Texas Hub




5 Things You Can't Miss In Dallas, Texas

Dallas Linda tanner https---www.flickr.com-photos-goingslo-9887346254

This weekly travel column is brought to you by ManAboutWorld, an immersive digital premium gay travel magazine from Billy KolberEd SalvatoKenny Porpora, and nearly 75 Global Correspondents.

We’re not really sure why rodeos are assumed to be a straight man’s sport. Think about it: a sexy guy in skin-tight jeans hanging on for dear life while a wild, bucking horse or bull tosses him around like a rag doll sounds like a typical Saturday night in West Hollywood to us. But never mind all that. The good news is, we don’t need those hetero rodeos because we have our own; and the now legendary Texas Tradition (gay) Rodeo in Dallas, Texas is the best one on the circuit for visitors.

From May 1-3, the rodeo will celebrate 31 years and more than $3 million raised for Texas charities. Whether you’re going to enjoy the gay rodeo antics, or protest animal cruelty, it’s a great time to visit Dallas and ride a cowboy. Speaking of cruelty, the Park Inn by Radisson is the official host hotel for the event, but our sources tell us it’s dingy, dated, and smells like pool hall. Don’t despair, we have plenty of incredible hotel recommendations for you including our top pick below. For the event itself, check the rodeo’s website for ticket and registration information and a list of events and entertainment as it becomes available. Grab your cowboy hats, boy (and our top 5 list below): You're heading to Texas!  

1. Warwick Melrose Hotel, Dallas: For distinctly classic luxury — and the bill that comes with it — the Warwick remains an outstanding choice for accommodations. The spacious rooms, elegant decor, and location smack dab in the Oak Lawn gay neighborhood make The Warwick a hard splurge to deny. Just be sure to wipe off your cowboy boots before you set foot in this classy joint.

2. The Pecan Lodge: Despite its name, this spot  is a restaurant, which has been voted Best BBQ in Dallas — no easy feat in this carnivorous state — making this a must-do for meat-lovers. Ask for the burnt ends —  a secret treat not on the menu.

3. The Dallas Museum of Art: Dallas offers a treasure trove of cultural assets, including the DMA with a robust permanent DFW7 http---www.flickr.com-photos-iain-4089452083- collection (including an important riches of Islamic art), intriguing temporary exhibits and robust programming including live musical performances.

4. FT33: FT33 is a design district favorite that serves modern, farm-to-table Southwestern cuisine in a beautiful setting with an open kitchen. Don’t miss the smoked potatoes and kale salad starters, though pork is the real star on the menu, especially during the new Tuesday night Swine & Wine happy hour, 4:30-6:30pm.

5. The Round-Up Saloon and Dance Hall: The Round-Up is easily the friendliest of Dallas’ gay bars — and one of the most fun. Warm, welcoming and a stop on just about everyone’s weekend circuit, The Round-Up is a great place to meet locals and show off that two-step (or learn). The bartenders are also generally quite happy to make introductions to any regulars they think you might like, especially if it’s a bit quiet.

For more opinionated travel information and inspiration, get ManAboutWorld Magazine on iTunes (iOS) or Google Play (Android). 

Image credits: Top: Linda Tanner; Right: Iain Farrell; Bottom: Doug Wertman

DFW1 http---www.flickr.com-photos-nanoprobe67-5948041661-


Federal Judge Blocks Gay Workers in Four States From Taking Unpaid Leave To Care For Sick Spouses

Paxton

Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been in office less than three months, but he's already making a name for himself as one of the nation's biggest anti-gay bigots. 

Last month, Paxton (above with Sen. Ted Cruz) sought to void the marriage of a 30-year lesbian couple, even though one of the women has ovarian cancer. And last week, he filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over a new labor department rule extending benefits under the Family & Medical Leave Act to same-sex couples who live in states that don't recognize their marriages. 

On Thursday, Paxton — a "tea partier" who admitted to securities fraud last year — won a small, temporary victory in his ongoing war against LGBT people. 

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, a President George W. Bush appointee, issued an order blocking the new FMLA rule from taking effect as scheduled on Friday in Texas and three other states that joined Paxton's lawsuit — Arkansas, Louisiana and Nebraska.  

“The Obama Administration’s attempt to force employers to recognize same-sex marriages would have put state agencies in the position of either violating Texas law or federal regulations,” Paxton said in a statement. “We are pleased that the Department of Labor’s effort to override our laws via federal rulemaking has been halted, and we will continue to defend our sovereignty in this case.”

Reed-OConnor_bigJudge O'Connor (right) presides over the Northern District of Texas in Wichita Falls, an extremely conservative area that has brought us, among others, the Rev. Robert Jeffress. In his 24-page decision, O'Connor wrote that if the new FMLA rule was allowed to take effect, "irreparable injury would occur." From the decision: 

“The Full Faith and Credit Statute affirms Congress’ intention to reserve the power to define marriage and accompanying rights and benefits to the states, and Windsor cabins Congress’ authority to aggrandize that power. Congress could not have delegated to the Department the power to define marriage in a way as to override the laws of states prohibiting same-sex marriages.”

