Edie Windsor loses to the Pope

Time coverGay rights hero Edie Windsor placed third in Time magazine’s Person of the Year ranking. Pope Francis was given the honor. Edward Snowden was listed as No. 2.

During the past year, the new pope has tried to dial down the anti-gay rhetoric.

He said the church has become “obsessed” with abortion, gay marriage and contraception. He has tried to shift the church’s focus to the poor and oppressed.

“If a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge,” the Pope said.

His position on same-sex marriage, however, didn’t change the church’s stance.

“The teaching of the church … is clear,” he said.

In it’s announcement, Time called Windsor “the unlikely activist.”

“In her ninth decade, she started a judicial odyssey, fighting a battle she never expected to wage — let alone win,” Time wrote. “Now she’s the matriarch of the gay-rights movement.”

For many in the LGBT community, however, Windsor has had a more immediate and personal affect.

Anti-gay Sen. Ted Cruz came in at No. 5 as “the barn burner.”

—  David Taffet

Edie Windsor is Time Person of the Year finalist

Windsor.Edith

Edie Windsor, right

Edie Windsor is among the 10 finalists for Time magazine’s Person of the Year.

Windsor is the New York widow who was required to pay $265,000 in estate taxes because she was married to a woman rather than a man. She filed suit, challenging the Defense of Marriage Act. The U.S. Supreme Court found in her favor in June.

That decision has had dramatic effect on the lives of gays and lesbians. Couples may now file joint tax returns and receive from Social Security as a surviving spouse. The military is granting equal benefits to same-sex couples. A number of corporations, such as ExxonMobil, finally offered partner benefits as a result of the ruling.

She would be the first woman named Person of the Year in 30 years and the only openly LGBT person ever named. The Person of the Year will be announced tomorrow.

According to GLAAD, the other finalists on the list are:

• Bashar Assad — President of Syria
• Jeff Bezos — founder of Amazon
• Sen. Ted Cruz
• Miley Cyrus
• Pope Francis
• President Obama
• Hassan Rouhani — President of Iran
• Kathleen Sebelius — Secretary of Health and Human Services
• Edward Snowden — NSA leaker

—  David Taffet

Van Cliburn returns to Tchaikovsky Competition for 1st time since winning it 53 years ago

It may be hard to believe today, but in 1958, a piano concert was as big on the international news pages of the world as the 1980 U.S.-Russia Olympic semifinal hockey game would be decades later. That’s when a kid from Kilgore, Texas, named Van Cliburn attended the first Tchaikovsky Piano Competition — named for the great Russian composer, and intended as a display of the prowess in the arts of the Soviet Union — and walked away with the top prize, following an eight-minute ovation.

The impact was huge — a Time magazine cover; a ticker-tape parade in New York City — and Cliburn has been a giant in classical music since then. He now lends his name to his own piano competition, which has become one of the most celebrated and revered events of its kind in the world.

The Tchaikovsky was 53 years ago, but apparently, it’s never too late to go back. Monday, the gay piano virtuoso boarded a plane for Moscow, returning to the competition for the first time since his historic win. (He’s visited Russia many times over the years, but never returned to the competition.)

I can hardly imagine what it was like, at the height of the Cold War, for a 23-year-old Texan to travel all that way barely six months after the launch of Sputnik, which ratcheted up hostilities and the space race between the sole superpowers of the day, as the eyes of the world looked on. Just to go there was heroic; to perform, and perform well, superhuman; to win it … well, it’s legend. For Cliburn to return now — and to be a Russian in the room when he takes to the stage for the first time in more than a half-century? Well, it gives me goosebumps.

Congrats to Van Cliburn.

See Van Cliburn receive an award from President Barack Obama here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Parkinson’s drug may cure heterosexuality

A drug used to treat some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease may cure heterosexuality, according to Time magazine. The drug, Requip, is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.

According to the report, Didier Jambart, 51, of Nantes, France, began taking Requip in 2003. He soon began displaying what his attorney called uncharacteristic behavior. The (0pposite-sex) married father of two attempted suicide, became addicted to online gambling and became a gay sex addict. He stopped being a gay sex addict when he stopped taking the drug, he claims.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists says that compulsive behaviors are a known side-effect of the drug.

Jambart is suing the drug company for more than $600,000. We think heterosexuals should be paying for the opportunity to be cured.

—  David Taffet

Reporter asks players if they’d go gay in exchange for Super Bowl ring at Media Day

In today’s Dallas Voice we have a Super Bowl-related story about homophobia in the NFL (image above). And while we didn’t make it to Super Bowl Media Day at Cowboys Stadium on Tuesday, it sounds like a reporter from 105.3 The Fan had the gay angle covered. According to Time magazine, the unidentified reporter from the Dallas radio station was going around asking players if they’d go gay in exchange for a Super Bowl ring:

But in a new media day low, a reporter from Dallas-area sports radio station, 105.3 The FAN, asked one Packer if he would turn gay if that would guarantee a Super Bowl victory for the team.

