Tag Archives: texas

TEXAS: Four U.S. lesbians, wrongly accused of child abuse, have been exonerated

A deplorable scandal in Texas, wronging four women.

Four lesbian women, who were wrongly accused of child abuse, have been exonerated this week after serving nearly two decades in prison.

Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh and Anna Vasquez, later named the ‘San Antonio Four’, who were 19 and 20 at the time of their arrest in 1994, were accused of sexually abusing Elizabeth’s nieces’ and ‘satanic rituals’.

“These four women have unquestionably established that they are innocent of these charges,” Texan judge David Newell wrote. “Those defendants have won the right to proclaim to the citizens of Texas that they did not commit a crime. That they are innocent. That they deserve to be exonerated.”

This outcome will allow the four women, who are now in their 40s, to clear their names and take them off the sex offenders list. It will also allow them to seek up to $80,00 USD in compensation for each year they were imprisoned – 17 years ($1,360,000 USD) for Elizabeth and 13 ($1,040,000 USD) for Cassandra, Kristie and Anna.

Source: Four U.S. lesbians, wrongly accused of child abuse, have been exonerated · PinkNews

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Phone Banking for Equality Across This Country

My first time phone-banking was back in earlier 2014, when I first started getting emails from Marriage Equality USA regarding an upcoming decision by the State Senate of New Mexico on marriage equality. The State Supreme Court had decided to rule the statute ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, and the GOP-majority State Senate were to decide on putting a referendum to the people on the matter. I joined the NEAT (National Equality Action Team) to call random constituents in state senate districts so that they could call their senators against sending the matter to a referendum and for supporting the court’s decision. It was my introduction to CallFire, tally sheets, question scripts and waiting on pins and needles for someone to say “Yes” or “Sure, I can do that.”

The next time I phone banked was in October-November for the Democratic coordinated campaign in Georgia. It was my first time phone banking with others in the local area, and I was introduced to my friend Patricia Lassiter’s self-propelled leadership skills. Patricia and Mary-Kate were amazing in keeping the office open most days up to Election Day, and despite not getting a (more-LGBT-friendly) Governor Carter, it was my true introduction to the politics and politicos of Muscogee County.

My third was phone banking with Patricia, Tom and David against RFRA back in March.  This was done with the help of Georgia Unites Against Discrimination (Georgia Equality and HRC Atlanta). I remember the day we did that because it was the same day that State Senator Josh McKoon tabled his own bill in the House Judiciary Committee rather than go through with an “unacceptable” amendment.

My fourth and most recent is phone-banking with the NEAT to Houston for Proposition 1. The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) is something that I wish we could have here in Columbus and throughout Georgia, but Houston really needs this law. This has been fought by the usual suspects with the worst possible tactics and rhetorical devices, and I watched on live-streaming video as the city council voted on it back in 2014 and opponents demonized LGBT people outside the council doors.

I’m now involved to say that, even if I’m not a resident of Houston or of Texas, I am at least materially involved in the struggle for local NDOs and state non-discrimination laws. I am phone banking people to get the Houston vote out. I am phone banking to at least help show the world where Houstonians stand on human rights and equality in their growing city.

My blogger of choice in this situation is Monica Roberts of TransGriot. She has covered local and state LGBT issues from a Trans POC feminist perspective for several years, and she does so with an impressive candor about her feelings on issues which matter to her and Houston. She has especially covered HERO from day one, providing an inside, lay activist perspective into the campaign away from the glitz of celebrity endorsements for HERO. She has focused into why HERO is important for LGBT people of color like herself and others in Houston and nationwide. It’s partly because of TransGriot that I got involved in phone-banking for HERO.

People like Roberts remind me that politics are as local as they are personal and intersectional. Anyone can get involved in other localities’ politics at any time for any reason, even if one’s never set foot in that locality. One can also make an impact for liberation in one’s own locality, at any time for any reason.

This experience in making phone calls for HERO in Houston is making me less afraid of whatever may come on Election Day. That will be our final day of phone banking, and I can only hope that we made enough of a difference in getting out the early vote to keep HERO as law, put the reactionaries out of business, and bring human rights to Houston.

But what do know is that, whatever the outcome of this vote, we will have succeeded in helping secure a zeitgeist of where Houstonians stand. This is direct democracy in action, albeit over human rights protections, and we must be willing to stand on guard for those protections whenever, and however, they end up on a public ballot. I’m proud to have phone-banked for HERO, and I will do more phone banks for NDOs across this country.

Louie Gohmert: Gay Islanders Would Die Out, Proving Gay Marriage Is Wrong | Right Wing Watch

Rep. Louie Gohmert:

We could take four heterosexual couples, married, and put them on an island where they have everything they need to sustain life. Then take four all-male couples and put them on an island with all they need to sustain life, take four couples of women, married, and put them on an island, and let’s come back in 100 to 200 years and see which one nature says is the preferred marriage.

via Louie Gohmert: Gay Islanders Would Die Out, Proving Gay Marriage Is Wrong | Right Wing Watch.

Question: Wouldn’t “four heterosexual couples” being left on an island for 200 years result in incest and genetic atrocities?

TEXAS: Houston HERO Ordinance WILL STAND (w/ Reactions)

Oh happy day! News from the Houston Chronicle (bold is mine):

Opponents of Houston’s non-discrimination ordinance failed to gather enough valid signatures to force a repeal referendum, a state district judge ruled Friday, validating city officials’ decision to toss out the petition foes submitted last summer. After separate rulings from both a jury and state District Judge Robert Schaffer, attorneys for both sides entered dueling counts of the valid signatures, adding and subtracting voters as Schaffer responded to motions. By early this week, the counts were closer together than ever before, fewer than 1,000 signatures apart. Ultimately, Schaffer on Friday ruled the final count of valid signatures was 16,684, leaving opponents short of the threshold required in the city charter of 17,249 signatures, or 10 percent of the ballots cast in the last mayoral election.Houston-HERO-565x372

“The jury’s verdict and the judge’s ruling are a powerful smack-down against the forces of discrimination and intolerance,” said Geoffrey Harrison, lead attorney for the city, in a statement. “And maybe, just maybe, they’ll reconsider their misguided ways.” The law, on hold during trial, is now in effect, according to a city spokeswoman. Mayor Annise Parker released a statement celebrating the verdict. “I would hope that the plaintiffs would not appeal, they lost during a jury trial and today they also lost with the judge’s ruling,” Parker said. “Now all Houstonians have access to the same protections.” But opponents, largely conservative activists and pastors whose objections center on the protections the law extends to gay and transgender residents, say they will appeal the decision. Andy Taylor, attorney for the plaintiffs, said he remains confident they will ultimately take the law to voters.

Read the Judgement Here:

Reactions:

Read the law as passed by Houston City Council in May 2014