DECEMBER 29, 2000 • HOUSTON VOICE
Landmark gay cases heard during 2000
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panel of the court ruled 2-1 in October that the
defendant's rights were not violated. The
panel said Calvin Burdine, 47, was unable to
prove that his lawyer, Joe Cannon, slept during critical parts of the trial. Cannon is now
The court has scheduled oral arguments for
Jan. 22 in New Orleans.
AIDS Ride cuts fail to make financial difference: Despite dramatic changes in the
Tanqueray's Texas AIDS Ride last year, final
accounting results are expected to show that
expenses for the 1999 event consumed about
85 percent of the money raised, matching disappointing returns a year earlier that prompted several beneficiaries to drop out. A severe
shortfall in the amount of money returned to
beneficiaries of the 1998 AIDS Ride led at least
10 agencies to pull out of the 1999 event. Only
$380,000 was distributed among the 40 AIDS
groups that took part in 1998, less than 15 percent of the $2.8 million raised.
Organizers said in February that if more
riders will participate in the 2000 event in
October, the ride will be able to return more
money to benefiting agencies.
Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Low
rider turnout and poor financial returns
caused promoters of Tanqueray's Texas AIDS
Ride to disband the event Directors of the
Resource Center of Dallas say they plan to continue an AIDS ride of some sort in 2001, but it
is still uncertain if the ride will be state wide
and whether Houston AIDS agency would
benefit from such an event.
Bobbi Whitocre (left) is hugged by partner Sandi
Cote after the Vermont House gave final passage
to me civil unions bill in ApriL
Vermont legislature approves historic
'civil unions' bill: A bill to recognize same-sex
"civil unions" won final passage in the
Vermont legislature and received Gov.
Howard Dean's signature a day later, bringing
with it the creation of a new verb: "to C.U."
The Vermont House passed the Senate ver-
sion of the bill by a margin of 79-68, three votes
more than it earned on first passage.
An estimated 20 to 30 couples took advantage of the law on July 1, the day it took effect,
including out-of-state couples from
Massachusetts, Louisiana and Ohio.
Houston gay activist Richard Wiederholt
dies: Gay activist and businessman Richard
Wiederholt, an inspiring force to many members of Houston's gay community, died April
28 from complications related to AIDS. He was
Wiederholt was best known for Basic
Brothers, a gay clothing store he founded in
1982, and a laundry list of community groups
he volunteered with or helped establish,
including the Greater Houston Gay & Lesbian
Chamber of Commerce, the Body Positive
Wellness Center and HIV/AIDS Resource
As a testament to Wiederholt's community
involvement, he was selected in March as one
of four grand marshals for the Pride parade
Hundreds of thousands march for equality: Despite protests from anti-gay religious
groups and some gay rights activists, hundreds of thousands of participants joined
the Millennium March on Washington for
29-30, the fourth
gay rights march
on the national
organizers estimated a crowd of
700,000 to 800,000
participated in the
April 30 march
and rally on the
crowd at 200,000
people. The march
capped a weekend of gay rights
events that also
included a gala
dinner, a mass
same-sex wedding ceremony, a display of panels from the
AIDS memorial quilt, a rock concert and a
street festival on Pennsylvania Avenue.
"Moments like Sunday are life-transforming, and we need those moments because we
need more people to be involved in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights
movement," said an exhausted but elated
Dianne Hardy-Garcia, MMOW executive
But just a week later, MMOW organizers
asked the FBI to investigate as much as a million dollars in money missing from the
Millennium Festival, a street fair produced by
Millennium Productions that was scheduled
to donate the bulk of its proceeds to the march.
In mid-December, two gay media companies, Gay.com and Liberation Publications,
publishers of the Advocate and Out magazines, and the nation's largest gay political
group forgave hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans to MMOW, Inc.
Local station gives green light to 'Dr.
Laura': KPRC Channel 2 won't stop Dr. Laura,
but the television station's management says it
will monitor the upcoming show for negative
comments about gay men and lesbians.
