HOUSTON VOICE • JANUARY 14, 2000
'ns'de Anti-gay marriage bill may hit legislature
Around the Notion 7 Gay activists say a recent court decision in Vermont
CDC: Number of blatk, Hisponit goy men with may feed a conservative push to ban same-sex
aids increases 7 marriage in Texas, allowing an anti-gay bill to slip
plea ogreement reached in soldier's killing .7 through the legislature 'like a greased pig'
Supreme Court allows AIDS coverage limits . .7
Gay atty. announces long-shot campaign 7 [,„ taMMYE NASH
Utah education boord quietly bans bias 7 Dallas Voice
Pitcher says he spoke like a 'jerk' 10 During the last tw0 sessions of the
Gore bocks away from'litmus test' 10 Texas Legislature, opponents beat back
Dallas woman charged in roommate slaying 14 ;»easures desi8ned t0 Prevent the sta,e
from recognizing same-sex marriages.
But such a measure may face an easier
VOICES & ECHOES *'me m tne noxt sessi°n< beginning in
. iij January 2001, legislators and gay rights
Editorial: Speech troubles Rocker and Gore . .8 advocates said.
Minitucci; Conquering the queer virus 9 Last month's decision by the Vermont
Supreme Court, requiring lawmakers
there to provide gay couples with the
OUT ON THE BAYOU same "benefits and protections" current-
Vivid Vidnl 17 'y extended Io married couples, may give
added impetus to anti-gay marriage leg-
The shag's the thing 17 islation in Texas, they said.
Out in Print: Mysterious reading 18 "Tht' Vermont ruling definitely height
ens the [same-sex marriage] issue in
Bestsellers Io Texas," said Dianne Hardy-Garcia, exec-
Eating Out: Generous but jumbled platters . .23 utive director of Lesbian Gay Rights
„.„..,, ,, ,.,. , ,. „, Lobby of Texas. "We've had to tend of!
Past Out: A brave ond foolish darling ... .25 [anH/gay marrjage] bj||s m (he ,as, two
Occasions 22 sessions of the legislature. And I expect
Community Calendar 26 we'" have f„ even biSS« fi«ht this next
MySlars! 29 state Rep. Harryette Ehrhardt (D-
There's no question that there will be
UIKtUUKY /o an anti-gay marriage bill introduced in
CLASSIFIEDS 30 the next session/' Ehrhardt said. "If they
,mi»nT ,i -ire able to make this into a real emotion-
UKMAKI Jl al issue, it's going to be very hard to
defeat such a bill."
Moth previous bills were defeated
i — ^-l^ <| Sl/lO through technical maneuvers, not by votes,
l99llf? ImiJlMO notefj state Rep rj|en Maxcv (D-Austin),
the legislature's only openly-gay member.
"We've never had the votes to kill a
marriage bill," Maxey said. "We've
always done it through parliamentary
procedure. Whether or not we could do it
again depends on who controls the legislature, the Democrats or the
Maxey said it was inevitable that the
legislature would take up another anti-
gay marriage bill in 2001.
"We'd have this bill again whether the
Vermont ruling had come down the way
it did or not," Maxey said. "I don't think
we can continue to block it. I know that if
the Republicans control the legislature in
the next session, Texas will have a
'Defense Of Marriage' law."
State Rep. Warren Chisum (R-Pampa)
introduced bills in 1997 and 1999 to prevent the state from legally recognizing
same sex marriages, including unions
conducted legally elsewhere. Both bills
died in the State Affairs Committee.
Opponents also were able to stymie
efforts to have Chisum's bills passed as
amendments to other legislation on the
Chisum did not return calls seeking
Hardy-Garcia agreed with Maxey that
the November elections will play a key
role in deciding whether the next legislature will pass an anti-gay marriage bill.
"This election couldn't be more important," 1 lardy-Garcia said. "Our community has to have an energized vote in
November, and all of our emphasis this
year is going to be on the election. That's
our best chance to defeat any anti-gay legislation. But if the Republicans take over
the Texas House, the marriage bill is going
to fly through there like a greased pig-"
A ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court
in 1993, declaring that the state's failure
to grant marriage licenses to same-sex
State Reps. Harryette Ehrhardt and Glen
Maxey said that it will be difficult for gay-
friendly lawmakers to beat back efforts in
the Texas Legislature next year to pass a ban
on some-sex marriage.
couples was a form of sex discrimination
prohibited by the state constitution,
sparked a flurry of legislation around the
U.S. barring same-sex marriage.
In 1996, Congress passed and
President Clinton signed the Defense of
Marriage Act, a measure withholding
federal recognition of same-sex marriages and permitting states to do the
same. By the end of 1998, 29 states had
passed similar legislation, according to
the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
In November 1998, Hawaii voters
approved a constitutional amendment
permitting the state's lawmakers to
declare that marriage was limited to a
man and a woman—something lawmakers had already done in 1994. The Hawaii
Supreme Court ruled late last year that
the constitutional amendment was the
tinal word on the gay marriage controversy in the state, ending a lawsuit by
three gay and lesbian couples seeking the
right to many.
Last year, lo additional states considered anti-gay marriage legislation,
including Texas. But only one passed
such a measure—Louisiana, which
became the 30th state with a law barring
In the wake of the Vermont court decision last month, efforts to ban gay marriages have been announced in two states.
Hate crimes summit in Houston expected to draw hundreds
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500 Lovett Blvd., Suite 200
Houston, TX 77006
byMATTHl-WA 111 Wll
Finding practical ways to address hate
crimes will bring together local, state and
federal officials during a day-long summit
next week expected to attract up to 700 participants.
The focus of the event—targeted at clergy, educators, law enforcement and community groups—will include hate crimes
motivated by sexual orientation. Nancy
Rodriguez, the mother of a gay man slain in
I [ouston nearly 10 years ago, and Bill l^snn
Lee, acting assistant U.S. Attorney General,
who has spoken out on gay-related hate
crimes, ^rc scheduled to take part in
"[Organizers] have tried to really cover
the whole gambit," said Tracey Cobb, a
spokeswoman for Mayor Lee Brown. "It is
a very diverse group."
Houston police Chief CO. Mradford will
also take part. Since early 1998, Brown and
Bradford have greatly expanded the police
department's efforts on hate crimes, including appointing a hate crimes coordinator
and expanding training for officers
The idea for the summit grew out of the
regular meetings of the I louston Area Hate
Crimes Working Croup, a collaborative
effort that includes local, state and federal
government officials, law enforcement and
Some 1,000 people were invited to attend
the event, though organizers moved this
week to open the session to the public,
The even! is broken into two panel discussions, along with two break out sessions
to focus on developing practical approaches to combating hate crimes in metro
Houston, Cobb said.
Organizers also tapped openly lesbian
City Councilwoman Annise Parker for suggestions on what organizations in the gay
community should be invited to attend.
"They wanted to focus on people who
are actively involved in some sort of hate
crimes work," Parker said. "It is more
about having people that can affect what is
happening here in Houston."
Hate Crimes Summit
Jan. 20, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
George R. Brown Convention
1001 Avenida de las Americas
To pre-register: 713-437-6966
mayor/hatec rimes, htm