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Connections, Vol. 2, No. 2, February 1980
File 011
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Connections, Vol. 2, No. 2, February 1980 - File 011. 1980-02. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. February 18, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/1558/show/1551.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1980-02). Connections, Vol. 2, No. 2, February 1980 - File 011. Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/1558/show/1551

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Connections, Vol. 2, No. 2, February 1980 - File 011, 1980-02, Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive, University of Houston Libraries, accessed February 18, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/1558/show/1551.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Connections, Vol. 2, No. 2, February 1980
Contributor
  • Olinger, James K.
Publisher Gay Community Services
Date February 1980
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
Place
  • Austin, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 5962584
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive
Rights No Copyright - United States
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 011
Transcript 10 ConhecTibNS BAKER »s 21.06 Donald Baker The "perfect" plaintiff by Rue Starr ;)68, Donald Baker left college and-jcrined the Navy to try to get away from the environment that he felt might be causing(his homosexual feelings. It's been a long battle, but Don Baker is back in school in a graduate fellowship program at Southern Methodist University and, this time, it's not his sexuality he's fight i :"! aims the Texas State Sodomy law, section 21:06 "violates my right to privacy" and who has filed suit in Federal District Court challenging the law, was in Houston recently. In an appeal for statewide support, Baker told a meeting of the Gay Political Caucus, "I think this (case) will create a spirit of unity that Texas has not felt before." Baker was backed up by lawyers from the Texas Human Rights Foundation who were there to reiterate the importance this case will have on gay civil rights, should it go to the Supreme Court. "In this case, the eyes of the nation are on Texas," Baker said. THRF will play a big part in Baker's legal battle by coordinating the fundraisers for the money needed to get the case thr in Dallas. . GAY RIGHTS FIGHT LOOMING IA - A fight that promises to be as big and as as the one in Dade County, Florida is shaping Santa Clara County. Next June voters will de- :.ether to approve or disapprove a gay rights nice. -,ional binge or a relatively rate atmosphere, as in the Proposition 6 : ast year in California. (Propo.. ' ras one few anti-homosr :■ fc measures to be I - :ore in the country,) The battle lines a:- etveen the cons- atives, led by Chri-stv. "'■■■'' ■ Opponents of the ordinance are gathering funds : ose their both Santa Clara County and the city of San Jose. The Santa Clara (P.O.Box*2o66, San Jose, Ca. raisers and other workers. Keith McGee of THRF explains that lawyers, public relations, and the necessity of obtaining expert witnesses from anywhere in the country might create legal bills in excess of $50,000. Baker's attorney, James C. Barber, says the case has a "reasonable chance" of reaching the U. S. Supreme Court because of a lack of legal precedent of the issue. Baker held a press conference in Dallas on Nov, 19 announcing his suit and soon after, his face and name was in the news. The following Sunday, the New York Times carried the story under "Curb on "Homosexuality in-Texas is Challenged in Suit by Teacher." Don Baker will tell you he was prepared for it. "My pastor gave me the last green light," he said about his decision. "My relationship to the church is paramount. ... I'm doing what I can to correct a wrong," he said. Baker is active in the Episcopal Church and has taught sixth-grade students at Daniel Webster Elementary since 1975. The 32-year-old social studies and language arts teacher is on sabbatical leave from the Dallas school district to pursue his masters degree. The Dallas native spent four years traveling the world as a communications technician in the Navy and received an honorable discharge. After a frightening sexual experience the year before at the University of Texas, Baker says, "I joined the Navy to escape," He says he suppressed his sexuality because he "hadn't come out." Baker claims to have had no affairs during his military service. Also, he didn't lose his attraction for men. After living in Massachusetts, he attended a meeting of a gay group at Cornell University in New York. Baker was finally able to resolve his conflicts and his life began to change. "I was literally born again. , . but many gay people live with the sense of self-hate 1 once felt,7 he said. The admirable record Donald Baker has earned as a human being is part of the reason THRF lawyers are so enthusiastic about the case. "We want to show, simply, that Don is a real person - all over the state," says Keith McGee. His attorney is hoping to get a favorable judge in Dallas, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is one of the most liberal in the nation. Six to ten months is the projected delay for the hearing in Dallas. Until then, Baker will be taking his case all over Texas to drum up support from human rights organizations as well as the grass root gays. Lawyers are also predicting some support from the conservatives who will object to the idea of policemen investigating private bedrooms. Baker also explained that the law itself is the cornerstone of legal discrimination against gay people in immigration, child custody cases, vice laws, housing, and employment. "The ramifications of the law (which carries a maximum $200 fine) are overwhelming," he said. "The illegality of homosexual acts makes it harder for gay people to lead positive lives," Baker told the Dallas Times Herald. Although THRF lawyers will be soliciting input from organized gay law groups all over the country, Patty O'Kane of Houston says she "hopes the case will bring more gay lawyers in Texas down off the bookshelves." O'Kane is also the only openly gay person serving on the Police Advisory Commission for Continued Improvement in Houston. Don Baker not only has the support of the Texas Human Rights Foundation, he has his family behind him, too. He discussed the situation with them before filing the suit. He's gotten calls of reassurance from neighbors and former colleagues and claims to have enough support from the SMU faculty to be insured of future employment. He admits, though, that in education, he's qualified for an administrative position as we 'he classroom.
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