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Let’s Admit What Really Went Wrong in Houston

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Hayden MoraIt’s a dangerous myth that Houston was unexpected. National leadership of the LGBTQ movement has known or had very good reasons to suspect that our opponents — still reeling from their defeat around same-sex marriage — would seize on trans issues to energize their supporters, refill their treasuries, and create a new opportunity to gain traction with voters and the public at large.

But our funding has been so focused on marriage equality that we were left fighting for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance without the proper resources for political strategy, organizing, and effective, wide-scale public education. We were caught unprepared and that is inexcusable.

The voters’ decision on HERO comes at a pivotal time in our movement and raises key questions for all of us — especially our leaders — about what happened, why it happened, and where to go from here. How much and how quickly we learn from this loss depends on whether we, as a movement, engage in an unsparing and rigorous analysis not just of the Houston campaign, but also the ways in which we have and have not prioritized trans issues.

The reaction to the loss itself is telling. Many whose engagement is bounded by the victory of marriage equality and the goal of passing the Equality Act are left shocked. On the other extreme, for those who spend most of their lives working on the “margins” of our community — the undocumented, the young, people of color, trans folks, and those that hold multiple marginalized identities — Houston is like a distant rainstorm amid an ongoing level 5 hurricane of profound and pervasive violence and oppression. Identifying how and working toward bridging this divide is part of the crucial work that must occur in order for us to develop a stronger, smarter, and more holistic strategy of how to move forward.

By Hayden Mora – Full Story at The Advocate

Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Imagine That Pix, Houston, Texas

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Imagine That Pix

Periodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

For the passed 10+ years, Imagine That Pix has provided the high quality portraits you crave at a reasonable and affordable cost. We have always done so, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or SES. We will continue to do so, and are pleased to hear the SCOTUS ruling! Come see why we are the top of our field, and let us provide you with the images you crave!

See the Imagine That Pix Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

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Why Houston’s Pastor Subpoenas Have Nothing To Do With Religious Liberty

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Texas mapThere has been a new clash this week in the fight over the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a law that would protect LGBT individuals and other targeted groups from discrimination. The latest hubbub involves the city subpoenaing five pastors for their sermons, which has prompted conservatives to claim that religious liberty is under attack and that the subpoenas are a form of intimidation.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, was on Fox News last night claiming that Houston Mayor Annise Parker (D) is “taking a bulldozer to that wall of separation [of church and state]” and trying to “dictate what pastors preach.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tweeted that the subpoenas constitute a “march against our freedoms.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called the subpoenas a “grotesque abuse of power.” And Texas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott (R) wrote to the Houston City Attorney that the subpoenas should be unilaterally withdrawn because they reflect “hostility to religious beliefs.”

Assessing the veracity of these claims and the epic campaign conservatives are now launching in defense of the “Houston Five” requires an examination of how opponents are challenging HERO, what facts are material to their current lawsuit, and what exactly the city is asking for in its subpoenas of the pastors.

Authored By Zack Ford – See the Full Story at Think Progress

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Houston’s LGBT Protections Ordinance Survives Initial Attack

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Texas mapThe City of Houston determined that the opponents of a new LGBT civil rights ordinance failed to gather enough valid signatures to put a repeal on the ballot.

The Dallas Voice reports:

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance will not appear on the November ballot, Mayor Annise Parker announced at a press conference today. “The petition is simply invalid,” said David Feldman, the city’s attorney. Officials said there were too many irregularities in the petition. Some of the pages weren’t notarized, and too many of the signatures were not registered voters, they said. Feldman said, essentially, that there were so many problems with the petition as it was submitted that the city couldn’t accept it. Mayor Annise Parker predicted that opponents will take legal action. Because of expected legal action, she will then delay implementation of the ordinance.

It’s sad that the implementation has been delayed, but this does shift the fight to the courts, which are a lot harder to sway than public opinion with lies and deception.

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Houston LGBT Rights Ordinance Challenge May Fall Short

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Texas mapThe city is close to finishing a validation of the signatures turned in by opponents of the new Houston LGBT rights ordinance.

Joe.My.God reports:

From JMG reader Mike Craig of Out & Equal Houston: When the Houston Area Pastors Council turned in 7 boxes of petitions to the City on July 3rd, they boasted of gathering more than 31,000 valid signatures. An independent group of concerned citizens has spent the last three weeks independently reviewing each page of that repeal petition in an effort to provide additional accountability to the referendum process. This was a grass-roots effort involving more than 100 volunteers who communicated via social media and participated in a crowd-sourced effort that uncovered fatal flaws with what was turned in. Having finished this exhaustive review, the HERO Petition Review Working Group concluded that the petitioners did not, in fact, turn in enough valid signatures in order to place this issue on the ballot… Based on these simple criteria, this independent review showed only 16,499 valid signatures were turned in. Additional scrutiny can only lower that number further. A full report detailing these findings has been provided to the City Secretary, City Attorney and Mayor. While it is our hope that the City’s own determination will come to a similar conclusion, we understand that it is ultimately the legal & statutory responsibility of the City Secretary and we will abide by that office’s findings.

The official report has not yet been released, so we have to wait and see if the repeal does quality for the ballot. If not? Expect a lawsuit.

Cases like this make it really clear. It was never really about the word “marriage”. It’s about preventing the granting of any right at all to LGBT citizens.

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Houston Gay Rights Opponents Turn in Signatures to Repeal LGBT Rights Ordinance

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

houston-petitions

It looks like opponents of the new LGBT rights ordinance in Houston have turned in more than enough signatures to force a public vote in November.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Opponents of Houston’s new LGBT-inclusive equal rights ordinance on Thursday delivered what they say are thousands of voters’ signatures requesting that it be repealed. The group, consisting of pastors and faith-based organizations, said they had collected more than 50,000 signatures calling for a ballot referendum aimed at repealing the measure; a total of 17,269 valid signatures are required to place the issue on the November ballot. They say they want the public to have a chance to vote on the anti-discrimination ordinance, and not just city council members.

It’s amazing to me that these folks hate us enough to want to block even employment and housing protections for the LGBT community. Remember how they always used to tell us it was just about the word “marriage”?

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Houston LGBT Rights Ordinance Passes 11-6

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Houston Mayor Annise ParkerHouston LGBT rights took a step forward yesterday, passing a bill sponsored by lesbian Mayor Annise Parker.

The Dallas Voice reports:

After nearly nine hours of chanting and tears from seas of opponents and supporters in color-coded T-shirts, Houston City Council passed an ordinance on Wednesday extending equal rights protections to gay and transgender residents, The Houston Chronicle reported. Despite weeks of discussion and dissent over the measure, the final vote was 11-6, a count that matched guesses made months ago, when Mayor Annise Parker– the first openly lesbian mayor of a major American city — said she planned to bring forward such a measure. The approval was greeted with thunderous applause from the audience, largely full of supporters, and chants of “HERO,” for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

Unfortunately, they were only able to pass the bill after removing a section that protected transgender people using public bathrooms.

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USA, Texas: Mayor Parker Gets Benefits Case Moved to Federal Court

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Houston Mayor Annise ParkerLooks like the Houston Mayor pulled a little sleight of hand and got the lawsuit against the city’s domestic partner benefits ordinance moved to a Federal court.

Towleroad.com reports:

But City Attorney David Feldman has just gotten the case moved out of Millard’s district court and into a federal court.

Lone Star Q has more: The notice of removal also brings light of how Republican Judge Lisa Millard failed to notify Mayor Annise Parker and the city of Houston before holding a hearing the exact same day Republicans filed the lawsuit, and then immediately signing a temporary restraining order halting the new same-sex benefits policy enacted by Parker in November… The notice of removal has now automatically moved the lawsuit case into federal court. Republicans are going to have to ask a federal judge to remand their case in order to get it back to state court.

The ball’s now in another court. :::grin:::

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USA, Texas: Houston Mayor Wants City to Pass Anti Discrimination Law

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Houston Mayor Annise ParkerOpenly lesbian Mayor Annise Parker wants Houston to join San Antonio and pass a non discrimination ordinance for its LGBT citizens.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

“It is absolutely something we should do, and the majority of council members have publicly stated they are in support of a nondiscrimination ordinance,” said Annise Parker, the first openly gay mayor of a major American city. “But this is an issue that requires all of council to be engaged and agree it is time to move it forward. When it happens, we will do that.” Unlike other Texas municipalities, Houston has a charter amendment that makes the council unable to pass an ordinance without voter approval.

Small steps…

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Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Robin’s Nest B&B Inn, Houston, Texas

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Robin's Nest B&B Inn, Houston, TexasPeriodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Gay Wedding Event Location in Houston, TX, USA. Robin’s Nest consists of three historical houses setting side by side in Montrose, Houston’s premiere gay neighborhood; also called the Museum and Arts District. Backdrop: 1898 Victorian Farmhouse with gardens, scrumptious food, and a wedding coordinator for your big day.

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