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04/19/2007


Tuesday Speed Read: Houston, Log Cabin Republicans, Harvey Milk, Pennsylvania, David Cicilline, Kyrsten Sinema

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

HOUSTON’S PARKER GOES LONG:

ParkerHouston’s openly lesbian Mayor Annise Parker announced Monday that she is introducing a bill to city council that will prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The bill covers housing, city employment and contracts, and private employment for non-religious employers and companies with fewer than 50 employees. Parker had taken some heat recently when LGBT leaders believed she would propose a human rights ordinance that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing and public accommodations but not in private employment.

LOG CABIN GETS MAJOR BOOST:

LogcabinA trade group that represents such consumer technology giants as Google, Apple, and Microsoft announced Monday it will provide “financial support” to the national Log Cabin Republicans. Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President Gary Shapiro said he was “very proud of CEA’s groundbreaking financial support” for Log Cabin. “Our visible announcement,” said Shapiro, “proves that trade associations want lawmakers and policies that recognize the economic value of hiring the best and brightest minds, regardless of sexual orientation.” Shapiro did not disclose how much financial support CEA is giving Log Cabin or for how long. Log Cabin Executive Director Gregory Angelo said it was “great news” for his group, but he declined to discuss the numbers.

MILK STAMP UNVEILED:

MilkThe U.S. Postal Service revealed its design for the “forever” stamp honoring openly gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk Monday. The stamp includes a familiar close-up photo of Milk with a strip of rainbow colors in the top left-hand corner, along with his name across the top. The stamp will be officially recognized in a first-day-of-issue ceremony at the White House May 22.

PENNSYLVANIA RUSHING ALONG:

Lawyers pressing one of five lawsuits against Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex couples marrying has asked a federal judge in Harrisburg to forego a trial and, instead, make a decision based on briefs. TheACLU organized the lawsuit Whitewood v. Wolf on behalf of 11 couples who want to marry in Pennsylvania or have their marriage licenses from another state accepted by Pennsylvania. The ACLU said a trial became unnecessary after the state indicated it would call no witnesses to defend the ban. The state is not contesting the request for a decision based on the briefs and final briefs are due May 12, says the ACLU.

WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL STEPPING DOWN:

RuemmlerThe White House Monday announced President Obama has hired a new White House counsel: a former Clinton White House attorney, W. Neil Eggleston. Eggleston, whose focus has been primarily on Congressional investigations and corporate issues, will likely be a step down on LGBT issues. A New York Times profile April 6, credited Kathryn Ruemmler, the outgoing White House counsel, with having “helped develop an administration legal analysis about discrimination against gay people that was highly sympathetic to their rights.” The Times said Ruemmler’s analysis “formed the basis for Mr. Obama’s increasingly assertive backing or same-sex marriage rights.”

CicillineCICILLINE MEETS IN UKRAINE:

Openly gay U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.Is.) is one of eight members of the House Foreign Relations Committee in Ukraine to show U.S. support for Ukraine’s effort to remain independent of Russia. Cicilline and the others met with Vice President Joe Biden last night to discuss unrest in the region.

SINEMA FINISHES BOSTON IN 4:32: Openly bisexual U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) finished the Boston Marathon yesterday with a time of 4:32:32.

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Houston Mayor Annise Parker Introduces Ordinance Protecting LGBT City Workers From Discrimination

Today, Houston mayor Annise Parker introduced an Equal Rights Ordinance that would protect the city’s public and private employees from workplace, housing and public accommodation discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Anisse_parkerNews 92 FM reports that “Religious organizations would be exempt in order to avoid First Amendment issues," and that "Parker plans to present the draft ordinance to the Houston City Council Quality of Life Committee on April 30. Consideration by the full council is scheduled for May 7.”

John Wright at Lone Star Q adds that, “Parker previously indicated that an earlier draft of the proposed ordinance didn’t include citywide employment protections, leading to a major push by LGBT advocates to have the provision added.”