Steve Wasserman, KPRC general manager,
told a group of Houston activists during a private meeting May 8 that he won't pull the plug
on controversial talk show host Dr, Laura
With the Capitol in the
background, Bethany Toups
(left) and Bunnie Kramer of
Rochester, N.Y. hold a flag
while taking part in the
Millenium March on
Washington for Equality.
Schlessinger's program set to air this fall, but
will personally review the show for inappropriate content.
The meeting came just days before some
companies—including Procter & Gamble Co.,
United Airlines, Xerox Corp. and the online
branch of toy retail chain Toys "R" Us Inc.—
announced that they are pulling back on
advertising support of the television or 'Dr.
Laura's' daily radio talk show.
On Dec. 4, KPRC downgraded the show to
a 3:05 a.m. time slot.
Elizabeth Toledo, a newly out mom, takes
NGLTF helm: A lesbian mom who has been
out less than a year started on June 1 as the
new executive director of the National Gay &
Lesbian Task Force, the 27-year-old group
focused on state and local organizing.
Elizabeth Toledo, the newly out and newly
appointed executive director ol the National Gay
& lesbian Task Force, and her children posed for a
Human Rights Campaign catalogue, a group often
pitted against NGLTF. Toledo has pledged to work
But Elizabeth Toledo, 38, stressed that
while she may be new to lesbian issues personally, "I'm not new to organizing on lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgendered political
State sodomy law overturned: In a landmark decision on June 8,
the 14th Texas Court of
Appeals declared the
state's homosexual conduct law unconstitutional
under the Texas Equal
Rights Amendment and
acquitted two Houston
men convicted of violating
the 120-year-old Texas
Shortly thereafter, Harris County assistant
district attorney Bill Denmore asked all nine
justices of the Hth Court of Appeals to reconsider the decision of a three-judge panel.
In September 2000, a two-sentence letter
sent announced that the full panel of judges of
the Hth Court of Appeals would review the
The letter read: "The Court has granted the
State's Motion for Rehearing En Banc without
hearing oral argument. The Court's opinion on
rehearing will follow."
There is no time frame set on the full court
review and the court has not yet issued a decision.
Brown rides in Pride parade: For the first
time the 22-year history of Houston's Gay
Pride celebration, the city's current mayor rode
in the annual parade. Houston Mayor Lee P
Brown participated in the June 24, 9 p.m.
parade down Westheimer from Woodhead to
An estimated 100,000 people lined the
parade route for the annual gay pride celebration.
U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas Rep.
Debra Danburg and Houston city council
members Annise Parker, Gordon Quan and
Carol Mims Galloway joined the mayor in the
Protesters were there too, about 16 or so,
but they departed after Brown's cortege went
Supreme Court rules Scouts can exclude
gays: In a move that sparked immediate reaction from the gay community, the Supreme
Court ruled in June that the Boy Scouts can bar
homosexuals from serving as troop leaders.
The 5-4 decision said forcing the Scouts to
accept gay troop leaders would violate the
organization's rights of free expression and
free association under the Constitution's First
Former Eagle Scout James Dale (center) talis to
the press at the Supreme Court in Washington h
April Wednesday, the court ruled that the Boy
Scouts can bar gays from serving as troop leaders.
Also pktured are Dale's attorney Evan Wolfson
and Dale's mother Doris Didc.
"The Boy Scouts asserts that homosexual
.conduct is inconsistent with the values it seeks
to instill," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist
wrote for the court. Requiring them to accept a
gay scoutmaster "would significantly burden
the organization's right to oppose or disfavor
The ruling reversed a New Jersey Supreme
Court holding that the Scouts wrongly ousted
assistant scoutmaster James Dale when the
organization learned he is gay. The. state court
had said the scouts' action violated a New
Jersey law banning discrimination in public
Dale, who was an Eagle Scout, had sued
the Scouts under the New Jersey law. But the
Supreme Court said Wednesday that law must
yield to the Scout organization's right of
"expressive association" under the
Constitution's First Amendment.
'GVO' leaves legacy of action: Longtime
gay activist Gary Van Ooteghem, 58, died July
6, at Twelve Oaks hospital. He had been in the
hospital with pneumonia and had a heart
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