HOUSTON VOICE • DECEMBER 24, 1999
State's top lawyer nixes DP registries
Around the Nafa 5 But some county clerks may ignore legal ruling that says they
Expelled student seeks S75 million in suit .5 can<t a||ow a same.sex couple to register their union
Fla. man sentenced lo death for murder 5
Judge scales back gag order in SheparrJ case .5 by CHRIS LEEDS
ATE head thinks bombing suspect is dead ... .5 Da,bs Voke
Study: Calif, ban on gay marriage would Answering a request that originated from
harm kids 5 Bexar County's gay community, the state's
Health Briefs 12 t0P 'awyer ruled last week that county
r , ,,, .,.,., , ,„ clerks are not required to accept registra-
Gore supports flexibility on mar.|uano ... .12 (|0ns of same.sex4domestlc partnerships.
Number of elderly with HIV increasing 12 Attorney General John Comyn's opin-
AIDS Action to bead Calif, health agency ...12 ion, issued Dec. 23, comes about four
Sustiva may be superior to proteose inhibitors 12 months aft,er a,.fW San A"tonio resident
„ . i . ■ i,i Hh , ,„ sought to legally register his relationship
One in three schools teoches abstinence-only 12 thr05ugh the fe)Jr Co6unty clerk
But the decision seemed to create confu-
VOICES & ECHOES si°n f°r tne two county clerks immediately
Editorial: The Vermont court oivelh, affected ^ ,the rulin8 because » statf that
county clerks are not required, and uses
and taketh awoy 8 ianguage to suggest that DP registries are ]
Arenschieldt: The night we had to talk 9 not allowed under Texas law.
Bexar County clerk Gerry Rickoff said
(1MT ONTHF RAYflll Tuesday that he would consult the district
attorney before commenting on what the
The Talented Mr. Damon 15 opinion would mean for his office.
Holiday Hope 15 In Travis County, the only county in the
Out in Print: 'Mismeosure of Desire' 16 state t0 offer a domestic partners registry,
R I, .. County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said she
expects no changes in the registry's exis-
Eafing Out: Trendy ironing to perform 19 tence and operation. The Travis County
registry was established when the City of
COMMUNITY Austin first offered benefits for same-sex
Black Tie funds go to local groups 21 ^[^'"the chairman of the San Antonio
Occasions 22 Gay and Lesbian Community Center,
Community Calendar 23 Michael McGowan, asked Rickoff to accept
iiv ciQrsi 25 a declaration of his domestic partnership.
Unsure of his obligations, Rickoff asked
district attorney Susan Reed to request an
CARMART 22 opinion from the attorney general.
BUSINESS DIRECTORY .24 Comyn's opinion, which does not carry
flASSIFIFuS 9A ^e em?ct °^ state 'aw- c'tec' previous deci-
B '' sions, established under former general Dan
Morales, to deem declarations of domestic
*»«*#» partnership not "documents required or
ISSUG 1000 permitted by law to be recorded."
Heather Browne, a spokeswoman for
Texas Attorney General John Cornyn ruled last week that state law does not require or permit
county clerks to accept domestic partner registries.
Comyn's office, said the legal opinion is
limited to interpreting existing statutes
about similar affidavits.
Comyn's opinion does not say whether
county clerks can or cannot register domestic partners, she said, but maintains that
"it's not their duty," Browne said.
"Opinions issued from this office are
nonbinding legal documents. They're not
something someone has to follow by law
and put into statute," she said. "It's just the
opinion of this office, clarification of the
law on a certain issue."
Debeauvior said Travis County officials
plan to study the opinion, but added that
she expects to continue accepting affidavits
from same-sex partners.
"Now that we've gotten the attorney
general's opinion, we're going to read
through it very clearly," DeBeauvoir said.
"But at this point in time, I'm not anticipating any big changes."
McGowan said he viewed the opinion as
a step backward for Texas.
"Naturally, I'm disappointed," he told
the San Antonio Express-News. "In the
broad view of things, this is a an example of
just how far behind the times Texas is. With
private employers across the country and
in our state offering domestic partnership
benefits, Texas is going in the wrong direction."
Leaders of Lesbian Gay Rights Lobby of
Texas say they are not overly surprised
about the opinion.
"I'm not surprised by the ... opinion, and
I don't really think it will have that much
effect on gays and lesbians in Texas," said
Steve Atkinson, co-chairman of the gay
lobby's board of directors.
Comyn's opinion will have no effect on
existing statues that restrict marriage to a
man and woman, nor will it alter Texas
Family Code that precludes the state from
issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Browne said.
m mi m
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Houston. TX 77006
Police arrest suspects in Montrose shooting
From staff reports
Two men have been arrested and charged
in connection with the Nov. 28 shooting of a
Houston woman, police said Wednesday.
Kevin Albert Rivas, 17, and a juvenile were
arrested this week and charged with attempted capital murder after Pasadena police spotted one of the men in the car of Tracey Lynn
Deel. Her Honda Accord had been missing
since Deel was attacked at a fast food restaurant, shot several times and left for dead in
the 10,000 block of East Haven Road.
Last Sunday, Pasadena police arrested two
juvenile suspects for shoplifting and discovered that the vehicle they were driving
belonged to Deel. One of the suspects admitted his role in Deel's attack and allegedly
implicated Rivas, police said.
Police arrested Rivas at his Pasadena
home on Monday.
Authorities have said two young Hispanic
males attacked Deel at Whataburger, 3712
South Shepherd, about 3:55 a.m. and ordered
about $9.55 in food. The attack came less than
two hours after Deel left Chances, a Montrose
bar for lesbians.
Deel called a friend about 2:30 a.m. Sunday
and said she was at Chances, which was
preparing to close, police said. About two
hours later, Deel—who had been shot several
times by a .22-caliber pistol—managed to
crawl more than 300 yards to awaken residents of an apartment complex at 10280
Windmill Lakes and ask for help.
Friends in Houston's lesbian community
have rallied to raise funds for Deel's medical recovery and joined with her father to
post a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of her
attackers. CrimeStoppers has offered a
$1,000 reward in the case.
Tracey Lynn Deel was shot several times after
being attacked at a South Shepard fast food
restaurant Nov. 28.