The State of Texas: July 14, 2015
Image of the Day
People have been having a lot of fun running images through Google’s “Deep Dream Machine.” And now, the geniuses at the Dallas Observer put a few pictures of the city’s sky line through the ringer. Behold, Dallas while hallucinating:
More Than Marriage – Gay rights in Texas is on something of a roll after the Supreme Court decision. The Dallas Morning News reported that gay couples have set their sights on birth certificates, asking for the removal of gender-specific language from the document and application. Currently, Texas birth certificates only allow for a mother and a father to be listed. So for the estimated 9,200 same-sex couples raising children in the state, only one parent can be on the birth certificate. Suzanne Bryant, an attorney who specializes in adoptions for LGBT couples, expects litigation. That’ll go over like gangbusters, considering the trouble same-sex couples have had with officials such as county clerks and now, apparently, judges. It seems Denton County Judge James DePiazza “was on vacation” when the high court decision was made, so he wants it made very clear where he stands – following the letter of the law, not the spirit – with, well, a letter. He’ll marry people but the judge “opted to publish a document, signed by brides- and grooms-to-be, acknowledging his opposition gay marriage.” The letter reads, in part, “Judge DePiazza prefers to NOT conduct same-sex ceremonies, but will not decline anyone who chooses to schedule with him,” according to the Houston Chronicle (his emphasis). It has no legal standing, just a semi-embarrassing piece of paper (for both the judge and those he’s marrying), that makes “sure everyone knows how he feels about the marriage before he officiates it.” As for those same-sex parents, they might be fighting for certificate rights and avoiding Judge DePiazza, but at least now gay dads can spend quality time with their sons. As numerous outlets are reporting, Irving-based Boy Scouts of America is one step closer to allowing gay leaders. “The executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America has unanimously approved a resolution that would drop the group’s blanket ban,” according to the Washington Post. It’s a “key step that puts the organization on the verge of its second historic shift in three years. While the proposed change stops short of requiring all units to allow gay leaders, it would dismantle a rule that the group’s president described earlier this year as an existential threat to the 105-year-old institution.”
Join Us And Secede – Want to secede from the United States? Come join the party! “A group of Texas secessionists is hitting the road to bring their message of a Lone Star nation to more than 20 cities across the state,” reports the Houston Chronicle. Yesterday, the Texas Nationalist Movement began their statewide tour, their “way of connecting with the thousands of Texans who have pledged their support to our cause and makes a statement about the direction of the Texas Nationalist Movement. The relentless march to identify, communicate with and organize TNM supporters who are seeking to work for the independence of Texas is paramount at this point,” according to an official statement. The group also hopes to collect signatures and rally support to have secession on the Texas ballot in 2016. The Chronicle reports that Tyler had the highest number of confirmed guests at 88 on Monday evening. And 62 people have RSVP’d for Wednesday’s event in Fort Worth.
What About Ken? – Now that Attorney Ken Paxton is knee-deep in legal issues over his extra-curricular activities, there’s been some serious reflection. Primarily, “Why was Paxton not investigated for crimes sooner?” The reason is fairly simple. After admitting to state security law violations last year, Travis and Collins county prosecutors say the State Securities Board just shrugged its shoulders and did not refer Paxton’s case to them, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The problem is that not reporting Paxton’s violation could be against state law. The story notes that while “state law … required Securities Board Commissioner John Morgan to ‘at once’ refer evidence of a criminal violation to the appropriate prosecutors — a standard that has been in place since 1957 — there is no evidence that securities regulators did so in the Paxton matter.” The piece is very detailed exercise in theoretics. For its part, Paxton seem says that “the securities board took civil action against Paxton after finding no evidence of criminal conduct” and that “the board must refer information to prosecutors only if they find evidence of criminal activity,” which is up to (legal) debate.
Liquid Deals – Some possibly good news for anyone who like cocktails and coupons. “The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said regulators are reconsidering a current rule that outlaws coupons for alcoholic beverages,” writes KXAN. “If approved, customers would be able to use coupons on beer and wine sold at Texas stores.” The change would impact the state’s 1,600 Mom-and-Pop liquor stores says one expert. The change is not a done deal and TABC is playing coy. A spokesman said: “We may not change the rule at all. We might offer to make coupons legal for some and illegal for others, and just kind of depends now where we go from here.”