‘Milk’ screenwriter Dustin Lance Black hopes LGBT Texans respond to video challenge

Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black is trying to get the word out all over about his latest endeavor — especially to his one-time home state of Texas.

“I think this project is so important,” the Milk screenwriter told Dallas Voice this week. “People need to hear the stories of our LGBT brethren and straight allies from all areas. If you wanna change minds, you have to intro yourself and tell your story.”

Which is what he’s calling for people across America to do for the Courage Campaign’s Testimony initiative. And the former San Antonian hopes some Lone Star State peeps will get on board.

—  Rich Lopez

MD Senator on anti-gay testimony: ‘What I witnessed from the opponents of the bill was appalling’

Yesterday, Tim did a post on how the testimony of Maggie Gallagher and other anti-gay leaders helped convince Maryland State Senator Jim Bronchin to support marriage equality.

Today, Bronchin issued a statement to announce his support for the bill, which we got from Equality Maryland:

“What I witnessed from the opponents of the bill was appalling.” Brochin said. “Witness after witness demonized homosexuals, vilified the gay community, and described gays and lesbians as pedophiles. I believe that sexual orientation is not a choice, but rather people are born one way or another The proponents of the bill were straightforward in wanting to be simply treated as everyone else, and wanted to stop being treated as second-class citizens.

Brochin added, “For me, the transition to supporting marriage has not been an easy one, but the uncertainty, fear, and second-class status that gays and lesbians have to put up with is far worse and clearly must come to an end.”

Keep it up, Maggie. Testify. You’re getting us votes. We need 24 votes in the Maryland Senate. Last week, the Washington Post whip count showed 20 votes on our side. Make that 21 now.

Maggie is zipping around the country to spew her gay-bashing. She was in Rhode Island yesterday. But, remember, when she had the chance, Maggie wouldn’t testify — under oath — during the Prop. 8 trial. That’s probably because, as David Boies noted, “a witness stand is a lonely place to lie.”




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

What’s Brewing: Anti-gay activist calling for boycott of Chili’s; Maryland marriage marathon

1. In response to the gay boycott of Chick-fil-A, anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera is calling for a boycott of Dallas-based Chili’s. LaBarbera, founder of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, cites Chili’s support of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which he accuses of promoting polyamory: “If you want to take a small step to stand up for family and marriage, take your family out to Chick-fil-A — and drive right by when you see a Chili’s,” LaBarbera says.

2. A Maryland Senate committee heard more than seven hours of testimony Tuesday on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. The president of the Senate puts the bill’s chances of passage at 60- 70 percent, and a vote could come next week. Maryland would be the sixth state, in addition to the District of Columbia, to legalize same-sex marriage.

3.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Chick-fil-A skewered; Lady Gaga v. Justin Bieber; Ind. marriage ban advances

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Signs like the one above — an apparent reference to Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay ties — have cropped up on telephone poles around the West Virginia University campus, which is home to one of the chain’s franchises. We happen to think the signs are brilliant, but apparently they might be a little too heady for West Virginia, where police say they could represent a hate crime.

2. Our new anthem — Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” — will be released two days early, on Friday, according to a tweet from Gaga on Monday. Smart move. No matter how good the song really is, it will undoubtedly seem utterly amazing compared to Friday’s other notable pop release — Justin Bieber’s 3D biopic Never Say Never.

3. An Indiana House panel voted 8-4 Monday to advance a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. Perhaps the lawmakers were swayed by the following testimony from Micah Clark of the American Family Association, who compared marriage to the Super Bowl: “If any two teams could place it would lose the significance. It wouldn’t be so super.” Does anyone else sense that these folks are getting really desperate?

—  John Wright

Trial in gay Dallas man’s murder set for Jan. 24, but DA’s office warns that’s ‘subject to change’

Seth Winder

We received a message Monday from Karen Winder, the stepmother of Seth Winder, who’s awaiting trial on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Richard Hernandez, a gay man from Dallas who was brutally dismembered in September 2008.

Karen Winder, who wrote a book about the case, was wondering if we’d heard whether the trial — which has been repeatedly delayed for a variety of reasons — is expected to go forward as scheduled on Jan. 24.

