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High School Football Player Gives Rousing Motivational Speech, Says To 'Keep Smiling' - VIDEO


High school running back Apollos Hester has been making headlines with a post-game interview he gave to a local news station in East View, Texas that quickly turned into a motivational speech on the importance of believing in yourself and never giving up. Says Hester,

“It’s an awesome feeling when you truly believe that you’re going to be successful. Regardless of the situation, regardless of the scoreboard, you're going to be successful because you put in all the time, all the effort, all the hard work and you know that it’s going to pay off…win or lose we realized we’re going to be all right…you can do anything you put your mind to, never give up on your dreams, keep smiling, no matter what you’re going through.”

Watch the high energy video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Woman Who Changed Last Name Following Same-Sex Marriage Denied Driver's License in Texas

Connie Wilson [right],  who changed her last name after marrying her wife Aimee Wilson in California has been refused an accurate driver's license by the Texas Department of Transportation because the name change was obtained through a same-sex marriage, The Texas Observer reports:

WilsonThis summer, the couple relocated to the Houston area with their three children for work. With her California driver’s license nearing expiration, Wilson took her documents to a DPS office in Katy last week to obtain a Texas driver’s license. When a DPS employee noticed that Wilson’s name didn’t match her birth certificate, she produced the couple’s California marriage license identifying her spouse as Aimee Wilson.

“Her only words to me were, ‘Is this same-[sex]?'” Connie Wilson recalled. “I remember hesitating for probably 10 seconds. I didn’t know how to answer. I didn’t want to lie, but I knew I was in trouble because I wasn’t going to be able to get a license.”

Wilson eventually responded that although California doesn’t differentiate, she happened to be married to a woman.

“She immediately told me, ‘You can’t use this to get your license. This doesn’t validate your last name. Do you have anything else?’” Wilson said. “She told me I would never get a license with my current name, that the name doesn’t belong to me.”

She was told that in order for her to secure an accurate driver's license, she must obtain an order from a state court changing her name to Wilson - a choice she claimed would cost at least $500 and have no guaranteed outcome. 

“My name is already legally Wilson,” she said. “I don’t know if a judge will even grant me a name change from Wilson to Wilson.”

Check out the full story over at The Texas Observer HERE - which also mentions how Wilson's inability to get an license reflecting her legal name is jeopardizing her family's ability to find housing in Texas and secure disability benefits for one of her children. 

Texas Law Enforcement Groups File Brief With Fifth Circuit In Support of Marriage Equality

A group of Texas county sheriffs and law enforcement officers have filed a brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals this week in support of marriage equality, The Texas Tribune reports:

Texas“Gay and lesbian law enforcement officers and other first responders put on their uniforms, place themselves in harm’s way to protect and defend our communities, and swear to uphold our laws without prejudice or bias,” said the letter, filed by Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, more than 50 other Texans working in law enforcement and a coalition of city police departments from around the country.

The brief continues:

They serve our communities with equal distinction, skill, and bravery. But Texas denies these men and women the equal dignity and respect they deserve. Texas does not treat them equally in their day-to-day work, nor, tragically, even when they make the ultimate sacrifice.

Last week, lawyers representing same-sex couples int the case of De Leon v. Perry filed briefs asking the Fifth Circuit to uphold a federal judge's ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The court is expected to hear arguments in the case in the coming months.

Check out the law enforcement brief below:

24,000 Transgender People May Be Ineligible To Vote In November Due to Voter ID- VIDEO

Voting laws transgender people

Strict voter ID laws in ten states could create barriers to voting and lead to possible disenfranchisement for more than 24,000 transgender voters this November, reports LGBTQ Nation.

MapAccording to the study “The Potential Impact of Voter Identification Laws on Transgender Voters in the 2014 General Election,” about 84,000 transgender people across the ten strict photo ID states are estimated to be eligible to vote. The 24,000 transgender voters who may face barriers to voting reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

In order for these 24,000 voting-eligible transgender people to obtain the updated photo IDs required to vote in the November 2014 general election, they must comply with the requirements for updating their state-issued or federally-issued IDs.

The study’s author Jody L. Herman, Ph.D, said:

“Some voters may not have the means or the ability to present the required voter identification for a variety of reasons, such as poverty, disability, or religious objection.

Transgender people have unique barriers to obtaining accurate IDs needed to vote.

As these ten states begin planning for their fall elections, educating poll workers is crucial in order to ensure that transgender voters in their states have fair access to the ballot.”

Watch the 2012 National Center for Transgender Equality's "Voting While Trans" campaign video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Couples File Briefs With 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Argue Texas Has 'No Rational Basis' For Gay Marriage Ban


Lawyers representing same-sex couples in the case of De Leon v. Perry filed briefs yesterday with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals asking that court to uphold Federal Judge Orlando Garcia’s ruling from earlier this year that found Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage, codified into the state’s constitution in 2005, to be unconstitutional because it violates the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the federal constitution. Judge Garcia’s ruling was stayed, a practice that has become commonplace with rulings on same-sex marriage, and the ban currently remains in effect. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appealed Garcia’s decision to the 5th Circuit and in July filed a brief “That claimed the ban promoted child-rearing by couples more likely to stay together”, as KBTX reports. The plaintiffs, meanwhile, dispute that claim. From Newsradio 1200 WOAI:

6a00d8341c730253ef01a3fcc72d11970b-800wi"As recently expressed in the landmark Supreme court case of Windsor, denial of marriage equality humiliates the children of same sex couples," said Nicole Demetman, who has a son with her partner Cleopatra DeLeon, but both women cannot be recognized as legal parents due to the Texas law.

"The injunction gives our son the opportunity to escape that humiliation as he is not yet, but soon will be, old enough to understand and internalize what discrimination is or that it is being directed at him." [...]

"There is no rational basis, much less a compelling government purpose, for Texas to deny plaintiffs the same right to marry enjoyed by the majority of society, said attorney Barry Chasnoff, who is one of the lead council for the two gay couples.

"If morality is to be our guide, as Defendants may argue, let it be that fine quality of morality enshrined in the Constitution, which requires that we treat all citizens with equal dignity and respect under the law," he said.  "It is the ingenious character of the Constitution that this equal protection serves to permit members of minority groups to become full participants in society, so their talents and skills may be harnessed for the greater good."

First Look: Michael Sam In Dallas Cowboys Jersey


After signing Michael Sam to their practice squad earlier today, the Dallas Cowboys tweeted a photo of Michael Sam on the field in a Dallas jersey, stating simply: ".@MichaelSamNFL will wear #46". No doubt, there will be high demand for #46 once the jersey goes on sale.

Watch a video just released by the Cowboys detailing Sam's strengths as a defensive end HERE.


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