#Texas

Robot Sex Brothel Set To Open In Houston

Are robot sex brothels the wave of the future?

Businessman Yuval Gavriel has opened one location in Toronto, called KinkySdollS, and has announced a second location in Houston set to open in the next few weeks.

Before launching his new business endeavor, he consulted with an attorney to check out any possible legal issues.

"He went through all the laws and all of the regulations and currently there are no regulations for this kind of service," Gavriel said.

However, one lawyer did advise him to perhaps avoid the use of the word “brothel.”

Instead, Gavriel will be running a “showroom” where for $60 customers can have a half-hour 'try before you buy' with a life-sized doll that’s “warm and ready to play.”

After the “test drive,” folks will return the robots for cleaning.

Response to the announcement has, of course, managed to bring outrage from some folks calling for regulations against sex robot brothels.

According to John Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University, sex robots are currently legal in 49 states. The lone holdout would be Alabama which has a state-wide ban on sex toys.

Lawmakers in the U.S. House have already unanimously passed the CREEPER Act authored by Rep. Dan Donovan, R-N.Y., in June to ban importation and interstate commerce involving sex dolls that resemble children. The Senate hasn’t acted on the legislation at this time.

A non-profit group called Elijah Rising, whose mission is to end sex trafficking, has launched a  petition protesting the “showroom” in Houston. The effort has already garnered over 6,700 signatures.

One local citizen, Andrea Paul, told Fox News affiliate KTRK, "There's kids around here and it's a family-oriented neighborhood and I live right here and to have that here is just gross."

Comments on a Fox News post about the “showroom” echoed that sentiment, but there were also some that ranged from more accepting of the concept to downright hilarious:

• “This is better than prostitution, so I don't see anything wrong with it. Weird, but not immoral.”

• “Not for me; however it does not violate my rights nor anyone else’s, nor does it come at any cost to me. So, I say ‘have at it.’”

• “These robots are the future. Men can have a relationship, a friend, a fling, or not, and don’t have to worry about it kissing and telling, or just plain making up a story. This is awesome. Finally, the female replacement we’ve longed for since Eve got Adam in trouble. Finally; sports, beer, video games, and this. Jackpot!”

• "Brings a whole new meaning to the term 'computer virus' I wonder if there is an antibiotic for that??"

• "I sure hope they are able to open soon. My roomba has a birthday coming up and I want to take him out. Saw him chasing the cat again the other day, so I want someone more his type!"

Gavriel told the Washington Examiner that he’s currently in talks with investors to open more locations in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. He hopes to have 10 locations open by 2020.

All of the news footage seems to feature female robots. No word on whether Gavriel will include male robots as well.

(h/t Washington Examiner)

Hillary Clinton Cut From History Lessons In Texas Public Schools

The Texas State Board of Education voted last week to remove former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, from the state’s history curriculum.

According to DallasNews.com, the move came as part of an effort to “streamline” educational materials for millions of students who attend public schools in the Lone Star state.

The vote came after considering recommendations from volunteer work groups who say the state requires students to learn about too many historical figures.

In addition to Clinton, other historical figures like Helen Keller didn’t make the cut.

Members of the volunteer work groups came up with a 20-point grading scale to determine which figures in history warrant being included. According to reports, Clinton scored a 5; Keller, a 7.

In removing Clinton from the mandatory curriculum, it was estimated teachers would save 30 minutes of instructional time.

Apparently, 30 minutes was too much time to spend on the first female presidential candidate of a major political party.

It’s worth noting that the state school board is made up of 15 members - 10 Republicans and 5 Democrats.

This is cause for concern on a couple of fronts.

First, clearly there will be no education on the contributions of LGBT pioneers like Harvey Milk (the first openly gay person elected to public office), Edith Windsor (who sued the U.S. government for the right to have her marriage recognized) or Barbara Gittings (the mother of the LGBT civil rights movement).

So, LGBT kids in Texas won't learn of important contributions from people like them throughout history.

Second, due to the millions of students in Texas, the state orders millions of textbooks.

That makes the state incredibly influential on national publishers, and means the state school board is in a position to request hundreds of changes to textbooks to suit the state’s right-leaning requirements.

For instance, the New York Review of Books reports that in one instance, publisher Holt, Rinehart and Winston was asked to make 400 revisions to a health textbook. Part of those changes included deleting toll-free numbers for gay and lesbian groups as well as teenage suicide prevention organizations.

See where this is going?

Once changes like these are made, schools across the country in other states may be buying them for their students without knowing how some of the decisions were made regarding what is or isn’t included.

And one more thing to consider: remember those “volunteer work groups” in Texas making the recommendations about curriculum?

The non-profit Texas Freedom Network took a look at just who made up those panels, chosen by the Texas Board of Education, in 2014.

It turned out that of the 140+ individuals appointed to the panels, only 3 were current faculty members at Texas universities or colleges.

The review showed that political activists and individuals without educational or teaching degrees were selected for the panels.

And those folks were deciding what did or did not go into the textbooks that would educate millions of children across the country.

So, yeah, what happens in Texas, doesn’t necessarily stay in Texas.

The final vote on curriculum recommendations takes place in November.

(h/t DallasNews.com)

Texas Restaurant Apologizes After Waiter Uses Gay Slur At Customers

A Mexican restaurant in Texas apologized after one employee used a anti-gay slur against customers.

According to Dallas News, a high-school principal named Sandra Clement was enjoying a night out with her son and his boyfriend on Thursday when things went south.

The group had decided to eat at the Agave Jalisco Restaurant, but would soon regret it.

Apparently, a male employee pointed to them after Clement’s son hugged his boyfriend. He then yelled out “jotos,” an anti-gay term in Spanish, to them before repeating it several times while on his way to the kitchens.

Clements then complained about the moment online and word eventually reached the restaurant itself. They then quickly responded by firing the employee in question and issuing out the following apology on Facebook.

“Agave Jalisco Restaurant wants to offer our most sincere apology. We want to make a statement regarding the event that happened on August 30, 2018. Where a young man and his boyfriend were allegedly called a derogatory slur in Spanish and taunted. Agave Jalisco is an independently, family owned, business. We the owner’s and management know the seriousness of this issue, and want to state that we do not condone or accept this type of homophobic behavior from any single person whom is a part of the team of Agave Jalisco.”

“In the incident, it is stated that the management was contacted and did nothing to fix the problem or apologize. This is true, but the wrong Agave Jalisco was contacted on accident. Again, we are independently owned and the Agave Jalisco contacted the day of, was the one located at 5922 S Staples St, not our restaurant located at 2001 Ayers St. If we would have known about this issue sooner we would have addressed it swiftly and aggressively.”

“Agave Jalisco restaurant is a full service Mexican restaurant that aims to please customers with good food, great service, and most importantly an atmosphere where you can enjoy your meal in peace, free of judgement. We are family owned, we have taught our family and children to go out into the world, and treat everyone, the same way that they would want to be treated. This matter was looked into for several hours, in order to find out how and why this happened.”

“Unfortunately we can not control the actions of our employees 100% of the time and sometimes we have issues come up. However in our findings we found that the employee who allegedly said these derogatory, homophobic statements, was no longer fit to give any type of customer service with Agave Jalisco and it’s team. This employee will be terminated. In order to ensure that this never happens again, we will also be making the entire Agave Jalisco team take a sensitivity class as soon as possible.”

“We want to reiterate that the actions of this employee in no way reflect Agave Jalisco Restaurant and it’s values or beliefs. The Clement family has been reached out too, in order to offer a personal apology. We are writing this statement now as a public apology the Clement family, Miguel Clement, and his boyfriend. We here at Agave Jalisco are truly sorry for what happened that day, and will strive to always make Agave Jalisco a loving, accepting business, free of judgement. We will make sure this never happens again.”

Clement then thanked the restaurant in a Facebook post:

 “Our son, his boyfriend, and our family applaud Agave Jalisco for taking swift action in addressing the unfortunate incident. Although they cannot control every employee, they have stepped up to ensure they are held accountable. Much appreciated! We encourage all community members to join us in supporting Agave Jalisco as they have shown true character and compassion. I will delete all social media posts I made on the incident so we can move forward as a community. I can’t put into words how thankful we are for all the love and support our son and his boyfriend have received. Above all else, let’s be kind.”

h/t: Dallas News, Caller Times

What's The Big Deal About Lesbian Sheriff-Turned-Governor-Nominee Lupe Valdez's Missing Gun?

Lupe Valdez has already made history. In 2005, Valdez made headlines as she ran for Dallas County Sheriff as an openly gay Latina democrat… and won.

Since then, Valdez has been remembered for being a living landmark when it comes to LGBTQ advocacy and activity in politics and community services. That has skyrocketed her towards an attempt at Texas governor, but one mistake during her exit from the sheriff’s office may now be her undoing.

The problem is that Valdez has been running on a tight gun control campaign. She even wrote for the Houston Chronicle that, “Many of the ideas like increased mental health counseling and enhanced security are essential."

Now according to the Washington Post, her own gun has gone missing.

Back on December 31 of last year, Valez left her job as sheriff. When doing so, she had to return a state owned Beretta 9mm that she had borrowed from the range masters. Unfortunately, they have now reported that the gun is missing and has been classified as lost or stolen.

