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Anti-Gay Group That Botched Houston Petition Aims To Put Plano LGBT Protections On Ballot: VIDEO

  Welch

The anti-gay group that led a botched petition drive against Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance now plans a similar effort in Plano, Texas — where the City Council passed LGBT protections this week. 

The Houston Pastor Council's petition to repeal the Houston ordinance was rejected by the city due to invalid signatures, prompting a lawsuit

Plano is more than 250 miles from Houston, but that's not stopping the Pastor Council, according to Houston Public Media:  

Director Dave Welch (above) says the group will work with pastors in the area to try to repeal the ordinance. He says law places unnecessary restrictions on businesses.

“There’s no evidence of any discrimination at all,” Welch says. “These categories are vague and undefined and place criminal penalties on something [businesses] can’t even defend themselves over.” ... 

The Pastor Council plans to place a referendum on the ballot to overturn Plano’s new law. A similar move in Houston has led to an ongoing legal battle over the Equal Rights Ordinance, which has yet to be enforced. 

To put the Plano ordinance on the ballot, the group would need to gather approximately 3,800 signatures before Jan. 17, city spokesman Scott Stoler told Towleroad. 

"We have not heard anything specific about an organized effort to repeal the ordinance," Stoler said Friday. 

Jmateer_webMeanwhile, state legislators have introduced "license to discriminate" bills to undermine local nondiscrimination ordinances in Texas, and the anti-gay Liberty Institute, based in Plano, reportedly is trolling for plaintiffs to challenge the ordinance. 

The Liberty Institute's Jeff Mateer (right) appeared on the Family Research Council's Washington Watch radio program on Friday. 

"In order to bring a legal challenge, you need a plaintiff, and so we're looking for people who are impacted by it," Mateer said. "And these would be, for instance, small business, folks who are bakers and photographers and florists, who this law now tells them you have to violate your religious beliefs. If someone wants to have a same-sex commitment ceremony in your facility, then the law says you're compelled to host them, you're compelled to bake their cake, you're compelled to provide their flowers, you're compelled to be their photographer." 

Note that the FRC and other hate groups are still referring to the Plano law as a "Bathroom Ordinance," even though it specifically exempts restrooms and similar facilities from its public accommodations provision. 

The restroom exemption has drawn criticism from transgender advocates, so it'll be interesting to see whether LGBT groups can unite in defense of the ordinance given its obvious flaws. 

In any case, Stoler also confirmed that the city will begin offering benefits to the same-sex partners of employees in January. In fact, Plano has even put together an informational video about the benefits. Watch it and weep below, Houston Pastor Council and Liberty Institute.

Also, listen to Mateer's interview with FRC, and watch his nauseating testimony against the ordinance, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Anti-Gay Group That Botched Houston Petition Aims To Put Plano LGBT Protections On Ballot: VIDEO" »


Gay-Friendly Corporations Refuse To Come Out Against 'License To Discriminate' Bills In Texas

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Eight companies with perfect scores on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index have contributed money to the campaign of Texas Republican Sen. Donna Campbell (above right), the author of legislation that seeks to enshrine a "license to discriminate" in the state Constituion. 

But none of these otherwise gay-friendly companies have come out in opposition to SJR 10, which Campbell filed early last month.

The Texas Observer reports: 

“SJR 10 is one of thousands of bills filed, we will weigh in and comment on bills when and if they are scheduled for hearing,” said Mona Taylor, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based AT&T Inc., which contributed $5,000 to Campbell’s campaign through its PAC this year.

Other companies with perfect HRC scores that have contributed to Campbell’s campaign in the last year include General Motors Co. ($2,500), Citigroup Inc. ($1,500), UnitedHealth Group Inc. ($,1000), the Raytheon Co. ($1,000), Merck & Co. ($1,000), Genentech Inc. ($750) and Astellas Pharma Inc. ($500).

On Monday, Plano added itself to the list of cities in Texas that have passed ordinances banning anti-LGBT discrimination. Two days later, state Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas (above left), filed a House version of Campbell's "license to discriminate" bill — and another lawmaker is threatening to introduce a similar measure, The Observer reports. 
 
Experts say the legislation would severely limit cities' ability to enforce nondiscrimination ordinances, since any business owner could claim an exemption if they have "a sincerely held religious belief." But the unintended consequences of the constitutional amendment could be far worse, according to Equality Texas' Daniel Williams.
 
Texas already has a statute, known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, that provides strong protections for religious freedom. But the proposed amendments would supplant the RFRA and go much further, overriding the statute's exceptions for things like zoning regulations and civil rights laws, according to The Observer
 

“A church or a synagogue or a mosque could conceivably be built anywhere with no concern to traffic flow or how much parking is available or building codes,” Williams said. “There are butchers that butcher in accordance with very specific religious laws, and they’re able to do that, but the city and the state enforce environmental protections that ensure we don’t wind up with giant ponds of blood in residential neighborhoods. If you take away the ability of cities to enforce those, it’s going to have an enormous negative impact on the quality of life for everyone in that area.”

Williams said Campbell has introduced similar measures in three previous legislative sessions. Given the senator's penchant for seeking to enshrine a "license to discriminate" in the state Constitution, the companies' campaign contributions could reasonably be interpreted as an endorsement of the legislation — at least until they publicly state otherwise. 


Houston Restaurant Apologized to Customer Who Complained About Their 'Faggot' Waiter: VIDEO

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A former waiter at Kelley's Country Cookin', a Houston restaurant, is speaking out about a disgusting incident that occurred during a shift he was working last week, ABC13 reports:

Blake Butler, 19, was a server at Kelley's Country Cookin' in Meadows Place up until last Wednesday when he says a fellow server got a note on the top of the receipt from two customers. It was about him and read "Don't want to listen to a (faggot) through my whole meal."

"I just thought it was disgusting," said Butler. Butler says it was offensive but just as offensive was how the manager reacted. 

"Instead of having my back and be like, you know, 'That's my employee. I can't have you talking about my employees like that.' She was like, 'Oh. It's OK. I'm sorry,'" Butler said.

Butler also says that he came out to his parents because he didn't want them to find out after hearing about it on the news.

Watch the report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Butler

Continue reading "Houston Restaurant Apologized to Customer Who Complained About Their 'Faggot' Waiter: VIDEO" »


Houston Gay Pride Organizers Agree To Reschedule Parade To Avoid 'Juneteenth' Conflict: VIDEO

Houston

Under intense pressure from African-American LGBT leaders and others, Pride Houston Inc. agreed Thursday night to reschedule the 2015 parade to avoid a conflict with Juneteenth, a nationally recognized holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the US.

As Towleroad reported Thursday, Pride Houston board members initially refused to reschedule the parade in a letter to African-American LGBT activists earlier this week. But pressure continued to build, and even the statewide group Equality Texas issued a statement Thursday calling for the parade to be rescheduled. 

Houston's parade has traditionally been held on the last weekend of June to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. However, this year the Pride Houston board decided to move the parade to the third weekend in June — to avoid any conflict with the Fourth of July holiday and to allow people from Houston to attend other Pride celebrations around the country.

But the new date, June 20, fell on the same weekend as Juneteenth (June 19), and black LGBT activists said the decision threatened to drive a wedge between the African-American and LGBT communities at a time when the city may soon vote on an Equal Rights Ordinance.

At a packed open forum Thursday night, speakers included black former City Councilwoman Jolanda Jones, an LGBT ally. From KPRC-TV:

Jones"It's really important because civil rights for all of us are trying to be set back," Jones said. "We need to stick together."

After a lot of pressure, the board of directors for Houston Pride Inc. announced the date of the Pride Parade will be switched back to June 27th.

"I'm satisfied with the date change," said [black LGBT activist] Ashton Woods. "That was the ultimate goal."

"We believe everyone here will be happy with that and look forward to moving forward," said Houston Pride Inc. President. Frankie Quinjano.

Despite the decision, reports suggest lingering tensions between Pride Houston leadership and some members of the LGBT community. Pride Houston board members were already under fire for their decision to move the parade downtown and out of the Montrose gayborhood. Black trans blogger Monica Roberts, who was a driving force behind the push to reschedule the parade, reacted to Thursday's decision

Now was that so hard? It wouldn't have been if you'd listened to the Black LGBT community and our allies when we first told you about the problematic date conflict to begin with. instead of blowing us off. ... We'll be watching to make sure you follow through on what you told that packed meeting room you'd do.

As it turns out, some Pride Houston board members had not even been aware of Juneteenth, which led Woods to tell KTRK-TV, "(The board) needs cultural sensitivity training."

To their credit, Pride Houston board members reportedly plan to establish a cultural diversity committee.

Watch reports from KPRC and KTRK, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Houston Gay Pride Organizers Agree To Reschedule Parade To Avoid 'Juneteenth' Conflict: VIDEO" »


Houston, We Have A Pride Problem

PrideHouston

It's always a shame when a celebration that's supposed to bring the LGBT community together — Pride — ends up dividing us. Or perhaps it's just that Pride has a tendency to expose existing divisions, especially given that major corporate dollars are involved.

In any case, it's now happened in several of Texas' major cities over the last few years: in Austin, prior to the formation of QueerBomb in 2010; in Dallas, during a dress-code flap last year; and now in Houston, where black LGBT activists are outraged that next year's Pride parade is scheduled for the weekend of Juneteenth — a nationally recognized holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the US.

Last Month, when Pride Houston Inc. announced it was moving Texas' largest gay Pride parade downtown, saying it had outgrown the city's Montrose gayborhood, organizers were criticized for not soliciting community input prior to the decision.

Now, Pride Houston is facing an arguably much bigger PR problem: In addition to moving the parade downtown, they moved the parade up a week and away from the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion to eliminate any conflict with the July 4 holiday. But the new schedule also means that the Pride parade, set for Saturday, June 20, will directly conflict with Juneteenth, officially on June 19 but celebrated throughout the weekend.

Houston black transgender blogger Monica Roberts [pictured below] writes at TransGriot that Pride Houston's decision threatens to drive a wedge between the city's African-American and LGBT communities, whose relationship has already been strained by an ongoing fight over the city's Equal Rights Ordinance.

Monica robertsThey will see this as another slap in the face to the Houston Black community and I predict it will be spun by the haters as an attempt by the gay community to "hijack Juneteenth."
With this boneheaded decision, which is a sadly predictable one from an organizational board that is predominately mono-racial and insular in its thinking, PRIDE Houston has just unnecessarily set off some drama that will only inflame the homophobic animus elements of the Houston Black community have for the LGBT community.
It is an animus that Dave Welch, the sellout pastors of the Baptist Ministers Assn. of Houston and Vicinity will eagerly pour gasoline on as the Black LGBT community shakes its head and gets out of the middle of the coming public relations nightmare between these two groups.
Meanwhile the Texas Republican Party and conservative movement foot soldiers will be smiling as they observe their plan working to drive a wedge between key members of the Houston liberal progressive coalition in the African-American and LGBT communities.

Black LGBT leaders reportedly met with Pride Houston representatives on Oct. 22 to discuss the issue. This week, Pride Houston sent the black LGBT leaders a letter notifying them that the board had voted 6-2 to keep the June 20 date.

"There have been previous instances where the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration has fallen on the third weekend in June around the 20th of the month and similar requests were not made during those instances," Pride Houston President and CEO Frankie Quijano wrote in the letter. "Furthermore, a substantial amount has already been invested into the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration for its current date that would un-recoupable which can be crucial for any non-profit organization."

In a follow-up post, Roberts responds that Houston's Pride has never been held so close to Juneteenth, and she lists the dates of the parade going back to 1994. According to Roberts' post, the closest to Juneteenth the Pride parade has been held is June 23 — on three occasions.

Black LGBT activists and others are expected to again air their concerns during an open forum hosted by Houston Pride tonight starting at 7pm CT.

Here's hoping they can work it out.

[photo via twitter]


Bryan Fischer: GOP Won the Midterms Because God Answered Anti-gay Prayers - VIDEO

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American Family Spokeshater (and "Hall of Shame" inductee) Bryan Fischer has a theory on why the GOP cruised to victory in Tuesday's midterm elections - God answered the anti-gay prayers at Houston's hate rally on Sunday

Said Fischer:

"It occurred to me last night, a good part of Sunday night was a lot of these pastors in Houston and a lot of people all around the country kneeling in prayer on the floor of that auditorium, repenting of sins, seeking God for forgiveness for ourselves and for this land. And then, on Tuesday, we have this dramatic victory. I've got to believe there's a connection there."

In a separate clip, Fischer attempts an etymological analysis of the word "sodomy," explaining that the word itself is "ugly" because God gave us "a natural revulsion to that kind of behavior."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP... 

Continue reading "Bryan Fischer: GOP Won the Midterms Because God Answered Anti-gay Prayers - VIDEO" »


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