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Resurrection MCC honors
Rev. Carolyn Mobley
Rev. Carolyn Mobley, associate pastor of
Resurrection Metropolitan Church, will
be honored June 24 at the church's
Casino Night Fundraiser. Mobley served
as youth director at Shiloah Baptist
Church in Orlanda, Fla. and as interim
chaplan for the Women's Pre-Release
Center and deacon at the MCC in
Atlanta, Ga. before moving to Houston.
Casino night runs from 7 p.m. to
Midnight at the Sheraton Brookhollow
Hotel. 3000 N. Loop West, and features a
silent auction as well as casino games.
For more information, contact the
church at 713-861-9149.
New state-wide coalition forms
to fight marriage amendment
Steering committee members from
Human Rights Campaign chapters
around the state met recently in Austin
to strategize about ways to fight the
upcoming ballot referendum on marriage. Matt Burrus, a steering committee member from Houston, said the idea
is to pull together individuals and
organizations from around the state in
an organized effort to fight the amendment. "We mainly discussed strategy
for what we can do to fight this marriage amendment." he said. Randall
Ellis, executive director of the
Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas
(LGRL), also attended the meeting.
"LGRL presented the initial outline of a
strategy," Burrus said. The meeting was
attended by about 30 leaders from
around the state, and Burrus said that
was more than expected. The next step,
he said, is for HRC and LGRL to lead
the effort to create a third party organization that will organize groups
around the state in a united effort. He
said a paid director will be hired in the
next week or two to coordinate the
effort. Much of the discussion at the
meeting centered on the fact that since
Texas already has a Defense of
Marriage Law. marriage can't be
expected to become a reality for gays
and lesbians in Texas anytime soon.
"We're just arguing that you shouldn't
write discrimination into the constitution," he said. He added that gays and
lesbians in Texas will be hearing more
about the group as the Nov. 8 election
nears. When that day does roll around,
Burrus said, "We're going to be much
stronger and have a coordinated effort."
Center for AIDS will conduct a
training for AIDS service providers
The Center for AIDs Information and
Advocacy project presents a training for
service providers entitled, "A New
Definition of AIDS Trends in Survival
and Mortajify Service Provider
Training. The training takes place from
10 a.m. to Noon June 28 at the center,
1407 Hawthorne. More information is
available by calling Bernie Vazquez at
From staff and wire reports
JUNE 17,2005 3
New organization will fight for
gay and lesbian civil rights
The Houston Equal
Rights Alliance grew
out of the Equality
By DAWN R0RIE
Members of the voter identification
project t previously known as Equality
Knocks-Houston are announcing the
launchlaunching of the Houston Equal
Rights Alliance (HERA), a new civil
rights organization dedicated to achieving full equality for all people.
Catapulting off of the hard work and
success of Equality Knocks-Houston,
HERA's mission is to create an alliance
of individuals and organizations that
are committed to promoting equality
and respect for all people. In addition
to alliance building, HERA will focus
on educating the public on GLBT civil
rights issues, community mobilization,
By reaching out to gay civil rights
groups as well as their straight allies,
the organizers say HERA will leverage
the strengths of many organizations in
order to build a sustainable strategy to
fight discrimination and anti-equality
Alliance partners include
Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, the
Houston GLBT Political Caucus, the
Houston GLBT Community Center, and
the Foundation for Marriage Equality
"HERA is not an organization that is
simply focused on serving its own purpose. HERA is, in and of itself, an
alliance organization," says HERA president Tammi Wallace.
She says she believes that tremendous
strength lies in the unification of like-
minded organizations. Collectively, we
are stronger than our individual efforts."
In the coming months, HERA is gearing up to fight the anti gay marriage
amendment that will face voters at the
polls this November. Volunteers with the
group will conduct a variety of actions
including block walks.
HERA will be talking with voters face-
to-face in order to educate them about the
effect that thisthe amendment couldwill
ft MORE INFO
HERA Launch Party
6:30 p.m., Tuesday
Activist Tammi Wallace is one of the organizers of a the Houston Equal Rights Alliance (HERA), a new civil
rights organization. Photo by Dalton DeHart.
have, not only on gay couples and their
families, but on heterosexuals, as well.
If passed, the proposed amendment
would go beyond banning same-sex marriage, and could also jeopardizieng a
variety of legal contracts between
unmarried parties, gay and straight.
HERA is also working with alliance
partners to plan a town hall meeting for
the month of July.
"The purpose of the town hall will be
to educate Houstonians about the impact
the amendment will have on Texas families and how individuals can get involved
with the effort to defeat this measure."
says HERA vice president April Ayers.
Voter identification, the central objective of Equality Knocks, will continue to
be a key focus for HERA. Members of the
group are currently distributing pledge
cards that will enable voters to identify
themselves to their legislators as being
supportive of equal rights for all Texans.
According to Wallace, identifying voters who will support equality will allow
thegays GLBT community and their
allies to "mobilize and organize, because
we do have political strength, and we
need to be recognized. This is a long
term goal that extends long beyond th"
amendment vote in November."
Through voter identification efforts.
HERA and its alliance partners have
gathered a database of over more than
45,000 voters who are supportive of their
mission for equality.
By Through mobilizingation of these
supporters and various organizations
throughout the community, HERA
intends to hold legislators accountable
for their actions while in office. Martha
Wong, whose District 134 covers half of
the heavily gay Montrose, is cited as a
legislator who has repeatedly supported
To say the least, Martha Wong's
actions have been inconsistent with the
views and values of the majority of her
constituents, both straight and gay. We
believe that this, in and of itself, jeopardizes her potential for reelection,"
Wong, however, did vote against a
measure that would have prevented gays
and lesbians from being foster parents,
and she abstained from voting for the
proposed constitutional amendment
because it also bans civil unions, which
she has said she favors.
Volunteers for HERA will be out in
force at Houston's 2005 Pride celebra-
tionn They will be manningThere will
be a a booth at the Pride Festival, and
organizers will walk as well as walking
the parade route, meeting and talking
with individuals one-on-one and distributing pledge cards.
We are looking for volunteers to
come and be part of the HERA team for
th? Pride celebration " m .o -y-. t This
is a great chance to get out and meet
other people in the community while
supporting the fight for equal rights."
HERA's official launch party willis at
6:30 p.m. be held on Tuesday. June 21 at
Meteor, 2306 Genessee. at 6:30 p.m. The
event will include hors (Toeuvres, a cash
bar. music, and a chance to meet the people behind the organization. For more
information or to volunteer, visit
www.houstonera org or call 713-522-