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Posts Tagged ‘gay rights’

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. […]

Interview with Diego Bernal

For the second biennium in a row, there are legislative special elections going on during what many of us think of as the Christmas break. That’s not so great for the people involved in those campaigns, since it’s hardly a break for them, but at least it’s convenient for me to schedule some interviews. I’m […]

Trib overview of the same sex marriage appeal

Less than three weeks till the appeal is heard by the Fifth Circuit. Fourteen states allowed same-sex marriage when Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman filed a lawsuit late last year challenging Texas’ constitutional ban on marriages that are not between a man and a woman. The couple, married in Massachusetts in 2009, lives in […]

Working for progress on LGBT issues

I’m always a little wary when I see a phrase like “chipping away” in a story about LGBT issues, but in this case it refers to obstacles, not hard-won victories, so it’s OK. The rights and interests of homosexual Texans will be in the spotlight like never before next year, as the state’s same-sex marriage […]

Villalba gets defensive about his pro-discrimination bill

I don’t know if Rep. Jason Villalba is willfully dense or just confused, but either way this is a big pile of BS. State Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) remains adamant that a proposed constitutional amendment he filed earlier this month isn’t intended to undermine local ordinances prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination. But Villalba also continues to tout […]

Fixing birth certificates

Trying again, with some hope for progress. The Texas Legislature added a provision to the Health & Safety Code in 1997 requiring supplemental birth certificates issued to adoptive parents to contain the name of one female, the mother, and one male, the father. According to the legislation’s author, former state Rep. Will Hartnett (R-Dallas), it […]

Feldman resigns

Mayor Parker loses a key member of her team going into her final year as Mayor. City Attorney David Feldman on Friday announced that he plans to resign next month, citing, among other reasons, that he could better defend the city’s embattled equal rights ordinance as a key witness than as a lawyer in an […]

Promote equality, promote the economy

It’s a simple enough formula. When the courts finally declare Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage illegal, which most people think they will, it could mean a boost for the wedding and hospitality industry as 23,200 couples tie the knot, according to a new interactive by the Williams Insititute at UCLA and Credit Suisse. Whether or […]

Republicans will push pro-discrimination bills

I have three things to say about this. Two days after the Plano City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people, a Texas legislator filed a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the ability of cities to enforce such laws. On Wednesday, Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) filed House Joint Resolution 55, which is […]

Same sex marriage will have to wait for the Fifth Circuit

Bummer. A federal judge has refused to permit immediate same-sex marriages in Texas, saying he expects they will be allowed some day but he doesn’t want to act precipitously. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia on Friday rebuffed a request by same-sex couples Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes of Plano and Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole […]

Houston pastors to fight against the Plano equal rights ordinance

Of course they will. When Houston passed its Equal Rights Ordinance earlier this year, the Texas Pastor Council came out strongly in opposition of the law. Now the Houston-based group is challenging the nondiscrimination ordinance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents of Plano. Director Dave Welch says the group will work with pastors in […]

Plano passes equal rights ordinance

How about that? In a split vote Monday, the Plano City Council passed the controversial Equal Rights Policy over the objections of many residents in the standing-room-only crowd. The amendment to the city’s 1989 anti-discrimination policy extends protections from housing, employment and public accommodation discrimination to include sexual orientation, gender identity and other categories. “Providing […]

Texas’ first same-sex marriage

Fascinating story. More than 40 years ago in a small chapel off the Gulf Freeway, a hulking ex-tackle from Brownsville slid a ring onto the finger of his partner, transforming the slight man wearing a blond bouffant wig standing opposite him into his husband. In their hands they clasped the first marriage license ever given […]

There will be charter referenda next year

Details are pending, but one way or another we’ll get to vote on some charter changes next November. City Council members on Thursday agreed that any city charter reforms, including changes to term limits, should go to voters in November rather than May next year, but they kicked most substantive discussion of those issues to […]

What will the clerks do?

Some of Texas’ county clerks are making plans to accommodate same-sex marriage license applicants in the event that federal judge Orlando Garcia lifts the stay on his ruling that tossed out the state’s ban on same-sex nuptials. Some other clerks are planning to be jerks about it. Jeff Nicholson, chief deputy for Tarrant County Clerk […]

Abbott responds to motion to lift same-sex marriage ruling

He’s against it. Try not to be surprised. Texas officials want a federal judge to uphold the state’s same-sex marriage ban, calling a request by gay couples to be allowed to immediately marry “untimely” and “out of order.” “The plaintiffs offer no explanation for why they waited so long to file their motion,”Attorney General Greg […]

Fifth Circuit sets their schedule

Mark your calendars. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments about the constitutionality of Texas’ tough new abortion restrictions on Jan. 7. The law passed in 2013, known as House Bill 2, banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, placed heavy new restrictions on clinics and doctors who perform the procedure and […]

Texas same-sex marriage plaintiffs ask for stay to be lifted

I wish them luck. Two same-sex couples have asked U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia of San Antonio to allow gay marriages to begin taking place immediately in Texas. On Monday, couples Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes of Plano and Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra De Leon asked Garcia to lift a stay he imposed this winter […]

Yet another lawsuit against Texas’ ban on same sex marriage

And then there were ten. Texas now has at least 10 pending lawsuits challenging the state’s bans on same-sex marriage — believed to be the most of any state. An Austin lesbian widow is the latest to challenge the marriage bans after her late partner’s family sought to exclude her from the estate — an […]

Texas For Marriage

This. Law enforcement officials, state legislators, faith leaders and a great-grandmother are among those lending their voices to a new campaign to bring marriage equality to Texas. The national group Freedom to Marry plans to spend $200,000 on the campaign launched Tuesday, in advance of oral arguments before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals […]