Rick Perry's at it again, attempting to score cheap points with right-wing conservatives by promoting anti-LGBT bigotry. In the video below, Perry speaks to noted hate-monger Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in support of the Boy Scouts of America's ban on gay scout leaders and apparent "don't ask, don't tell" attitude towards gay scouts.
Describing the push for full LGBT equality as the "flavor of the month," Perry makes a tortured argument in which he equates those advocating for second-class status for gay Americans -- i.e. the bigots who oppose LGBT rights -- with Texas Governor Sam Houston's refusal to leave the union over the issue of slavery.
Watch the video courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
I know, you're all "Wait, what? He's equating opposition to LGBT civil rights with support for abolition?" Yes, he sure is. But what else do you expect from an intellectual heavyweight who got a C in U.S. History and a D in Principles of Economics?
Today, starting at 8am, donations of $100 or more will be matched, up to $20,000 for the Ride. The Ride is in a week - next Saturday the 27th - and they are only at 39% of the goal raised. So, if you can, please pitch in $100 today (or pool your resources & donate together, to total $100 or more)
I have some t-shirts from past years, in various sizes that I got in order to give away. People who donate $100 or more will get one. I'll figure out how to mail them later, but I've got shirts & I need donations, so come read the rest of the diary for some music (you didn't think I was going to post a diary without music, did you?). Or you could donate at my Hill Country Ride page. If you want a shirt and I have one in your size, we'll figure out the mailing thing.
Last week State Representative Bill Zedler of Arlington attempted to attach an amendment to the Appropriations Bill that would have removed LGBT Resource Centers from Texas state universities. Zedler’s specious rationale was that providing resources and support to LGBT students encouraged high risk behavior and the spread oaf HIV/AIDS.
At Equality Texas, we’re celebrating the defeat of the Zedler amendment.
We spent the last year educating the public about the threat of an amendment like this and networking with student leaders at campuses around the state. Even before Zedler filed the amendment, we were ready to fight it.
As soon as the amendment was filed, messages immediately went out to the student leaders list we had developed and to HIV/AIDS organizations. Five prominent HIV/AIDS organizations wrote letters opposing the Zedler amendment which we copied and hand-delivered to every House office. We developed messaging and resources for the student leaders who then distributed it to their contacts, all in an effort to have the people who use the resources of the LGBT resource centers contact lawmakers with stories of how the centers help them make healthier decisions.
One group of student senators with the University of Houston Student Government Association worked to unanimously pass a resolution opposing the Zedler amendment. Equality Texas provided them with resources, answered their questions, and purchased bus tickets for them to travel to Austin. We helped pull members of the Harris County delegation, Republicans and Democrats, off the House floor so the students could hand-deliver their petition.
All of this public pressure led to Zedler withdrawing the amendment.
We can’t do anything without the work of grassroots activists; it was the pressure from the grassroots that ultimately killed the Zedler Amendment.
The grassroots were able to be activated quickly because Equality Texas has a professional expert staff who know how to (i) read and analyze legislation, and (ii) prepare and execute a plan to get the grassroots activists going and keep them on message.
Donations from supporters like you made this possible. But, there is so much more we could do! We are Building a State of Equality in Texas and every volunteer who calls or writes or gets engaged is an important building block.
Zedler’s amendment is just one of the many amendments and bills that we are tracking to help build a state of equality. For more information on the legislation we are tracking and where it currently stands in the legislature, please click here.
(Thank you Senator for introducing this tremendously important bill and sharing it with the BOR community. It is a shame that this cannot currently muster votes to pass. - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)
The bills Texas legislators introduce here at the Capitol often can be divided into three categories. The first two categories are: Those that we know will pass easily, because they are good ideas that everyone can embrace, and others that we know will require a fight.
The third category: Bills that we know most likely won't pass, but we introduce them anyway because we believe in our hearts that these policy changes are the right thing to do. We file these bills because we want to spark discussion, create momentum and make an important point.
Senate Bill 237 fits into this latter category. SB 237 would prohibit employment discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity or gender expression. I authored it for a very simple reason: Because too many Texans live in fear of losing their jobs, not because they lack the skills for employment, but because of who they love. The time has come for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and people who are transgendered to stop living with this fear.
Texas already has protections against discrimination in employment based on race, color, disability, religion, sex, national origin, or age. It only makes sense to extend these protections to the LGBT community.
Of course, in Texas, I knew this would be an uphill battle. The Texas Legislature is a conservative body, and hasn't necessarily caught up to Americans' changing opinions on sexual orientation. And I realize that some people just aren't ready to support a change on certain issues, such as gay marriage.
But I want to be clear: This is not a gay marriage bill. This is a bill about fair employment laws. I am hopeful that my colleagues will realize this bill is rooted in deeply held Texas values of hard work and opportunity. In a country founded on the notion that all people are created equal, and a state that strives so hard to protect our personal freedoms, the bottom line is that all Texas workers must be free from the threat of workplace discrimination.
Every Texan deserves the opportunity to earn a fair wage and succeed in the workplace, and I find it unacceptable that qualified, hardworking Texans can be denied job opportunities, fired or otherwise discriminated against just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Every day, they work hard to make an honest living to support themselves and their families, and help our economy grow along the way - but far too many go to work with the fear that they will lose their job based on factors that have nothing to do with their job performance or ability.
What's especially infuriating is that brave warriors who fought for our freedoms can then be denied those freedoms. Marine Staff Sergeant Eric Alva testified in support of the bill on April 3 before the Senate Economic Development Committee. Staff Sgt. Alva was the first American seriously injured in the Iraq War. He lost his right leg as a result of stepping on a land mine on March 21, 2003.
"I eventually retired from the United States Marine Corps after 13 years of honorable service to my country," Staff Sgt. Alva told the committee. "But the reality of today as I sit here is that as a veteran, I could be fired from a job or be denied from applying from employment in this great state, that I was born in, all because it doesn't matter that I am a decorated Veteran, disabled or Latino, I would be denied employment because I am also a gay individual."
The bill was left pending in committee, and probably does not have the votes to get to the Senate floor.
Discrimination has no place in our society or in our workplaces; Texas can and should do better for all our workers.
Please check the publication date and be advised: this is an April Fool's Day post.
In a stunning move Monday, the Texas Supreme Court issued an advisory opinion from the bench legalizing gay marriage. The advisory memo was entirely unexpected, taking veteran court watchers by surprise.
UT Law Professor Christopher Street Halsted, already swamped by requests for comment on last week's companion cases concerning gay marriage at the U.S. Supreme Court was taken aback, noting that he was unaware of any precedent in this instance.
"Texas has long held that gay marriage was against the laws of God and man, let alone constitutional," he said.
Equality is on the march, despite the best efforts of elected Texas Republicans to prevent it.
According to polling by The University of Texas and Texas Tribune, a majority of Texans support either civil unions or full marriage equality. In February 2013, 37% of Texans surveyed supported marriage equality and another 28% supported civil unions. Only 28% of Texans surveyed oppose both. Heck, a majority of Republicans support one or the other -- 41% of Republicans support civil unions and another 13% support marriage equality, making for 54% on the side of some form of progress.
It is important for conservatives to get this right: allowing same sex civil marriage does not necessarily undermine the foundation of heterosexual marriage. Marriage in the public sphere is an institution that encourages social stability. ... If we desire a stable and prosperous nation, shouldn't we encourage responsible pursuit of stable, nuclear families, regardless of their gender makeup?
Unfortunately we don't see this movement towards LGBT acceptance in our elected Republicans here in Texas, who remain all too eager to use issues such as marriage equality as a political football with which to score cheap points from a far-right GOP primary electorate.
Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has turned his job as the "people's lawyer" into the litigation arm of the Republican Party of Texas, had this to say on the matter Monday night:
Some people forget that marriage is not man-made law. Marriage is God's law that man applied and adopted here in Texas and the United States, and man cannot rewrite God's law. Well Texas has stood firm on this issue, because we don't care how they define marriage on the East Coast or the West Coast because in Texas marriage remains a union between one man and one woman. But now, as we speak, marriage of course itself is being challenged. In the United States Supreme Court this week the definition of marriage will come under assault. I wish I could predict for you how the case will turn out but I turned out to be wrong in my prediction about Obamacare. But here is what I can predict for you. Regardless of how that case turns out, Texans will respond the way they always do. We will fight to ensure that traditional values of faith and family will be preserved, protected and defended in the state of Texas.
Abbott's cheap bigotry is out of touch with the people of Texas and increasingly out of touch with members of his own party. It's deeply unfortunate that he errantly assumes that a majority of Texans share his intolerance -- evidently folks like Abbott think hate is a Texas value.
Abbott's stance is also out of touch with the growing reality here in Texas: San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth all have significant concentrations of same-sex couples who are raising children under 18.
The arc of justice is bending towards full marriage equality for all Americans, despite the efforts of folks like Greg Abbott. I don't expect our elected Republicans to change their tune any time soon -- but I do expect their views to become further marginalized, even within their own party.
Yet for the Americans who remain denied the special rights of heterosexual couples to have their love affirmed in the eyes of the state, the change can't come soon enough.
Daniel Williams, a field organizer and legislative specialist with Equality Texas, brings us this guest post after the organization's highly visible lobby day last week.
Mother of Gay Son reaches out to Capitol Staffer After Rude Treatment By Daniel Williams
Equality Texas held our Lobby Day last Monday, March 11. Equality Texas seeks to build a state of equality in Texas where all people are treated equally regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. We had almost 500 people at lobby day from 103 House Districts and all 31 Senate Districts.
Burnt Orange Report was kind enough to ask us for a report of the day. As I sat down to write this e-mail popped up on my screen. It's from a mother from Spring. She participated in Lobby Day with a group of parents and grandparents of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender kids. Some members of the group had been treated rudely by a staffer for Sen. Dan Patrick. The staffer told the group that "homosexuals" were seeking "special rights," compared homosexuality to "bestiality" and said that she would be disgusted if her child or grandchild was gay. The group of constituents she spoke with, all straight, was so upset that one of the mothers wound up in tears.
After reading the response from this mother I couldn't think of a better explanation of why we do
what we do at Equality Texas.
1987. Seems like a really long time ago, doesn't it? Also seems like yesterday. In honor of the 25th anniversary of AIDS Walk Austin, CLS Partners is matching donations today multiples of 25 up to $6,000
I've been at this Walk every year since 1987. It really doesn't seem like that much time has passed, but it has. Keep reading for a trip down memory lane (yes, I know some of you were busy being born & don't have memories of 1987, but humor an old woman, won't you?) If you don't want the retro stuff, or the U2 video, you can just donate at my AIDS Walk Austin page
This is BOR's Video of the Day, or VOTD, our nightly video clip segment highlighting must-see content. If you like today's video and want more people to see it, share it on Twitter and Facebook!
Today's video released by LGBT Americans for Obama shows what exactly is at stake in this year's election for those who believe in equality for all. Prominent LGBT celebrities such as Jane Lynch, Zachary Quinto, Wanda Sykes and Chaz Bono highlight the many LGBT-relevant achievements made by President Obama, such as his support of same-sex marriage and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
While Mitt Romney has withdrawn any support of the LGBT community in favor of the exclusionary policies touted by his party, President Obama has evolved. It is evident to see which party and which candidate respects LGBT Americans. Now it's up to us to make sure President Obama can continue to preserve these rights.
Check out all of our BOR videos of the day on the VOTD tag.