The Human Rights Campaign issued this statement in response to O'Connor's ruling: 

“No legally married same-sex couple should be denied family leave simply because they happen to live in a state that fails to respect their marriage,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Because of Judge O’Connor’s decision, countless legally married same-sex couples in Texas are now unable to access to their federal FMLA benefits. With a pending Supreme Court decision on nationwide marriage equality this summer, we are confident that justice will ultimately prevail.”

In other words, if the U.S. Supreme Court issues a nationwide decision in favor of marriage equality in June, Paxton's lawsuit will quickly go away. 

Therefore, it's quite possible that the only thing Paxton has really accomplished, aside from pandering to the GOP base, is wasting taxpayer dollars on a frivolous lawsuit, which would seem contrary to the avowed principles of the tea party. Of course, Paxton has also ensured that he will go down in history as someone who sought to preserve the right of employers to legally fire gay people who want to take unpaid leave to care for ailing loved ones. Truly, this lawsuit is one of the more disgusting displays of anti-gay bigotry from any elected official in recent memory. 

View some of the responses Paxton has received on Twitter, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Federal Judge Blocks Gay Workers in Four States From Taking Unpaid Leave To Care For Sick Spouses" »


'Bridegroom' Creator Shane Crone Brilliantly Responds To Anti-Gay Protesters At Texas Screening: VIDEO

Bridegroom2

A group of anti-gay protesters reportedly staged a prayer circle this week outside a screening of the film "Bridegroom" in East Texas. 

"Bridegroom," of course, is the award-winning documentary about Shane Bitney Crone and his partner of six years, Tom Bridegroom, who died in a tragic accident. Crone had no legal rights because they could not marry and was barred from attending the funeral by Bridegroom's family. He created a viral YouTube video, "It Could Happen To You," that was adapted into the movie, which premiered in 2013.  

BrideGroomOn Monday, the film screened at the University of Texas at Tyler in conservative East Texas. In a post on Instagram, Crone detailed the anti-gay protest outside:

While the film was playing, a prayer circle formed in the lobby. I watched as the small group congregated, quietly praying for the "Heavenly Father" to "help everyone inside that theatre to see the truth." Apparently a local Catholic group on Facebook had put out a call to action, urging "prayer warriors" to get down to the screening of the "controversial" film.

Crone said when he invited the protesters in for the post-film Q&A, they seemed shocked by his hospitality and apologized for the fact that he'd been discriminated against by other Christians: 

I appreciated their sympathy, however their sentiments came with a caveat: "But you have a choice to act on your impulses to sin."

And here's how Crone describes his response: 

I explained that while it's important to respect other people's views, I disagreed with the heart of their statement. "If all sins are equal, then it's hard for me to comprehend why an entire group of you would have an emergency prayer session outside of the screening of a film that tells a love story about two men. If you are willing to go to such great lengths to stop everything you're doing to try and 'save' everyone who came to the screening, shouldn't you be having these same kind of prayer circles around divorce attorneys' offices to 'save' people from acting on the sin of divorce?"

I can't understand why people go to such great lengths to shout from the rooftops that "Homosexuality is a sin and must be stopped!" when every single one of us is a "sinner" to some degree.

I am shocked by the amount of time, energy, and money people spend trying to deny LGBT people equal rights. Imagine if that same time, energy, and money were spent combatting world hunger or curing cancer; the world would be a healthier, happier place, I am sure.

Watch a report on the screening from KLTV, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "'Bridegroom' Creator Shane Crone Brilliantly Responds To Anti-Gay Protesters At Texas Screening: VIDEO" »


Texas Lawmakers Debate Whether To Take Alabama-Style Stand Against Gay Marriage: LIVE VIDEO

TexasCake

AUSTIN — Texas lawmakers are scheduled to debate a bill Wednesday that aims to bar county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples — even if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down state marriage bans as expected in June. 

The “Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act," by GOP Rep. Cecil Bell, would remove authority over marriage licenses from elected county clerks and place it with the appointed secretary of state. It would also prohibit state or local funds from being used to license, register, certify or support same-sex marriage. 

The bill is set to be heard Wednesday by the House Committee on State Affairs. You can watch a live-stream of the hearing here, but it is not expected to begin until late Wednesday afternoon.

"Should this legislation pass, and then the Supreme Court rules in favor of the freedom to marry, Texans would have to foot the bill for millions of dollars of litigation," Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith said during a press conference about the bill on Wednesday morning. 

Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, called the bill "a legislative temper tantrum" from those who refuse to accept that the U.S. Constitution guarantees equal protection for same-sex couples.  

"Passing the bill would put Texas on a collision course with both the United States Supreme Court and the harsh judgment of history, and in both cases Texas would fare very poorly," Miller said. 

