presented, but chamber rules had been suspended to consider two previous resolutions, the newspaper reported.

After yelling at Gotto and Claiborne, Hollin stormed out of the chamber. The meeting was adjourned shortly thereafter.

Outside the chamber, Hollin confronted Claiborne, cursing at him and saying Claiborne objected to his resolution on religious grounds.

Hollin said the objection to rules suspension by Gotto and Claiborne were motivated by anti-gay bias.

“They collectively represent the worst in us,” Hollin said.

Gotto declined direct comment, saying only that he was sorry Hollin was upset.

Claiborne was unavailable by telephone Wednesday and a call was left for him, seeking comment.

—  John Wright

Tennessee Highway At Last Adorned With God’s Word

THE SHOT — A pair of billboards in Putnam County, Tennessee, that went up a couple months ago are getting the NOM treatment. Says Lois Irby, a local supporter of the outdoor ad campaign: "I just thought this billboard was a marvelous idea," said one of several Cookeville-area supporters of the sign. You hear so much about same-sex marriage on TV, and it's so readily accepted by the public. Children, unless they have some kind of religious training at home, are taught to accept it and not question it or feel that it's wrong. I think God's word needs to be inserted as often as possible to reaffirm that homosexuality is wrong. It doesn't need to be presented in a glorified light as just an alternate lifestyle." I agree, more of God's words inserted as often as possible. Like this one from Leviticus 25:44-46 (NLV): "However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way."

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Tragedy waiting to happen? Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia, and Virginia allow loaded guns in bars

Looking at the states in question, perhaps we should not be surprised, but seriously, how is this a good idea ANYWHERE in this gun-loving, hair-trigger temper, liquored-up society? (NYT):

Happy-hour beers were going for at Past Perfect, a cavernous bar just off this city’s strip of honky-tonks and tourist shops when Adam Ringenberg walked in with a loaded 9-millimeter pistol in the front pocket of his gray slacks.

Mr. Ringenberg, a technology consultant, is one of the state’s nearly 300,000 handgun permit holders who have recently seen their rights greatly expanded by a new law – one of the nation’s first – that allows them to carry loaded firearms into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

…The new measures in Tennessee and the three other states come after two landmark Supreme Court rulings that citizens have an individual right – not just in connection with a well-regulated militia – to keep a loaded handgun for home defense.

…State Representative Curry Todd, a Republican who first introduced the guns-in-bars bill here, said that carrying a gun inside a tavern was never the law’s primary intention. Rather, he said, the law lets people defend themselves while walking to and from restaurants.

The purported mitigating factor here is the gun-toter cannot drink alcohol in the establishment. If these laws are challenged in states with big urban city centers and gun restrictions fall by the wayside, you can imagine the chaos that will ensue.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Kidman in Tennessee Williams Revival

NICOLE KIDMAN X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMAcademy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman will return to Broadway as one of Tennessee Williams’s most enduring heroines, Alexandra Del Lago, in the revival of Sweet Bird of Youth.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

Lesbian’s Home Burned Down in Tennessee

Many of us who are LGBT have endured poor treatment — slights, looks, subtle hostilities.  Few of us have our homes burned down because of it.  This is what appears to have happened several days ago to Carol Ann and Laura Stutte, long-time life partners who have been together for 15 years and are raising a daughter in the small town of Vonore, Tennessee, just south of Knoxville.

This lesbian couple reported that they received numerous threats from a neighbor–including a threat to “kill them and burn down their house”–over the span of the five years they lived in the town.  On September 4th, their house was burned down to the ground and their garage was spray painted with the word “queers.

Gratefully Carol and Laura Stutte were away when the house burned. But they lost everything.

Police have confirmed that this was a case of arson.  Investigators are currently conducting interviews about the crime.  Tennessee has a hate crime penalty enhancement law that includes property hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation – the federal hate crime statute does not include property crimes.  HRC encourages state prosecutors to utilize this penalty enhancement when prosecuting the perpetrator(s).

Find out more about this horrible hate crime and to learn how you can help the couple that has lost everything.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

TENNESSEE: Lesbian Couple’s Home Torched, Homophobic Neighbor Suspected

A lesbian couple in rural Tennessee returned from a trip to Nashville to find their home burned to the ground and the word “QUEERS” spray-painted on their garage.

The couple feels they’re victims of a hate crime, and were targeted because they’re gay. They’ve been together for more than 15 years. Carol Stutte has an adult daughter from a previous relationship who also lived with them. At the time of the fire, they were in Nashville celebrating their fifth anniversary in Tennessee. “My daughter was supposed to be here. She was sick,” Carol Stutte said. “I was grateful my baby girl didn’t get killed in this fire. She would have been trapped in the basement.” The couple moved to Vonore from Oklahoma. Carol Stutte says her partner is too afraid to come back to the property since the fire. She says they’ve been harassed all five years they’ve lived there by one neighbor. She also says recently the neighbor threatened to kill them and burn down their house,” Stutte said. “I knew we had been threatened, but we never thought anything would be followed through.”

The local police and the state arson squad are investigating the fire as a possible hate crime. PFLAG has sent out a call for donations of cash and household items for the women. The Tennessee Valley Unitarian Church is also taking donations.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright