Wendy Davis delays announcement on whether she’ll run to focus on family

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State Sen. Wendy Davis

It’s no secret that state Sen. Wendy Davis is the favorite candidate among Democrats for governor in 2014, but the public will have to wait a little longer for an announcement on whether she’ll run.

Davis was expected to announce her future plans after Labor Day on whether she was going to run for her Senate seat again or for governor, but her father’s health has made her delay the decision until at least the end of next month.

Davis’ father, Jerry Russell, has been in critical condition at Fort Worth’s Harris Methodist Hospital after complications from recent abdominal surgery that turned into pneumonia. In light of this, David told the Texas Tribune she was postponing an announcement to focus on her family.

“I had hoped to make public my decision about that next week, but with everything that’s going on with my dad, I won’t be doing that,” she said. “It’s likely it will be late September before I do.”

A longtime LGBT ally, Davis’ decision will have a great impact on the LGBT community. If she runs for governor, openly gay Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns would be the likely Democratic challenger to the many Republican candidates who have announced they plan to challenge Davis for her District 10 Senate seat.

—  Anna Waugh

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott endorses anti-LGBT discrimination

Texas AG Greg Abbott

Greg Abbott

Greg Abbott is at least 13 years behind Wendy Davis on gay rights.

In a move that highlights his differences on LGBT issues with his potential Democratic opponent in the 2014 Texas governor’s race, Abbott on Monday came out against a proposed ordinance that would ban anti-LGBT discrimination in San Antonio.

Thirteen years ago next month, state Sen. Davis, who was then a member of the Fort Worth City Council, voted in favor of an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations. (The Fort Worth ordinance was amended to include transgender protections in 2009, following the Rainbow Lounge raid.)

Austin and Dallas have also had similar ordinances for years, but a proposal to be voted on next month in San Antonio has generated plenty of controversy. According to The Dallas Morning News, Abbott believes the San Antonio ordinance “would run afoul of the Texas Constitution, which was amended in 2005 to define marriage as between a man and a woman.”

“Religious expression is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and this ordinance is also contrary to the clearly expressed will of the Texas Legislature,” Abbott said. “Although the proposal has been couched in terms of liberty and equality, it would have the effect of inhibiting the liberty of expression and equality of opportunity for San Antonians.”

Abbott joins three Republicans who are vying to replace him as attorney general in coming out against the ordinance, and his position is hardly surprising. As AG he’s intervened in court to block gay couples from divorcing in Texas, and earlier this year he issued an advisory opinion saying he believes domestic partner benefits offered by local government entities are illegal.

Davis has said she’ll decide whether to run for governor in 2014 or seek re-election to her Senate seat sometime after Labor Day.

—  John Wright

Joel Burns may seek Wendy Davis’ Senate seat if she runs for governor

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Last week we mentioned that if state Sen. Wendy Davis decides to run for governor, one of the possible candidates to replace her in the Senate would be openly gay Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns. At the time, however, Burns wasn’t commenting on a a possible bid for Davis’ District 10 seat in Tarrant County.

But this week, Burns told The Dallas Morning News (subscription required) “that he’s been approached by operatives about a possible campaign to replace Davis.”

“It’s something that I have thought about,” Burns said. “But until she decides what she wants to do, I can’t give it more than that.”

—  John Wright

WATCH: ‘Blurred Lines’ parody just made for left-leaning Texans

This is a funny parody of Robin Thicke’s viral “Blurred Lines” video, for a few reasons: First, it’s about Fort Worth’s Wendy Davis. Second, it continually calls Rick Perry a dick. Third, unlike Thicke’s video, it objectifies men, which we’re all in favor of. (And if you like it, there are plenty of sexy-men-filled versions on YouTube.) Enjoy!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Wendy Davis signs Chance Browning’s ‘Gays for Vajays’ sign

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Not surprisingly, our Chance Browning was busy standing with Texas women and Wendy Davis all over the Metroplex on Wednesday, and even less surprisingly, Browning and pal Andrew Phifer fenagled a photo opp with their latest political crush. They even convinced her to autograph Chance’s “Gays for Vajays” sign, below. Is there no end to the pricelessness?

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—  John Wright

PHOTOS: LGBT activists speak during pro-choice rally at Dallas City Hall

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Gay couple Mark ‘Major’ Jiminez and Beau Chandler, who gained notoriety last year when they were arrested for seeking a marriage license at the Dallas County Clerk’s Office, attend a pro-choice rally at City Hall on Tuesday night.

GetEQUAL TX was among the organizers of the Texans Unified for Change rally outside Dallas City Hall on Wednesday night.

About 50 people gathered to protest the anti-abortion bill working its way through the special session of the Legislature.

Activist Cd Kirven carried a wire hanger to symbolize women having to resort to dangerous methods of abortion.

Speakers included Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus co-chair Erin Moore and Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance President Patti Fink.

Moore, wearing pink Wendy Davis sneakers, encouraged the crowd to become more involved in politics to help get more people like Davis in office and those who oppose women’s rights out of office.

“It’s easy for men to write a bill to attack women’s rights,” Fink said.

—  David Taffet

Wendy Davis honored by Stonewall Dems before heading back to Austin

State Sen. Wendy Davis addreses protesters at a rally in Austin Monday. (Texas Democratic Party via Facebook)

State Sen. Wendy Davis addreses protesters at a rally in Austin on Monday. (Texas Democratic Party via Facebook)

Thousands of opponents of anti-abortion legislation stormed the state Capitol Monday to protest Republican-backed legislation reintroduced during the Legislature’s second special session.

The legislation would ban abortions after 20 weeks and close the majority of abortion clinics in the state that provide women with other services.

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, has led the charge against the legislation since her 13-hour filibuster last week killed the legislation. Gov. Rick Perry then called a second special session to address abortion and transportation that started Monday.

Davis, who has been a champion for LGBT rights, was recognized for her hard work in Austin over the weekend at Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats’ Spring Extravaganza. About 150 people attended to hear Congressman Marc Veasey and state Rep. Chris Turner address key issues facing the state and nation.

Davis spoke briefly about her determination last week and the need to continue to fight in the weeks to come in the special session after she was presented with Tarrant Stonewall’s Hero Award.

Stonewall President Felipe Guttierez said the group voted on award recipients before Davis’ filibuster but said it demonstrated her commitment to her constituents and to Texas.

“I think it only added more to why she’s a champion for Senate District 10 and for women and our community,” he said.

Former Tarrant County Democratic Party Chairman Steve Maxwell received the Lifetime Achievement Award and Lisa Thomas received the Member of the Year Award.

—  Anna Waugh

#StandwithWendy at Tarrant County Stonewall’s Saturday extravaganza

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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.

For more information, go here.

—  Anna Waugh

People’s filibuster of Texas Senate was democracy at its finest

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This post comes to us from José Andrés Araiza, an Austin resident and board member for Equality Texas: 

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst labeled us “an unruly mob using Occupy tactics.” I call our actions nothing short of a historic expression of democratic principals.

On the morning of June 25, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis began a 13-hour filibuster of Senate Bill 5. The bill would have eliminated abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and required all abortions be initiated in what amounts to surgical centers. This bill would force the closure of all but a handful of abortion providers in the second biggest state in the union. Women in rural areas would have to drive hundreds of miles to exercise their right to have an abortion.

At 11:18 a.m., Sen. Davis began her filibuster. Her goal was to keep talking until midnight to essentially kill the bill during a special session of the Texas Legislature. No bathroom breaks. No leaning on her desk. No sitting. Gov. Rick Perry put abortion as one of the many issues for lawmakers to address during the session.

Shortly after 10:30 p.m., Texas Republican senators used a series of parliamentary tactics to forcibly end Sen. Davis’ filibuster. Democrats in turn used a series of tactics to delay a vote on SB 5 but their tactics were running out as 11:45 p.m. approached.

I sat in the Senate gallery looking directly at Sen. Davis and her democratic colleagues. I will never forget the desperate look on those lawmakers’ faces. The filibuster had come so far and only 15 minutes remained. They were staring right at us. We knew something had to be done to kill SB 5.

But what could the citizens seated in the gallery do? We aren’t lawmakers. We were a group of men and women, grandparents, students and professionals. Voters elected the people below us to debate and decide legislation like SB 5.

—  John Wright

WATCH LIVE: Texas Sen. Wendy Davis filibusters anti-abortion bill

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis

UPDATE: Led by Davis, and with the help of protesters in the Senate gallery, Democrats were ultimately able to run out the clock and defeat the bill, the Texas Tribune reports.

Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, who happens to be an LGBT ally, is in the midst of a 13-hour filibuster aimed at killing sweeping GOP-backed abortion restrictions in Texas. Davis must remain standing throughout the filibuster, without leaning on anything, and cannot take a bathroom break. She has been warned twice for breaking the rules — most recently for getting help from a colleague adjusting her back brace. If Davis receives one more warning and it’s upheld, the Senate can vote on whether to end the filibuster, which must continue until the end of the special session at midnight to be successful. Davis’ filibuster is now a trending topic nationally on Twitter and has spawned accounts such as @WendysBackBrace. Watch Davis’ historic filibuster live below.

—  John Wright