“The prosector has never responded to me and [defense attorney Derek] Adame won’t talk to Rodney [Seth's father] or me and we have tried to contact him by phone and e-mail in the past,” Karen Winder wrote. “I could try to call his office again, but I doubt he will talk to us, though he talks to Seth’s mother.”

In response to Winder’s message, we contacted Jamie Beck, first assistant district attorney for Denton County, where the crime occurred. Here’s what Beck said:

“It is scheduled to go to trial Jan. 24, that week. Voir dire would probably be most of the day Monday, with testimony likely to begin Tuesday the 25th,” Beck said. “We are prepared to have that as an official trial date. However, those are always subject to change, and the reason why I have a little bit of hesitation this time, is because we’re able to access the visitation log at the jail, and his attorney has not been to see him in quite some time. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything — they can communicate in other fashions — but we’re just a little skeptical about his readiness for trial here in just a couple of weeks. But, we’re planning to go. There’s been no motion for a continuance filed at this point in time, and certainly none ruled on. So as of right now, it is a solid trial date. That’s always subject to change, and that’s the best I can give you right now.”

We’ve left a message for Adame and we’ll update once we hear back.

—  John Wright

TX: Joel Burns, gay councilman, gives emotional testimony against bullying

WFAA:

Burns began by showing photographs and names; suicide after suicide of young teenage boys who are dead because of bullying about their perceived homosexuality.

His voice thick with emotion, Burns told their stories:

Asher Brown, a 13-year-old Cypress, Texas boy who shot himself.

Justin Aaberg, a 15-year-old Minnesota boy who hung himself.

Seth Walsh, 13, whose mother found him hanging by a rope from a tree at their California home. Doctors couldn’t save him.

And then, Council member Burns talked about what happened to him when he was 13… years before he came out as a gay man.

“I was cornered after school by some older kids who roughed me up. They said that I was a fag, and that I should die and go to Hell where I belonged,” Burns said, adding that he had never told anyone before that moment that he had considered taking his own life.

Hat tip, GayPolitics.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Judge allows gay Ky. teen to testify against alleged attackers

MCKEE, Ky. — A Jackson County judge will let a teenager who says she is gay testify against friends charged with attacking her.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported District Judge Henria Bailey-Lewis ruled Monday, Aug. 2 that Cheyenne Williams will be allowed to testify against two other female teens. Defense had asked that Williams’ testimony be barred, saying her story to police was inconsistent.

Williams had Corinne Schwab and Ashley Sams charged with kidnapping and attempted murder. The court reduced the charges to fourth-degree assault and menacing.

Schwab and Sams face trial Aug. 19 in the incident, which took place April 16.

A third girl, who is a juvenile, is also charged.

—  John Wright

Tell them what you saw at the Rainbow Lounge

Three different official investigations — one by TABC, one by the Fort Worth Police Department and one by the U.S. Attorney General. That means that people who were there that night and saw all or part of what happened are being asked to give their testimony about what they saw to as many as three different agencies.

But to make that somewhat daunting task easier, activists in Fort Worth have arranged two “statement gathering events,” both in the fellowship hall at Celebration Community Church. One is from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. today (Tuesday) and the other is 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday. You can even go online to RainbowLoungeRaid.com to find tools to help you get your testimony organized before you even get there.

They have PDF downloads that include a diagram of the bar so you can mark where you were when the raid occurred and a list of specific questions that will help you focus your memories and give a more accurate description of what you saw.

They have also asked that no media attend the two sessions, allowing those who don’t want their identity known to have a degree of anonymity, and organizers have noted that you can give your testimony anonymously as well.

Celebration Community Church is located at 908 Pennsylvania Ave. Investigating officers from all three ongoing investigations will be in attendance along with free legal representatives to help advise you in giving your statement or to join you while you do so. If you have any concerns about anonymity or avoiding media coverage, please contact Pastor Carol West at 817-437-2233. If you have any questions regarding the witness process or the details of these two events, contact Tom Anable at 817-269-8399.

—  admin