Wright also adds that Houston was “the only major city in Texas, and one of the few in the nation, that lacks citywide LGBT protections,” and that “Mayor Parker has exempted companies with fewer than 50 employees… three times higher than under the Austin or Dallas [non-discrimination ordinances], or under the federal [Employment Non-Discrimination Act].” Wright surmises that Parker may have had to do this in order to earn votes for the ordinance’s passage.

The Human Rights Campaign’s National Field Director Marty Rouse thanked Mayor Parker for leading on the issue:

“It is far past time to protect the citizens of Houston from all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. As the nation’s fourth largest city, Houston is an epicenter for business and culture. Cities thrive when all citizens feel welcome and part of the cultural fabric. Today, Mayor Parker told every Houstonian that they are a valued part of the city’s future."


Tuesday Speed Read: Supreme Court, Nebraska, Chai Feldblum, Peter TerVeer, Annise Parker

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

SUPREME REJECTION:

ElanephotographyThe U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to review a decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court that said the state human rights law does not violate the free speech rights of a wedding photographer who refused services to a same-sex couple. By not taking the case, Elane v. Willock, the Supreme Court leaves intact the state court ruling that said businesses that “choose to be public accommodations must comply” with the non-discrimination law. The photographer had claimed that she had religious beliefs that compelled her to refuse accommodations to the lesbian couple, and the case was viewed as one of many disputes heading to the U.S. high court that pitted religious beliefs against non-discrimination laws. But the case was never pitched as a free exercise case and that may be why the Supreme Court didn’t take it, said Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Jenny Pizer. Tobias Wolff, an attorney helping represent the lesbian couple, said, “No court in the United States has ever found that a business selling commercial services to the general public has a First Amendment right to turn away customers on a discriminatory basis.”

NEBRASKA COMES CLOSE:

NebraskaNebraska’s unicameral legislature voted 26 to 22 Monday to move a bill prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity to the floor. Unfortunately, supporters of the measure needed 33 votes to break the filibuster. The legislative session ends this week and local papers give little chance that the bill’s supporters might get the bill to the floor this year. The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Danielle Conrad of Lincoln, vowed to continue the push even though the state’s term limits won’t enable her to come back next session.

EEOC ON THE JOB:

FeldblumChai Feldblum, the openly lesbian member of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), told National Public Radio April 2 that the commission has “about 200 or so pending investigations right now that have been brought to us by LGBT people, and we're looking into those charges.” Feldblum noted the EEOC used to turn away LGBT complaints because there is no federal law prohibiting such discrimination. But she said the Commission is now looking into the complaints as forms of sex discrimination, which is prohibited by federal law. Whether the EEOC has authority to do so, she noted, will probably be determined at the U.S. Supreme Court.

SPEAKING OF SEX DISCRIMINATION:

A U.S. district court judge in Washington, D.C., entered a preliminary ruling April 4 in favor of a man who alleges he was fired from his federal job because he is gay. The order says the man, Library of Congress employee Peter TerVeer, can sue under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act –the title that, among other things, prohibits sex discrimination. The government’s brief in the case, Terveer v. Billington, is due June 3.

HOUSTON’S PARKER GETS HEAT:

ParkerHouston Mayor Annise Parker is being criticized for preparing to propose a human rights ordinance that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing and public accommodations but not in private employment. In her annual State of the City address April 3, Parker noted that Houston is “the only major city in the nation without civil rights protections for its residents.” She is expected to introduce the bill in May, and LoneStarQ says LGBT leaders expect the bill will not prohibit discrimination in private employers, as a way to ensure the bill passes city council. The head of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus told the Texas LGBT paper the omission amounts to “siding with the right of employers to discriminate.”