To confirm I heard this line of questioning correctly, I watched this reporter interview a Steelers player during Pittsburgh’s media session. First inquiry: “Who has the biggest wiener on the team?” She asked the player who his favorite celebrity was. When he told her it was Denzel Washington, she asked if he would “hook up” with Denzel in exchange for a Super Bowl ring.

It continued. She asked if he would “French kiss” his father for a million dollars, and implored him to “describe a vagina.”

And here’s a gay reaction to Time‘s report from Cyd Ziegler Jr. at OutSports.com: “I’m not sure why asking someone if they would have gay sex for a Super Bowl ring is so “low.” Heck, I’d have sex with Denzel Washington in exchange for a Super Bowl ring any day!”

—  John Wright

Report: Gay Dallas couple’s Skype wedding declared invalid by District of Columbia

Mark Reed-Walkup, left, and Dante Walkup

We’ve got a message in to Mark Reed-Walkup to try to confirm what we just read at TBD.com, which is reporting that Reed-Walkup’s recent Skype wedding has been declared invalid by the District of Columbia.

If you’ll remember, Reed-Walkup and his longtime partner, Dante Walkup, were married in October in a ceremony that was held in Dallas but officiated via Skype from D.C. Reed-Walkup told us previously that officials in D.C. had found nothing in the law that would prohibit such an e-marriage, but apparently they’ve change their minds. Amanda Hess reports at TBD.com:

On Oct. 10, Mark Reed and Dante Walkup made history by marrying in D.C. (where same-sex marriage is legal) at a ceremony in Texas (where it isn’t). The arrangement took some technological finesse: As Reed and Walkup exchanged vows in a Dallas hotel, D.C. marriage officiant Sheila Alexander-Reid oversaw the ceremony from the District, linking up with the couple online via Skype. The “e-marriage” inspired coverage in the Washington Post, CNN, and Time magazine. Now, it’s caught the attention of the D.C. marriage bureau.

“The D.C. marriage bureau kicked back the certificate we had filed,” Alexander-Reid told me today. Alexander-Reid says that she and the couple both received letters from D.C. Superior Court stating that it had determined the marriage license filed following the Skype ceremony to be invalid.

“The return is invalid because it has come to the attention of the court that the subject contracting parties to the marriage and you, the officiant, did not all personally participate in a marriage ceremony performed within the jurisdictional and territorial limits of the District of Columbia,” the letter reads. Alexander-Reid also received a fresh marriage license from the court. Alexander-Reid could use it to re-officiate a Reed-Walkup ceremony, should they choose to marry again in D.C., this time “with all parties . . . in physical attendance.”

UPDATE: Reed-Walkup reports via text message that he’ll call Instant Tea back as soon as he’s done with a CNN interview.

—  John Wright

Gay Dallas couple’s Skype wedding goes viral

Mark Reed, left, and Dante Walkup

We spoke briefly this afternoon with Mark Reed, before he had to hang up because of a conference call with producers from CNN, which is set to interview Reed and his husband, Dante Walkup, on Tuesday.

Our story last week about Reed and Walkup’s Skype wedding has gone viral, getting picked up by media outlets from The Washington Post to Time magazine.

Reed said CNN’s interview — itself conducted via Skype — will air at 12:20 p.m. Tuesday Dallas time.

“It’s gotten wild,” Reed said. “I really didn’t think it would go this far. It’s good because the more times you can put real faces on stories about couples who are in love, it changes hearts and minds. It’s exciting.”

Despite all the national attention, one media outlet that hasn’t picked up the story is The Dallas Morning News, which is also refusing to publish their wedding announcement, Reed noted. (More on this later.)

Reed and Walkup attended a symposium on e-marriage this weekend at Michigan State University’s School of Law, where experts are pushing for state statutes to bolster the legality of e-marriage.

“The law school’s trying to find one state to introduce legislation and get it passed, and they feel like Vermont would be the best choice,” Reed said, adding that openly gay Vermont State Rep. Bill Lippert was on hand for the symposium. “He came to the symposium skeptical, but once he heard our story, it really touched him and he got really excited about it.”

—  John Wright

Mayor Annise Parker makes Time's list of 'World's Most Influential People'

Annise Parker is #13 on most influential list
Annise Parker is No. 13, just behind Glenn Beck

Houston’s hot and sexy new mayor, Annise Parker, came in at No. 13 on the Time magazine list of “World’s Most Influential People.”

In the list of leaders, Parker ranks right after Fox broadcaster Glenn Beck but before Tidjane Thiam, a former politician from Cote d’Ivoire and current head of British insurer Prudential that is buying AIG’s Asian unit.

Really? People know who the head of Prudential in Great Britain is?

And Barack Obama? He’s only No. 4. Brazilian President Luis da Silva gets the top spot. J. T. Wang, president of Acer computers is No. 2 and Admiral Mike Mullen is No. 3.

Um, I think the President of the United States is more important than the president of the number two computer maker.

—  David Taffet