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Posts Tagged ‘gay rights’

Cleo and Nicole

You should read this Texas Monthly feature story on Cleopatra de Leon and Nicole Dimetman, two of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit to overturn Texas’ ban on same sex marriage. But it is children— their children—that prompted Cleo and Nicole to file a lawsuit in the first place. Their suit argues that “responsible procreation” ignores […]

Judge Schaffer makes his ruling on the HERO repeal petitions

I was expecting this to happen Monday, but apparently Judge Robert Schaffer handed down his ruling about which HERO repeal petition signatures were valid and should be counted on Monday. Judge Robert Schaffer ruled on which types of signatures can be counted on the petition seeking to overturn the controversial ordinance. According to the city […]

Plano ERO repeal petitions ruled invalid

Wow. The City of Plano has determined that a recently circulated Equal Rights petition is invalid and will not move forward. Plano’s City Secretary was unable to certify the petition because it failed to meet State and local requirements for validation. On Dec. 8, 2014, the Plano City Council approved an Equal Rights Ordinance, expanding […]

More on the HERO repeal petition jury verdict

KUHF has a good look at What It All Means. “It’s tough to predict,” said Teddy Rave, an assistant professor at the University of Houston Law Center. “It looks like the jury pretty much split the baby. They answered some questions in favor of the plaintiffs and some in favor of the city. And now […]

First same-sex marriage in Texas happens

It may be the only one for awhile, but it will definitely not be the only one. Despite Texas’ longstanding ban on same-sex marriages, two Austin women made history on Thursday when they became the first gay couple to legally wed in the state. A judge directed the Travis County clerk to issue a marriage […]

Faith leaders rally for equality

Good to see. Faith leaders from across Texas gathered Tuesday at the state Capitol, urging legislators to lift the state’s ban on gay marriage and pass laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. While some cities — such as San Antonio, Houston and Plano — have recently passed ordinances that provide lesbian, […]

Another judge finds Texas’ ban on same sex marriage to be unconstitutional

This ruling is a bit more narrow, however. A Travis County judge ruled Tuesday that the Texas ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, but there was no rush to the altar after county officials — scrambling to assess the impact of the judge’s 3 p.m. order — declined to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex […]

Mixed jury verdict in HERO repeal petitions trial

Some Friday afternoon big news. A jury in the trial surrounding Houston’s embattled equal rights ordinance issued a mixed slate of decisions Friday, giving neither side the obvious upper hand as a district judge now uses those findings to decide whether opponents submitted enough valid signatures to trigger a repeal referendum. The jury decided whether […]

Same sex marriage plaintiffs ask Fifth Circuit to lift the stay

They’ve got a strong case, based on recent SCOTUS action. Attorneys for two gay couples are asking a federal appeals court to allow same-sex marriages to begin in Texas immediately. In a motion filed Thursday, attorneys for the couples asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to lift a district judge’s stay of his […]

2015 Mayoral manifesto: Quality of life and other issues

Preliminaries Transportation Public safety A few quick hits on topics that didn’t fit elsewhere. Making Houston affordable again Remember when Houston was an inexpensive place to live? If you haven’t been here at least a decade – more like two decades, for some neighborhoods – you probably don’t. The transformation of so many parts of […]

HERO repeal petition trial wraps up

There actually wasn’t all that much testimony in the HERO repeal petition trial. On Tuesday, former City Attorney David Feldman took his turn on the stand. City Secretary Anna Russell originally found enough valid signatures but did not verify the way each page was certified. When Feldman examined the pages himself, he testified, problems were […]

Mayor Parker testifies at HERO repeal petition trial

Monday was Mayor Parker’s turn to take the stand at the trial over the validity of the HERO repeal petitions. You’d think this would be a momentous occasion of high drama, but since this whole thing is about technicalities and not about the merits of the ordinance, it was a lot less exciting than it […]

2015 Mayoral manifesto: The preliminaries

As you may have heard, we are electing a new Mayor this year. There’s already a large field of candidates in the race, and it is likely to grow before all is said and done. Each will have his own ideas about what Houston’s top priorities are and how he would address them (I’m using […]

The national fight against equality

Once again, Texas leads the way in an undesirable category. In Georgia, where lawmakers are considering a bill that critics fear could allow businesses to discriminate against gay customers, the former head of the country’s largest Protestant denomination recently urged lawmakers to reign in “erotic liberty.” The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in April […]

The last time Texas was in the minority on a marriage issue

Those who forget the lessons of history are likely to get an unfavorable SCOTUS ruling crammed down their throats. As the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the issue of same-sex marriage, Texas once again finds itself on the lonely side of a court fight involving the right to marry. Almost 50 years ago, Texas was […]

A bill to outlaw cities

That would appear to be the effect of this. Sen. Don Huffines, a Republican from Dallas, has filed a bill that would prohibit cities from enforcing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances. Huffines’ Senate Bill 343, introduced Friday, is a sweeping proposal that would bar local governments from implementing ordinances that are more stringent than state law on […]

Front and center with the fraud allegations

The city goes on offense as it defends the equal rights ordinance at the repeal petition trial. In his opening argument in court Tuesday, Alex Kaplan, an attorney for the city, said the petition is “full of problems.” “It is precisely these kinds of cases where there are high public passions where the rules must […]

