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Texas Bar Changes Ownership, Kicks Out Gay Patrons: VIDEO

Red Room
The Red Room opened as a gay bar in Austin, but according to former bartender Josh Moon the new owners decided they wanted to re-identify as a straight bar. Last Friday, they began kicking out gay people.

According to Moon, he and the other bartenders were told that Red Room is no longer a gay bar and he allegedly overheard a security guard explicitly telling potential customers, "This is not a gay bar anymore, you're not welcome. You can't come in."

The owners of Red Room, speaking through a lawyer, claimed that a private party who had rented out the bar for the night were the ones who made the "no gays allowed" decision, something they had a legal right to do, though a Facebook invite for the event called it a "Grand Opening", not a private function. 

Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identification is illegal in Austin under City Code § 5-2-4 subsection (B), and thus could result in legal trouble for the bar if they are found to be in violation. A video of the news report from KHOU can be seen AFTER THE JUMP...

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Austin Police Release Photo Of Suspect In Gay Man's Death: VIDEO

Austin police have released surveillance images of the suspect in the death of gay resident David Villarreal. Villarreal, 36, was found dead in his downtown condo on Monday with signs of trauma to his body after meeting the suspect at a local gay club over the weekend.

The Austin American-Statesman reports:

AustinThe images show Villarreal and a man in his 20s to 30s (pictured right) entering the condo tower at 360 Nueces Street sometime early Saturday morning, a police official said.

Police believe the victim and suspect met Friday night at the nearby downtown club Oilcan Harry's and made their way back to the tower early Saturday. The suspect was then seen leaving the towers about an hour later.

"I have a strong feeling we'll catch this guy," said Sgt. Brian Miller.

Investigators believe Villarreal may have been dead two days before a friend called police expressing concern.

Police declined to elaborate on Villarreal's cause of death, or other details in the case.

Watch a news report on the developing case, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Your Morning Wake-Up Call is an 80-Year-old Bridge Implosion: VIDEO


Because there's nothing quite like a bridge demolition to get your heart pumping in the morning, here's what happened yesterday in Marble Falls, Texas, a town approximately 45 miles northwest of Austin.

The 80-year-old US 281 bridge over the Colorado River was imploded in a controlled explosion lasting a split second in front of a group of enthusiastic spectators. The blast cut fiber optic cables, cutting off telephone and communications services to a wide area.

This was not a SXSW-sanctioned event.


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


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...


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


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...

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


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.


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

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