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News Briefs: December 2007

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ENDA passes without TG protections, Paul Broussard’s killer denied parole, Dalton DeHart honored for 30 years service, and more.

GAY AND POLITICAL CAUCUS-ENDORSED CANDIDATES WIN IN NOVEMBER. TWO FACE RUNOFF THIS MONTH

WAdams
Council District D candidate Wanda Adams

All but one of the candidates endorsed by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus were either elected in the November 6 elections or advanced to the December 8 runoffs.

Propositions endorsed by the caucus—to create a Texas cancer research fund and to fund both Port of Houston and Houston Independent School District projects—also passed in November.

Two openly gay candidates (“Some of Our Own,” October OutSmart ) did not win their races. Kevin J. Hoffman, a candidate for the Houston Community College System board of trustees endorsed by the caucus, lost by 250 votes to Yolanda Black Novarro. Openly gay candidate Ray Ramirez, who was not endorsed by the caucus, received 4 percent of the vote for City Council At Large Position 5 in an eight-person race.

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Council At Large Position 5 candidate Jolanda Jones

“We had an outstanding day on Tuesday, November 6,” caucus president Jenifer Pool said in a post-election statement. “This is a very rare moment. The caucus almost had 100 percent. We are now immediately turning our attention to the runoffs. We have two extraordinary people we have to get elected, Jolanda Jones and Wanda Adams.”

Caucus vice president Maria C. Gonzalez concurred. “This is truly amazing. The caucus almost called every race.”

Adams, a candidate for City Council District D, and Jones, candidate for City Council At Large Position 5, advance to the runoffs. To assist these two candidates, the caucus seeks volunteers for block walking, phone banking, and data entry of voter information. Interested persons can contact the caucus through its website, www.hglbtpc.org .

StonewallDems
Houston Area Stonewall Dems

Openly gay, lesbian, or transgender candidates endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, including Houston City Controller Annise D. Parker and Houston City Council At Large Position 2, Sue Lovell, faired similarly well. Both incumbents won their races; Parker had no opposition. The Washington, D.C.-based national organization endorsed a total of 71 candidates across the country, with at least 31 winning races on November 7. Ten others were elected to office earlier in the year. Three Victory Fund-endorsed candidates advance this month to runoff elections, including Fort Worth City Council candidate Joel Burns.

“This is the path to change,” Victory Fund president Chuck Wolfe said. “We are not content to sit on the sidelines and hope that others do the right thing for our community. We will step up and lead the fight for a more equal and fair America, and we will win.”

Photo caption: City Council District D candidate Wanda Adams, pictured with election-night supporters on November 6, finished first of seven candidates in the general election with 33 percent of the vote. Adams faces Lawrence Allen in the December 8 runoff.

Photo caption: City Council At Large Position 5 candidate Jolanda Jones, pictured with election-night supporters and media, was top vote-getter with 27 percent out of an eight-candidate field in the November 6 general election. On December 8, Jones faces Joe Trevino in the runoff.

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ENDA passes House sans gender-identity language

In a vote that many community activists and observers considered a partial victory, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed the House of Representatives on November 7 without language protecting individuals based on gender identity or expression, regarded as protections for transgender Americans. The bill prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The 235–184 House vote did mark the first time that either chamber of Congress has passed employment protections based on sexual orientation.

On the day of the House vote, Representative Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin proposed an amendment to the ENDA bill providing transgender protections. She then withdrew the amendment, in a move previously arranged with House Democratic leaders.

“Some people have asked why I insisted on bringing an amendment to the floor, only to withdraw it without a vote,” Baldwin, who is a lesbian, said in a statement following the House vote. “The reason is simple. Those left behind by this bill deserve to hear, on the floor of the House, that they are not forgotten and our job will not be finished until they, too, share fully in the American dream.”

A companion ENDA bill has not yet been introduced in the Senate. Edward Kennedy, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts, has pledged to present a bill that includes language that specifies protections for transgender individuals as well as gays and lesbians. The White House has indicated a likely veto of any ENDA bill.

On November 1, eight local community organizations, including the Houston chapter of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), hosted a town-hall forum on ENDA at Bering Memorial United Methodist Church. Participants included Mike Holloman and Jani Lopez, Houstonians who serve on the HRC national board of directors.

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Local Dems attend Stonewall Democrats leadership training

A contingent of GLBT Democratic activists from Houston participated in the National Stonewall Democrats Presidential Weekend & Leadership Training, held November 16–18 in Manchester, New Hampshire. These local individuals belong to the recently organized Houston Area Stonewall Democrats chapter. The three-day event included workshops intended to help provide members with the “skills needed to create national change at the local level,” according to materials from Stonewall Democrats, the national network of GLBT people involved in Democratic Party politics. Participants also heard from party leaders and Democratic presidential candidates.

“I’ve really seen that the political process is accessible,” Jeffry Downs, Houston Area Stonewall Democrats secretary, reported in an e-mail to OutSmart from New Hampshire. “Politics doesn’t happen in some faraway place you can only see on TV. It happens right around the corner and even on your own block. Political action can take place right at your own kitchen table. It is within the reach of each of us.”

Houston Area Stonewall Democrats meets on the second Tuesday of the month, 6–8 p.m., at Ziggy’s Healthy Grill (2202 West Alabama location). The meeting this month is December 11. More info: www.houstonareastonewalldemocrats.com.

Photo caption: Houston Area Stonewall Democrats members participated in the recent Presidential Weekend & Leadership Training, organized by the National Stonewall Democrats organization: (l–r) local chapter secretary Jeffry Downs, founding member Amy McIntyre, local chapter president Teresa Herrin, and treasurer Pat Gandy with Ray Buckley, New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman, and Jesse Garcia, president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

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Killer of gay Houstonian denied parole

Jon Buice has been denied parole once again for his role in the killing of a gay man. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Buice’s parole request in October, just as it did in 2003 and 2005.

On July 4, 1991, Paul Broussard, a 27-year-old bank employee, was attacked by Buice and a group of nine other teens as he walked through Montrose after leaving a gay bar with two friends. The assailants, all high school students from the Woodlands, the suburban community north of Houston, became known as the Woodlands Ten. Broussard was beaten and stabbed to death. Broussard’ two friends escaped injury.

Now 33, Buice received a 45-year sentence for his role in the slaying. At trial, testimony revealed that Buice was the assailant who delivered the fatal stab wound to Broussard.

Buice, who says he was influenced by drugs and alcohol at the time of the slaying, is eligible for a fourth parole hearing in 2009. Five of the other men who participated in the crime received probation, and three received prison sentences that ranged from 15 to 20 years. Buice is the only one of the Woodland Ten who remains in prison.

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30-year-old Montrose Counseling Center to honor Dalton Dehart’s 30th professional anniversary

On December 6, the Montrose Counseling Center honors long-time community photographer and OutSmart contributor Dalton DeHart at “Past, Present and Future: A Special Evening of Celebration.”

In addition to recognizing DeHart for providing a three-decade history of the local GLBT scene through his photographs, the evening kicks off the 30th anniversary of the counseling center and a campaign to raise funds for its new facility, located at 401 Branard.

For the 6–8:30 p.m. event, organizers encourage guests to dress in business-casual attire or construction garb, in recognition of upcoming renovations on the first floor of the center building.

Tickets are $30 at the door (RSVP: 713/529-0037, ext 371). Details: www.montrosecounselingcenter.org.

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Chamber elects new directors

The Greater Houston GLBT Chamber of Commerce installed its 2008 board of directors at a November 8 meeting at the Sheraton Houston Brookhollow.

Chamber board members are Dustin Ruffato, Sean Carter, Jeff Wallace, Doug Hord, Jack Berger, Steve Ryan, Cristina Martinez, Robert Candelario, John Frels, Victor Cordova, Sonna Alton, Danny Kallen, Shane McShane, and Jonathan Lanz.

Chamber members are organizing Diversity Houston, a day of business seminars, scheduled for February 15 at the Crowne Plaza hotel. The event will take place in conjunction with the annual Honoring Our Allies luncheon hosted by the chamber. Details: www.thechamberhouston.org.

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 Celebrating

Annie Mayes (l) and Terry Sullivan marked their 26th anniversary as a couple on October 26.

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