“Once I was notified that my weapon was not accounted for, I did my due diligence to locate the weapon. To my knowledge, my weapon was misplaced during the transition,” Valdez said to the Dallas Morning News.

“As a leader, I take responsibility for any error that happened during my transition regarding my weapon,” Valdez added. “I take gun ownership seriously and I have cooperated with the department.”

What makes this worse is that Valdez earlier presented the idea that people should be held accountable for the misplacement and reckless security of their guns.

That said, it hasn’t been announced if Valdez will need to pay for the missing gun (which costs about $649.99).

Of course, her political opponent has used this for an opportunity to attack.

Incumbent Governor Greg Abbott (R) wrote on Twitter, “Lupe Valdez wants to run the state of Texas but can’t even keep track of her gun? Texans deserve better.”

Not one to blink, Valdez says she will continue to fight for gun reform despite these recent events.

“I promise this: I will not stop talking about common sense gun reform and will not be strong armed by my opponent to silence the debate on gun violence and responsible ownership,” she said.

But, news coverage has had a field day with this situation (as seen above). This is certainly a bad lok for her campaign.

Will this event cause an irreversible hitch in Valdez’s path towards the governor's seat? We’ll find out in November.

h/t: The Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, The Houston Chronicle

Texas Has Its 1st Major Party LGBT Candidate For Governor

Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez made history in Texas last night, becoming the first openly LGBT and first Latina candidate to win a major party nomination for governor, defeating her opponent Andrew White.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Valdez told supporters, “I am constantly hearing this is going to be such an uphill battle. Please, tell me when I didn’t have an uphill battle.” 

“I am getting darned good at uphill battles,” she added.

Annise Parker, former mayor of Houston and president of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, was jubilant: “Tonight Texans made history by making Lupe Valdez the first openly lesbian woman to win the gubernatorial nomination from a major political party — the latest in a series of groundbreaking wins for LGBTQ candidates in the state.”

Valdez now turns her focus to incumbent Governor Greg Abbott, who has amassed a $41 million war chest for the general election. In six months, Valdez has only raised $200,000.

Also in Texas, Gina Ortiz Jones, a lesbian Filipino-American and Iraq War veteran, won her contest in the 23rd Congressional District over Rick Treviño. She will challenge two-term Republican incumbent Will Hurd.

Out lesbian Lorie Burch triumphed in the Democratic runoff in the Dallas-area Third Congressional District to face Republican newcomer Van Taylor in November. 

And openly gay Eric Holguin cruised to victory in the Democratic runoff for the Corpus Christi-area 27th Congressional District. Holguin will run against Republican Michael Cloud this fall to replace now-retired, scandal-ridden U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold.

Good night for Texas!

A Former Police Employee Got Away With Murdering His Neighbor After Using The "Gay Panic" Defense

A former police employee got away with murder after using the “gay panic” defense.

69-year-old James Miller from Texas is a retired civilian employee of the Austin Police Department.

After retiring, Miller spent of a lot of his time playing music. One of his past times was to meet up with his 32-year-old neighbor named David Spencer and play with him.

But one night in September 2015, Miller was shocked to find his neighbor and friend coming onto him. Apparently, Spencer closed in for a kiss, but Miller told him he wasn’t interested.

“We were playing back and forth and everything, and I just let him know — Hey, I’m not gay,” Miller, stated in an affidavit, according to Austin NBC-affiliate KXAN.

Things calmed down from there between the two before they suddenly escalated again. In James Miller’s account, Spencer came onto Miller again and Miller’s instinct was to pull out his knife and stab Spencer twice.

While in court, Miller says the he felt threatened by Spencer who was at least eight inches taller than him.

“He had height advantage over me, arm length over me, youth over me,” Miller said, according to the American-Statesman. “I felt he was going to hurt me.”

A few hours later, Miller showed up at a police station to turn himself in. He was then charged with murder, but he would later get his conviction lowered thanks to the “gay panic” defense.

After three years of court cases, Miller was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and not murder or manslaughter.

Because of this, he’s been sentenced to six months in jail and not prison. Plus, he has to carry around a portable alcohol monitor for the next year, be on probation for a year, complete 100 hours of community service, and pay $11,000 to Spencer’s family.

Despite Miller still being convicted of the murder, many are upset that his “gay panic” defense allowed him to lower his conviction.

The “gay panic” defense is legal in 48 states besides California and Illinois. Many see it as offensive due to the nature of the defense. It centers on the belief that the murder of gay people is somehow inherently justified.