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Anti-Gay GOP Chair Who Attacked and Sued Houston Mayor Annise Parker Loses Re-Election Bid

Jared Woodfill, the anti-gay Harris County GOP Chair who sued the city of Houston and Mayor Annise Parker over Parker's decision to extend health and life insurance benefits to gay married spouses, lost his bid for reelection on Tuesday, LoneStarQ reports:

WoodfillWoodfill, a 12-year incumbent, lost to challenger Paul Simpson by a margin of 53 percent to 37 percent, with third-place finisher Wendy McPherson Berry capturing 10 percent.

Woodfill campaigned heavily on social issues, staging a “Stand for Marriage” press conference a day before the primary in response to a federal judge’s decision striking down Texas’ bans on same-sex marriage. The press conference was billed as a rally against “sodomite” marriage and a “would-be dictator” judge.

Woodfill also attacked Parker for marrying her partner in Palm Springs.

Said Parker of the attacks:

"Mr. Woodfill is a little like a windup doll. I say something and he goes on TV and says this is something I planned. It’s part of my grand agenda to promote gay rights...You don't commit 23 years of your life to someone to make a political statement...I took four days off. I had to leave my home state and make a little wedge of time to marry the woman I love. They can get over it."


Texas GOP State Senator Dan Patrick: 'Marriage= One Man & One Man'

Tweet_patrick

In his haste to post a homophobic tweet in response to a federal judge's ruling striking down Texas' ban on gay marriage this afternoon, GOP state Senator Dan Patrick made the perfect typo:

Patrick"MARRIAGE= ONE MAN & ONE MAN. Enough of these activist judges. FAVORITE if you agree. I know the silent majority out there is with us!"

Patrick is a candidate for lieutenant governor.

He immediately deleted the tweet and spent the rest of the afternoon clarifying what a big homophobe he is.

"Marriage is between one man and one woman. Period," he insisted in a later tweet.

An hour later, he tweeted out what he had meant to say: "MARRIAGE= ONE MAN & ONE WOMAN. Enough of these activist judges. FAVORITE if you agree. I know the silent majority out there is with us!

An hour after that, he added: "oops! #twittertypo. We have a new job opening on our campaign: social media intern. Send resume to contact (at) http://danpatrick.org ... I want to re-emphasize my long held position: Marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman. Period."

You may recall that Patrick recently attacked Houston Mayor Annise Parker for marrying her longtime partner Kathy Hubbard in Palm Springs.

Said Patrick at the time:

“I am not shocked that Mayor Parker decided to elope to California for a marriage that is unconstitutional in Texas. This is obviously part of a larger strategy of hers to turn Texas into California.”

Well, given the ruling today, I guess Parker's strategy is working!


Gay Houston Mayor Annise Parker Rips GOP Attacks on Her Marriage: 'Get Over It' —VIDEO

A_parker

Houston Mayor Annise Parker was attacked by several Republicans for leaving Texas last week to marry her longtime partner Kathy Hubbard in Palm Springs. The Republicans said her marriage is politically motivated, KHOU reports.

Said State Senator Dan Patrick of Parker's nuptials:

“I am not shocked that Mayor Parker decided to elope to California for a marriage that is unconstitutional in Texas. This is obviously part of a larger strategy of hers to turn Texas into California.”

WoodfillHarris County Republican Chairman Jared Woodfill (right) made similar accusations.

Parker blasted the criticism:

"Dan Patrick’s running a political campaign. And he wants to make the gay community a whipping boy in that political campaign. And he thought I was an appropriate target. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And I don’t think that’s unusual....

Said Parker of Woodfill (not in clip): "Mr. Woodfill is a little like a windup doll. I say something and he goes on TV and says this is something I planned. It’s part of my grand agenda to promote gay rights."

Parker is not having the criticism, nor should she:

"You don't commit 23 years of your life to someone to make a political statement...I took four days off. I had to leave my home state and make a little wedge of time to marry the woman I love. They can get over it."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Parker

Continue reading "Gay Houston Mayor Annise Parker Rips GOP Attacks on Her Marriage: 'Get Over It' —VIDEO" »


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