The bill, which has 21 co-authors, is one of four anti-gay marriage bills introduced by Rep. Bell (shown above cutting cake at a rally in February to mark the 10th anniversary of the state's marriage amendment). If passed by a two-thirds majority, which is unlikely, it would take effect immediately. If passed by a simple majority, it would take effect Sept. 1, three months after the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the issue.

The bill is one of more than 20 anti-LGBT measures introduced in the Texas Legislature this year, the most in the history of any state. 

On Monday, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore spoke during a rally at the Capitol and encouraged Texas lawmakers to follow his lead and defy federal court rulings in favor of marriage equality.

A federal district judge struck down Texas' marriage ban last year, but stayed his decision pending the state's appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit, which heard oral arguments in January. The 5th Circuit has not yet ruled.   

Should you wish to contact members of the House Committee on State Affairs, their info is here


Austin Man Claims W Hotel Bouncer Called Him 'Fag' Before Assaulting Him During SXSW

Beltran.Bobby

An Austin man claims a W Hotel bar bouncer called him a "fag" before throwing him to the ground — breaking his arm, dislocating two bones in his hand and possibly causing nerve damage. 

Bobby Beltran, 31 said the incident happened Sunday, March 15, during South by Southwest. KVUE-TV reports: 

According to a police report, a hotel bouncer asked him and his friends to leave because they were too drunk. Beltran and the bouncer exchanged heated words, and that's when the hotel worker called him a gay slur.

"He was walking behind me and said, 'That's right, fag,' and continued to walk me out of the building," Beltran said. "I turned to him and said 'That's not right, you can't be doing that stuff.'"

Beltran said that's when the bouncer violently threw him to the ground. Once he was outside the hotel, Beltran said he realized how injured he was and that friends took him to the hospital.

Beltran's attorney planned to file a lawsuit against the W Austin Hotel on Wednesday.

The W Austin is situated near the city's largest gay clubs, and the chain is otherwise very LGBT-friendly. Parent company Starwood Hotels & Resorts received a perfect score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's most recent Corporate Equality Index. The W Austin provided this statement to KVUE: 

"Providing a safe environment is the essence of our business. The hotel contacted police the night of the incident and will cooperate with law enforcement in any investigation they undertake."

Watch KVUE's report, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Austin Man Claims W Hotel Bouncer Called Him 'Fag' Before Assaulting Him During SXSW" »


Texas Same-Sex Marriage Plaintiffs Endure 2nd Harrowing Child Birth With No Parental Rights: PHOTOS

Dimetman

Cleopatra DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman were inspired to become plaintiffs in a marriage equality lawsuit during the birth of their first child. 

DeLeon experienced delivery complications, and if something had happened to her, Dimetman wouldn't have had any parental rights — even though they were legally married in Massachusetts.  

After Dimetman became pregnant with the couple's second child, it was an argument the couple's attorneys repeatedly raised as they urged federal courts to lift a stay of a February 2014 decision striking down Texas' marriage ban

Over the weekend, Dimetman gave birth to a baby girl (above), and again there were complications. 

DeLeon“Labor is scary and anything can happen," Dimetman said in a statement on Monday. "I had an infection as a complication of labor that led to an emergency C-section. A day that should have been one of the happiest of our life was terrifying for Cleo. If I had not made it through the childbirth, Cleo would not have been our daughter’s legal mother because her name is not allowed on the birth certificate in Texas.”

DeLeon said the couple was overjoyed about the birth of but disappointed that Texas' marriage ban remains in place. 

"It is unfair to deny loving parents like us the basic legal protections that provide stability and security so critical to child rearing," DeLeon said. "We pray for the day when all Texans are treated equally under the law and we do not have to live in fear that something bad could happen in childbirth and I would not be considered the child’s parent by law. We hope the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court make all marriages legal in Texas and across the nation.”

Neel Lane, one of the couple's attorneys, noted it's been more than two months since the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the Texas marriage case, but the three-judge panel still hasn't ruled. 

“This otherwise joyous day for Nicole and Cleo is a sad one because, in the eyes of Texas, Nicole is an unwed mother," Lane said. "Her valid marriage to Cleo is declared void by a Texas law that U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia declared unconstitutional more than a year ago. Court after court have agreed with him, and no one doubts the U.S. Supreme Court will do the same."

The other plaintiffs in the Texas marriage lawsuit, Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes, issued a statement congratulating DeLeon and Dimetman. 

"We are so thrilled for them!" Phariss and Holmes said. "Unfortunately, Texas law does not recognize Cleo as a parent, even though Cleo and Nicole have been married for more than 5 ½ years. As a result, they must spend money to go to court to fix that, money that could be saved instead for their daughter’s future education, health care, and welfare. The time has now come for marriage equality to be recognized in Texas for the sake Nicole and Cleo and their daughter and for the sake of all gays and lesbians in Texas, including Vic and me who, after 18 years together, desperately want to marry the person we love in the state we love.”


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