HOUSTON VOICE www.houstonvoice.com
JUNE 3,2005 3
local news briefs
Empower gets down to business with new features for 2005
Empower, the business expo hosted annually by the Greater Houston GLBT Chamber of
Commerce gets underway Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, 19 at the George R. Brown
Convention Center. This year, Empower features two new events, an Equality
Conference and the Taste of Montrose, a chance to sample the area's cuisine. The Expo
showcases gay, lesbian and gay-friendly businesses as well as non-profit organizations
and takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday Cost to attend
the expo is $5. The Taste of Montrose luncheon is from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Cost
is $20 in advance and $25 at the door. The Equality 101 Conference and Futures
Conference take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and feature local and national
speakers on a range of topics including corporate development, aging issues, political
organizing, fundraising, the art of building voting power and affirming religions communities. Cost is $10 in advance and $15 at the door. More information is available by
phone at 713-523-7576 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Rouge, 812
Westheimer and is free and open to the public.
Community Center events include
GLBT Night at Montrose Diner
The Houston GLBT Community Center inaugurates a twice-monthly GLBT Night at
Montrose Diner, llll Westheimer The first
event is planned at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday (June 7),
and the event is planned on the first and third
Tuesday of each month thereafter. Features
include door prizes and discounts. On Friday,
June 10, the center hosts a special Pride edition of the monthly performance night,
Featured at the Center. The event takes place
at 7 p.m. the second Friday of each month and
is free. Donations are gratefully accepted. The
center is located at 3400 Montrose Blvd., Suite
Texas Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) will
speak at the annual Pride Social hosted by the
Houston Chapter of the National Lesbian & Gay
Texas Rep. Senfronia Thompson
among speakers at Thursday event
Texas Rep Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston)
is among the speakers who will address the
annual Pride Social hosted by the Houston
Chapter of the National Lesbian & Gay
Journalists Association Thursday (June 9).
Also on the program are Houston City
Controller Annise Parker and Sue Lovell, a
candidate for Houston City Council.
Thompson, a Texas legislator for more than 30
years, recently delivered an impassioned and
memorable speech in support of gay marriage
as the House was considering a bill that would
not only prohibit same-sex marriage but would
also ban civil unions. House Joint Resolution 6
passed both legislative houses and will be on
the state ballot Nov 8. The Pride Social takes
A story on Page 1 of the May 27 Houston Voice
said the proposed constitutional amendment in
Texas "paves the way for someone who was
legally married in another state to come to
Texas, file for divorce and keep all the property
that was agcuired."
The story should have said, "because same-sex
marriages and civil unions from other states will
be unconstitutional in Texas, a divorcing samesex spouse may be able to come to Texas where
the relationship is not recognized and unfairly
avoid all marital obligations such as community
debt or spousal support, and may even be able
to keep some community property to the detriment of the other spouse."
The matter will go to the voters Nov. 8.
Desi Del Valle is the producer of a film that will be presented by the Houston Gay and Lesbian Rim Festival.
Houston Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
presents lesbian film by Desi Del Valle
"Desi's Looking for a New Girl," a lesbian
comedy by Desi Del Valle, will be shown at
7:30 p.m. today (June 3) at Talento Bilingue
de Houston, 333 S. Jensen. The film, with
dialogue in Spanish, English and
Spanglish, premiered at the 2000 San
Francisco Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
and has won numerous regional film
awards. The plot chronicles the highs and
lows of Desi's search for the perfect
woman after she gets dumped by her live-
in lover. Cost is $5. For more information,
From staff and wire reports
CPS overhaul passes Senate
without Talton amendment
Passage of SB 6 leaves
gays and lesbians free to
continue as foster parents
By BINNIE FISHER
The Texas Legislature last week gave
final approval to a bill to overhaul the
state's Children's Protective Services
Division after last-minute negotiations
stripped out an amendment that would
have prevented gays and lesbians from
serving as foster parents.
The amendment, tacked onto the legislation in the House by Texas Rep.
Robert Talton (R-Pasadena), would also .
have required the state agency to investigate all current foster parents and dismiss any of those who were found to be
gay, lesbian or bisexual.
Gay rights activists hailed the last-
minute passage of the bill before the legislative session ended as a victory.
"The hours of talking and waiting
and lobbying paid off," said Randall
Ellis, executive director of the
Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas.
"The Talton amendment was cut without with any compromise."
He said a number of compromises
were placed on the table including one
that would have allowed current gay and
lesbian foster parents to remain but
When Senate Bill 6 was debated in the Texas
House of Representatives, Rep. Robert Tatton (R-
Pasadena) tacked on an amendment that would
have prevented gays and lesbians from serving as
eliminate future gay and lesbian applicants from becoming foster parents.
Among those opposed to the Talton
amendment was Sen. Jane Nelson (R-
Lewisville), the original" author of
Senate Bill 6. Nelson argued that the
amendment would not only cost the state
millions of dollars, but it would displace
hundreds, perhaps thousands of children at a time when foster homes are at
She also said the amendment would
have left the legislation open to being
overturned by the courts.
The Senate gave final approval to the
Texas Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Lewisville) authored
Senate Bill 6 to overhaul the state's foster care
system, and she made it clear that she opposed the
Talton Amendment that would have prevented
gays and lesbians from being foster parents.
bill last Friday
Ellis said he worries that the measure
will come up again in the next legislative session.
"The point I make is that I'm already
worried about 2007 on this issue," he
said. "We'll have to fight it even harder
next time, because it will be back, and it
will have momentum."
Before then, Ellis said, he hopes to
have a statewide effort in place to lobby
not only legislators but also the public.
He said he hopes gays and lesbians come
forward and offer their help.
"They need to help put a face on this
issue," he said. "We need resources,
whether it's funding or whether its
In addition working to derail another
bill that would ban gay and lesbian foster parents, Ellis said, supporters of gay
rights need to be actively campaigning
against a proposed constitutional
amendment that would ban gay marriage and limit civil unions.
"We need marriage rights, whether
it's civil unions that eventually become
marriage, we need to get them." he said.
The 79th Legislative Session that
ended in May gave gay activists a clear
view of their friends as well as those
who could be cultivated. Ellis noted.
He pointed out that there were legislators who took a clear stand in favor of
"Some legislators have to view the
landscape before making an active
movement," he said.
Nelson could not be reached for comment regarding passage of the bill, but
her staff indicated that she is happy
with the outcome.
ft MORE INFO
Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas