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Posts Tagged ‘gay rights’

Kirkland for Supreme Court

Good. Houston State District Court Judge Steven Kirkland has announced his candidacy for a seat on the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court, making him the first openly gay candidate to run for the state’s highest civil court. Kirkland, a Democrat, is seeking Place 2 on the court, which is currently held by Justice Don Willett. Willett […]

Ruby Polanco

This happened late last month, and kind of got lost in the Harvey fallout. A year after Ruby Polanco first noticed that the San Antonio Independent School District’s non-discrimination statement for students and employees didn’t mention gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation, the 17-year-old won her first policy victory. Polanco submitted a petition and […]

Judgmental

The only bench this guy should be allowed on is a park bench. Jeff Mateer, a high-ranking official in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office who President Donald Trump has nominated for a federal judgeship, said in speeches in 2015 that transgender children are part of “Satan’s plan” and argued same-sex marriage would open the […]

City goes to SCOTUS over same-sex spousal benefits

Good. The City of Houston and Mayor Sylvester Turner filed a petition Friday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision that came down earlier this summer, concluding that states did not have to provide publicly funded benefits to same-sex couples, according to a news release from the city. The decision in Pidgeon v. […]

Pastoral malignancy

Know your enemy. A day before the Texas Legislature ended its special session this week, a session that included a high-profile fight over a “bathroom bill” that appeared almost certainly dead, David Welch had a message for Gov. Greg Abbott: call lawmakers back to Austin. Again. For years, Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor […]

Houston city employees file their own lawsuit (again) on spousal benefits

A shame it’s had to come to this, but this is where we are. On Thursday, three married couples from Houston filed a lawsuit in federal court aimed at forcing the city to preserve health coverage and other benefits for same-sex spouses of city employees. That’s because, despite the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell […]

OutSmart talks to Kim Ogg

Another good read about our new DA, one that goes into her personal background in some depth. John Wright: Your father, Jack Ogg, was a longtime Texas state legislator, and your late mother was well-known for her charity work. What it was like coming out to your parents? Kim Ogg: It was traumatic. My parents […]

Anti-spousal benefits plaintiffs ask for injunction

Ridiculous. Conservative activists are seeking an injunction blocking Houston from paying same-sex spousal benefits to its municipal employees, after Texas’ Supreme Court ruled last week that gay couples may not be entitled to them. Attorneys filed a motion Friday in District Court in Harris County, which includes Houston. They also want to recover public funds […]

Doctors against bathroom bills

Good. [Last] week, the American Medical Association (AMA), the country’s largest medical organization, took several actions to solidify their defense of transgender people. This included a resolution opposing any policy or legislation — like “bathroom bills” put forth in North Carolina and Texas — that prohibits transgender people from living according to their gender identity throughout society. During its […]

Super Bowl economic impact was about what we expected

Not too bad. The receipts are in, and February’s Super Bowl LI appears to have been a substantial boon for Houston — albeit with slightly less spending than expected. Gross spending during the nine days of Super Bowl programming, minus the amount of usual tourism displaced by the event, came to $338 million, according to […]

Bill to allow discrimination in adoptions and foster care passes the House

Shameful. Under House Bill 3859, which advanced on a 94-51 vote, providers would be protected from legal retaliation if they assert their “sincerely held religious beliefs” while caring for abused and neglected children. The measure would allow them to place a child in a religion-based school; deny referrals for abortion-related contraceptives, drugs or devices; and […]

House bathroom bill will not get a committee vote

Good news. A proposal to gut cities and school districts’ trans-inclusive bathroom policies did not advance in the House ahead of a crucial deadline, nixing the measure’s chances of getting a vote by the full chamber. But that doesn’t mean that the issue itself is dead. Up against bill-killing deadlines, the House State Affairs Committee […]

Bathroom bills and business interests

Texas Monthly’s Dave Mann reviews the Republican schism over the bathroom bill and comes to the same conclusion as I have. At the moment, the Legislature—and the Republican party, for that matter—has settled into an uneasy stalemate between Patrick’s right-leaning Senate and Straus’s more moderate coalition in the House. But, as they say, stalemates are […]

LGBT anti-discrimination bills voted out of House committee

One bit of good news this week. In an unprecedented vote, a House committee on Wednesday approved two bills to prohibit housing and employment discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Dallas Republican Rep. Jason Villalba split with his party and provided the tie-breaking vote for both bills, which passed the House Committee on […]

Faith leaders against discrimination

More of this, please. Prayer is a staple of the Texas Capitol, where lawmakers begin each legislative day with an invocation and bowed heads. But on Wednesday, about 50 faith leaders of various denominations lined the stairs outside the Texas House in protest. Their prayer was silent, but their message was clear: don’t legislate against […]

Attorney’s fees awarded to same sex marriage plaintiffs

Justice. Texas is on the hook for more than $600,000 in fees associated with its unsuccessful fight to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Affirming a lower court ruling on the fees, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals this week shot down Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s challenge to the award amount granted […]

Greg Abbott wants to kill off cities

That’s the only way to describe it. As state lawmakers gather for their biennial session this spring, they’re weighing whether to rein in localities that ban plastic grocery bags, extend civil rights protections to LGBTQ residents, discourage cooperation with federal immigration authorities, impose driver screening requirements for ride-sharing companies and regulate the chopping down of […]