D’Arcy Kemnitz, the executive director of the LGBT Bar Association, spoke to the Washington Post about the case and said:

“This is something from the very darkest of ages, based on the idea that if a gay guy hits on a straight guy, then the straight guy gets to do whatever he wants to do to him, including a homicide.”

She also added: “If there’s a secondary chilling effect, when an individual gets to attack or indeed murder someone and walk away with a slap on the wrist or scot-free, it tells us that we’re still vulnerable,” she said.

h/t: The Washington Post

A Federal Judge Just Made An Important Decision Concerning Job Discrimination in Texas

If you thought that nationwide, all American citizens were protected from discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity, you’d be wrong.

In the states of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, which are run by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, no federal court has made employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity illegal. But, someone just got really close.

In Austin, Texas, an engineer by the name of Nicole Wittmer went through a case against energy company Phillips 66 who Wittmer says didn’t hire her because she’s transgender.

The end of that court case happened recently. Unfortunately, Wittmer didn’t win as the chief judge, Judge Lee Rosenthal of the Southern District Court of Texas, says that Wittmer’s specific case didn’t have enough evidence.

That said, Rosenthal also said that if Wittmer’s case was stronger, she would have had cause to sue under federal law and the court would have ruled with the integrity to fight employment discrimination based on gender identity.

"We're certainly disappointed that this particular ruling did not fall in her favor," Wittmer’s lawyer Alfonso Kennard Jr. told The Dallas Morning News. "The silver lining here is it has helped to define the landscape for people who have been discriminated [against] in the workplace due to their transgender status."

"This ruling is earth-shattering — in a good way."

As for Rosenthal, who was appointed in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush, she says that it was decisions made by other jurisdictions that has helped her come around the to idea of extending Title VII, which protects citizens from job discrimination based on sex, to sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Within the last year, several circuits have expanded Title VII protection to include discrimination based on transgender status and sexual orientation," Rosenthal wrote. "Although the Fifth Circuit has not yet addressed the issue, these very recent circuit cases are persuasive. ... The court assumes that Wittmer's status as a transgender woman places her under the protections of Title VII."

While this is a loss for Wittmer, this could be the start of a major win for LGBTQ workers in Texas (and maybe Louisiana and Mississippi too).

h/t: The Dallas Morning News

Man Who Wanted To Marry His Computer Tried To Throw Gay Marriage Under The Bus

Another person’s trying to marry an inanimate object, but this time it was a poorly veiled attempt to take down gay marriage.

Chris Sevier is a serial litigant with a vendetta against same-sex marriage. Sevier has filed several lawsuits, like one in Alabama and one in Utah, to have marriage equality overturned.

On top of that, he’s also sued Apple for providing devices that allow users to easily access pornography, and he’s lobbied for Texas lawmakers to make a bill saying all retailers have to put pornography-blocking programs on all their electronics.

And most recently, he tried to use polygamy and marrying inanimate objects to prove his stance that gay marriage is unconstitutional.

As Dallas News reports, Sevier appeared in an Austin, Texas court house late last month, with three polygamists, and asked that the definition of marriage be extended even further.

"The governor is overseeing laws that give benefits to homosexuals who are married, but not objectophiles, zoophiles, and polygamists for reasons that are arbitrary," the four, who represented themselves, wrote in the formal complaint, "The plaintiffs seek to force the government to legally recognize polygamy and man-object marriage, as marriage is a matter of civil rights."

"We will make it impossible for the court to dream up ways to dismiss the action in order to avoid the merits of our constitutional claims," Sevier later told The Dallas Morning News, "While the Judges in Texas can run. They cannot hide (sic)."

In addition, Sevier says he’ll be lobbying for Texas lawmakers to introduce the Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act, which would define any marriage that isn’t between a man and a woman as a “parody marriage.” He’s already tried to introduce similar bills to Wyoming and South Carolina.

Luckily, no judge has agreed with Chris Sevier so far. In fact, U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay dismissed Sevier’s lawsuit last week. She did so because 1. None of the plaintiffs are actually from Texas, 2. This isn’t their “first rodeo” (meaning, at least Sevier is obsessed with court cases), 3. They didn’t have a true and rational argument for their case.

As the state argued during the hearing:

"The right to marry one's computer or enter into polygamous marriages is not an interest that is, objectively, deeply rooted in the nation's history and tradition such that it qualifies as a protected interest. Because plaintiffs do not have the fundamental right that they assert and do not belong to either a suspect or quasi-suspect class, and because there are myriad rational bases for prohibiting polygamous marriage or marriage to an inanimate object, plaintiffs fail to state an Equal Protection claim upon which relief may be granted."

That said, Chris Sevier wasn’t deterred. He just said he’d be back, and with more plaintiffs next time.