Saturday, November 13, 2010

Weddings Announcements!! And Hate Crime Bummers.

Congratulations to Mark Reed and Dante Walkup, Texas' First Gay Texans married in Texas!

On November 11, 2010, Mark Reed married longitme partner Dante Walkup in Dallas, Texas via high-definition skype by an officiant in Washington D.C., where same-sex marriage is legal and who mailed them their D.C. marriage license. From Dallas Voice:

"It’s called “e-marriage,” and it’s a sort of high-tech version of the proxy wedding traditionally held when one of the parties can’t be physically present — because, for example, they’re in the military stationed overseas."

No, the perfect irony of using a service intended for military personnel isn't lost on me either. The couple, besides celebrating their marital bliss with friends and family in Texas, is now helping bring the genius of e-marriage to the masses:

"The couple is now working with legal experts and legislators from states where same-sex marriage is legal to draft statutes that would solidify the practice. Reed and Walkup traveled this week to Michigan for a symposium on e-marriage. While the couple has no intention of using their case to challenge Texas’ bans on same-sex marriage, Reed said they want to make it more convenient and less expensive for same-sex couples to legally wed. Reed is also in the process of changing his surname in a Texas court, and he’s been fighting The Dallas Morning News — thus far unsuccessfully — to print their announcement in “Weddings” instead of in another section called “Commitments.”

It's completely understandable that the Reed-Walkups have no intention of challenging Texas' ban on same-sex marriage. Who'd want to spend the months after planning and executing a wedding arguing in court battle to give the marriage validity? Besides the unjust system to fight, there's the vitriolic hate from the homophobes.

And the violence. Emmanuel Winston of Austin was a victim of a hate crime last February in Austin's Warehouse District. This sort of behavior exists in the gay neighborhood the most liberal city in the state? From KXAN:

"Winston and his friend were leaving a gay bar on 4th Street last February when they were followed to their car and attacked . "The guys, when they attacked us, it was unprovoked. After they attacked us they screamed just a bunch of slurs, homophobic slurs," Winston said. Police are still searching for their attackers. If caught, statistically speaking there's a good chance they will not be charged with a hate crime."

Why the F not?

"It's very hard to obtain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt based on someone's hate," said KXAN Legal Analyst Mindy Montford. According to statistics from the Texas Department of Public Safety, since Texas enacted its hate crime law back in 2001, more than 2500 hate crimes offenses have been reported. Of those, only 11 have been prosecuted.

"You've got to really have strong evidence to show that's why the crime was committed," Montford said.

State Rep. Marc Veasey , a Democrat from Tarrant County has introduced a bill the state to merely study the law and why it's not used 3 times. The state enacted a law but refuses to use it, then refuses to figure out why it isn't being used. This from the government that hates government. Veasey is quite clear about why he can't get support for the bill/prosecutors aren't using the law:

"You have some people on the right that have said that it is a bill that protects gays and so they are against it for that reason," Veasey said.

Did you know Republicans hold an almost-super-majority in the Texas House of Representatives after the November elections?

Austin, apparently, is addressing hate crimes in next weeks agenda, hopefully with intent to help the city assist in prosecuting them. What about addressing the idea of preventing them? Are we not a tolerant community? Are we not in Austin?

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