The first step is admitting you have a problem

Rewire points out an issue that should have been obvious. Earlier this month, about 70 Texas businesses signed a letter condemning a discriminatory bill now circulating in the state legislature that would largely bar transgender people from using public restrooms or changing facilities that match their gender identity. “We believe everyone should be treated with […]

North Carolina “repeals” HB2

It’s “repeal” in a mostly meaningless sense. Late Wednesday night, for the second day in a row, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R) and Senate leader Phil Berger (R) held a press conference announcing that they’d established yet another “compromise” to repeal HB2 with Gov. Roy Cooper (D). They are planning to force it […]

This is not how you put the interests of the child first

It’s the opposite of that, honestly. Rep. James Frank, R-Wichita Falls, vice chairman of the House Human Services Committee, has authored House Bill 3859, which would protect faith-based providers from retaliation if they assert their “sincerely held religious beliefs” while caring for abused and neglected children. The bill would include allowing faith-based groups to deny […]

“It’s harder to paint us as monsters when there’s a human face on it”

Words of wisdom from one very dedicated and engaged citizen. Monday marked Stephanie Martinez’s 12th time participating in a lobby day hosted by Equality Texas at the Capitol. But this session, in response to Senate Bill 6, the 48-year-old transgender woman from Austin felt compelled to do more. After waiting 16 hours to testify against […]

Athletes against SB6

From Athlete Ally: Dear Texas, The love of sport is in part what makes Texas great. The passion and competitive spirit that reverberates throughout the Texas athletic community is hard to match across the United States. It’s that passion – and the storied history of Texas athletics – that often makes the state a go-to […]

Supreme Court hears ridiculous same-sex marriage appeal

Was this trip really necessary? Same-sex couples are entitled to the same treatment as opposite-sex couples, a lawyer for the city of Houston argued before the Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday in a case challenging the city’s benefits policy for married same-sex couples. As part of Texas Republicans’ ongoing fight against same-sex marriage, justices of the […]

State Supreme Court hears same sex marriage appeal today

Gird your loins. Almost two years after same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, Texas Republicans are still fighting the ruling — and they’re getting another day in court. The Texas Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on Wednesday in a Houston case challenging the city’s benefits policy for married same-sex couples. Though such policies […]

There’s more than SB6 to watch out for

Keep an eye out for other anti-LGBT bills, because any of them might pass even if SB6 goes down. With the media seemingly preoccupied by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s bathroom bill, three Republican state senators have quietly introduced a sweeping anti-LGBT “religious freedom” measure. Senate Bill 651, filed last week, would bar state agencies that […]

The NBA is keeping an eye on SB6, too

I’d be shocked if they weren’t. While lauding the work of New Orleans to take on the NBA All-Star game after the league pulled its events from Charlotte because of House Bill 2, which limited anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people in the state, NBA commissioner Adam Silver did not sound eager to […]

Abbott shakes fist at NFL

Seriously? Gov. Greg Abbott is blasting the NFL for raising the prospect that Texas’ so-called “bathroom bill” could impact future events in the state — wading into a debate he has so far mostly steered clear of. “The NFL is walking on thin ice right here,” Abbott told conservative radio host Glenn Beck on Tuesday. […]

Artists against SB6

I’m glad to see this, but I have some questions. More than 135 musicians and artists are joining the chorus of opposition against Texas’ so-called “bathroom bill.” Singers and other artists including Lady Gaga, Cyndi Lauper, Alicia Keys have signed onto an open letter asking Texas lawmakers to stand down from passing Senate Bill 6 […]

The burden that keeps on depriving

North Carolina’s bathroom law, y’all. The North Carolina Sports Association, which represents 27 counties across North Carolina that recruit and promote major sporting events, sent a letter to the state’s House of Representatives and General Assembly on Monday urging an immediate repeal of the controversial House Bill 2. The law, known as the bathroom bill, […]

Boy Scouts to accept transgender members

Good for them. In a landmark decision, Boy Scouts of America announced Monday that it will now allow transgender Scouts in its boys-only program. Although it’s not clear how that move will play in the Lone Star State, the news signals the reversal of a century-old position that restricted membership to children listed as males […]

SB6 will hurt people

It will hurt transgender people, who despite what Dan Patrick would have you think, are people like you and me. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has said his so-called bathroom bill isn’t discriminatory because transgender people can update their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity. However, statistics obtained by the Observer from the Department of […]

Interview with Jessica Shortall of Texas Competes

We are very familiar with the fight over Dan Patrick’s bathroom bill, which is encapsulated in SB6 but also exists in a larger sense in several other bills. A major component in this fight is the business community, which sees such legislation as a threat to its ability to attract and retain talent, especially younger […]

A warning from North Carolina

Are we listening? A North Carolina mayor issued a warning Thursday to Texas lawmakers concerning Senate Bill 6, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s anti-transgender bathroom bill. Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan said a similar law in the Tarheel State — House Bill 2 — has created a “manmade recession,” and recently prompted a Fortune 500 company to […]

State Supreme Court will take up same sex marriage appeal

Somehow, this wasn’t the worst thing that happened yesterday. After pressure from Texas GOP leadership, the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court on Friday reversed course and agreed to take up a same-sex marriage case. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, the state’s highest civil court will reconsider a Houston case challenging […]