The situation in Plano is complicated

I had not realized this. The nation’s largest LGBT political advocacy group indicated this week it is unlikely to help defend a nondiscrimination ordinance in Plano due to exemptions affecting the transgender community. The announcement from the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign could amount to a costly setback for supporters of the ordinance, as the […]

It’s going to be a long trial

Settle in and get comfortable, the HERO repeal petition trial is going to take some time. Ultimately, though, the trial is expected to be tedious and technical. So much so, that even after the city lost a significant motion two weeks ago to send the trial before a judge rather than a jury, Parker focused […]

January campaign finance reports – PACs

Mayoral reports Controller reports Council reports There are a lot of PACs that play in Houston’s elections. It’s hard to keep up with all of them, and I say this as someone who reads far more campaign finance reports than is healthy. Very few of them file finance reports with the city of Houston – […]

HERO petition repeal trial starts

It could actually be over before it really starts, though I would not expect that. For the next three to four weeks, the Harris County Civil Courthouse will be the stage for the trial over Houston’s controversial equal rights ordinance. If everything works out according to plan, opening statements will begin next Tuesday. That is, […]

Plano equality opponents turn in their petitions

Yesterday was the deadline for the opponents of Plano’s equal rights ordinance to turn in petitions to force a repeal referendum, and the haters of Plano duly did so. Opponents of Plano’s Equal Rights Ordinance say they’ve met the deadline and collected the necessary signatures to force the Plano City Council to repeal the ordinance […]

SCOTUS will take up same sex marriage

This is it. The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it will take up four cases challenging state bans on same-sex couples’ marriages — a long anticipated move that could lead to nationwide marriage equality. The cases ask the justices whether Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee bans on same-sex couples’ marriages and bans on recognition […]

The bigger threat than the Plano petitions

This could be a big problem. Four Republican lawmakers from the Plano area plan to introduce legislation that would bar cities and counties from adopting ordinances prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people, the Observer has learned. The proposed legislation also threatens to nullify existing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances in cities that are home to roughly 7.5 million […]

HERO repeal petition trial will be heard by a jury

Let’s get on with it. A state district judge ruled Tuesday that the lawsuit surrounding the city’s embattled equal rights ordinance will go before a jury trial rather than a bench trial, a decision that conservative opponents of the law are hailing as a major victory. Critics suing the city over its equal rights ordinance […]

The haters are gathering petitions in Plano

God help us all. Opponents of Plano’s new ordinance banning discrimination against gays and transgendered people have drawn support from Pastor Rafael Cruz, father of Sen. Ted Cruz. “This is an attack on Judeo-Christian beliefs in America,” Cruz told a Plano crowd on Wednesday. “It’s time people of faith become involved in the political arena.” […]

Judge or jury ruling on HERO should come soon

From the other big lawsuit action on Friday. A district judge offered little insight Friday as to whether he will grant a jury trial to conservative critics who have sued the city over its controversial equal rights ordinance. During a brief but lively hearing in the 152nd District Court in Houston, Judge Robert Schaffer said […]

The Fifth Circuit finally hears the same sex marriage appeal

I am very cautiously optimistic. Signaling significant doubt about the constitutionality of Texas’ ban on same-sex marriages, two federal appeals judges on Friday questioned a state attorney’s argument that marriage is a “subsidy” that the state has the right to grant and withhold. In sharp exchanges with two judges of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court […]

Shoveling sand against the same sex marriage tide

Rep. Cecil Bell is threatening to hold his breath till he turns purple if those nasty federal courts give the go ahead to same sex marriage in Texas. State or local government employees giving out same-sex marriage licenses would stop receiving their salaries under a bill filed Wednesday for the 84th legislative session. Titled the […]

What do we expect from the Fifth Circuit and SCOTUS on same sex marriage?

Some people are very optimistic. Same-sex marriage will arrive in Texas before Easter, according to an attorney for two couples who are challenging the state’s marriage bans in federal court. Daniel McNeel Lane Jr., of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in San Antonio, made the prediction as he prepared for oral arguments in the […]

First HERO repeal petition hearing today

Have I mentioned that this is a really busy month for big ticket courtroom action? Conservative opponents suing the city over its equal rights ordinance are pushing, along with several City Council members, for the upcoming case to go before a jury, a move the administration said is unprecedented and would defy election law. After […]

Donna Edmunson

From the inbox: Mayor Annise Parker has selected Donna Edmundson to be the new city attorney. Upon confirmation by City Council, Edmundson will become the first woman to hold the position. She has nearly 30 years of experience with the City Legal Department. “With just a year left in my term and a wealth of […]

Same sex marriage ads on your TV

In case you missed it. The national same-sex marriage advocacy group Freedom to Marry will air a series of television ads in Texas this week, with the aim to personalize the issue ahead of an important federal hearing Friday. The $100,000 TV buy will air Sunday and Monday, just days before the 5th Circuit Court […]

Meet the judges

Not a bad panel, all things considered. Judges Patrick Higginbotham of Dallas, Jerry Smith of Houston and James Graves Jr. of Jackson, Miss., will sit on a panel that will hear appeals from state officials in Texas and Mississippi of lower-court rulings that overturned the two states’ gay marriage bans. In the Louisiana case, U.S. […]