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Police Release Surveillance Video as LGBT Community Marches Against Anti-Gay Assault in Austin: VIDEO

Austin

Austin's LGBT community marched against hate in response to an alleged anti-gay assault that happened in the Texas capital two weeks ago during Pride weekend, KHOU reports:

In an rally on Saturday, they marched to the Capitol, spoke out against hate crimes and promised the attacker in the video that he will be arrested.

"I promise you, they will find you," Nick Soret said in a speech at the capitol.

Oppleman still struggles to talk about the night he was attacked. It’s something Wyll Silbas said Oppleman won’t forget.

Austin, TX police released a surveillance video of the assault late last week, the Dallas Voice reported:

The video shows Nick Soret ordering pizza when a man speaks to him, then knocks his pizza out of his hands. His friend, Andrew Oppleman, intervene and the suspect begins punching Oppleman. Oppleman lost six teeth and suffered a fractured jaw in the attack.

The video was obtained from the pizza truck owner.

The video shows another man who walks up with the attacker. Police arrested Jin Yung Park, 31, that night for public intoxication, but since the incident, he has moved and hasn’t returned police phone calls.

Watch a report on the march and rally and teh surveillance video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Austin2

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Austin, Texas Becomes First City in Texas to Pass Resolution Supporting Marriage Equality: VIDEO

Marriage_austin

Austin yesterday became the first city in Texas to pass a resolution in support of marriage equality, KUT News reports:

The measure passed the City Council unanimously this morning.

Before the vote, local civil rights groups declared their support for the resolution, which was sponsored by Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and co-sponsored by Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Council member Laura Morrison.

At a press conference, Mayor Pro Tem Cole spoke about the evolution of rights in Texas, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King: “… Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. Whatever afflicts once directly also afflicts one indirectly.”

Unfortunately, the attitude in Austin is an exception to the rest of the state:

The practical implications of the resolution are unlikely to be great. In 2005, Texas voters approved an amendment to the state constitution, banning same sex marriage and civil unions. Travis County was the only county in the state where a majority did not support the amendment.

Watch KXAN's report on the vote, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Austin, Texas Becomes First City in Texas to Pass Resolution Supporting Marriage Equality: VIDEO" »


Gay Bartender Attacked Leaving Oilcan Harry's in Austin, TX: VIDEO

Benoit

A bartender at Austin, Texas gay bar Oilcan Harry's was attacked by two men after leaving work on Saturday night, KVUE reports:

Steven Benoit says he began walking home from the bar around 3:15 a.m. when he noticed the men following him. He says one of the men punched him in the back of the head so hard his glasses fell off his face. He says the men chased him for several blocks through downtown before he jumped into a taxi and waited for police. "I don't know if it's because they saw me leaving a bar, they thought I was gay and they were going to attack me, or they thought I had money," said Benoit.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

A similar attack on two of Benoit's gay softball teammates last year inspired a massive march against hate in Austin.

Continue reading "Gay Bartender Attacked Leaving Oilcan Harry's in Austin, TX: VIDEO" »


UPDATED: Texas Man Kills Daughter's Girlfriend and Her Mother Over Lesbian Relationship

UPDATED: Austin PD presser, AFTER THE JUMP...

An Austin, Texas man upset that his daughter was in a lesbian relationship has been arrested for the murder of his daughter's girlfriend and the girlfriend's mother, the Austin Statesman reports:

Hurtado

Jose Alfonso Aviles, 45 , went to the house in the 7100 block of Dixie Drive where Norma Hurtado, 24, lived with her mother and shot both women after knocking on the door, officials said Tuesday. He has been charged with capital murder and could receive life in prison or the death penalty if convicted.

Police said they are looking for a second unidentified man who witnesses said fled the scene with Aviles in a green sport utility vehicle.

Aviles' daughter, who was in the home at the time, found Norma Hurtado and her mother, 57-year-old Maria Hurtado , after they were shot, according to police and court documents.

The daughter's "family was quite upset over this relationship," Austin police Lt. Gena Curtis said Tuesday. "This had been an ongoing dispute between these families and it turned tragic, into a horrific act of violence with the death of two individuals."

The daughter told police that she and Norma Hurtado had been involved in a lesbian relationship, which her father did not approve of, and that there had been disturbances between Aviles and Norma Hurtado, according to an arrest affidavit.

Authorities have not determined whether the murder will be classified a hate crime.

I've posted the press conference from the Austin Police Department, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "UPDATED: Texas Man Kills Daughter's Girlfriend and Her Mother Over Lesbian Relationship" »


12-Year Old Creates Pillow Project, Auction for Marriage Equality

Pillow

12-year-old Augusta 'Gus' Dexheimer is one of those young activists who gives you hope about the future of this country and for the future of LGBT equality.

I'll let her explain, from her Facebook page: Gus

Hello all! Gus Dexheimer here. Would you like to help me overturn Proposition 8, which is the law that keeps gay marriage illegal in California? If you or any of your friends can’t get married—which is unconstitutional—you might be interested in raising some money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, by making a wedding pillow. I will now explain.

In February, I will have my Bat Mitzvah for which I am required to do a service project. When I first heard that gay marriage was illegal, I was nine. I was simply appalled. I don’t know how old I was when I learned about gay and lesbian relationships but it was never something to hide in my family. My sister is straight, I am straight, my parents are straight, but that never has and never will matter. So when my Bat Mitzvah rolled around and I had met still more gay and lesbian people, I began to think about what I could do for them.

The Pillow Project is this:

Because I know so many artists and crafty people, I am asking you to make pillows for a silent auction in January. I bet you’re familiar with the normal wedding pillow. It has two rings on it and a little boy carries it down the aisle looking cute. 

My pillows will be much more creative and exciting and they can be made out of anything. (See FAQ) They will honor same-sex marriage. I am going to give the money we raise to the American Foundation for Equal Rights, because I think that they will actually use it to make a change.

In response, more than 50 people have created pillows for Gus' benefit.

You can check out, and bid on, all the pillows that folks have created for the project, HERE.

Here's Gus' Facebook page for the event.

The live auction is this Sunday at 1211 Ravine Drive in Austin, TX from 3:00-5:00 pm. The online auction is ongoing now but ends this Sunday as well. I encourage you to give it your support.


Texas Appeals Court Upholds Divorce of Lesbian Couple

Attorney General Greg Abbott does not have jurisdiction to appeal the divorce of a lesbian couple in Austin last year, a Texas state appeals court has ruled.

The Dallas Voice reports: Abbott

A Travis County district judge had granted the divorce to lesbian couple Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly last February. Naylor and Daly married in Massachusetts in 2004 before returning to Texas and adopting a child. Abbott’s office appealed their divorce, arguing that judges in Texas cannot grant same-sex divorces because the state doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

Abbott won an appeal last year challenging another same-sex divorce in Dallas, where the 5th District Court of Appeals ruled in his favor.

Apparently the court ruled the way it did because the AG intervened after the divorce was granted, and neither party challenged the state constitution or Family Code.


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