Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Dallas had a checkered gay history in the 1980s, driven sometimes by elections
On the other hand, the Dallas Gay Alliance was indeed very active in those days, particularly in “getting out the vote.” In those days (even before AIDS) we didn’t look for political equality, we just tried to be left alone. In 1982, a local federal judge (Jerry Buchmeyer) would overturn the Texas sodomy law 21.06 (the case was Baker v. Wade (website) link ), but the decision would eventually be vacated by the Fifth Circuit, and of course Bowers v. Hardwick upheld sodomy laws (including hetero, Georgia) in 1986. But in 2003, Lawrence v. Texas finally overturned 21.06 (gay only).
In 1983, representative Bill Ceverha from Amarillo tried to introduce a bill 21.06A aka 21.38 that would strengthened the sodomy law and prohibited gays from working in many occupations. Ceverha claimed that AIDS represented a “public health emergency.” This was a year before the discovery of HTLV-III (aka HIV) would be announced. Fortunately it died in committee in May 1983, but the DGA certainly had a scare. I remember Bill Nelson and Terry Tebedo, owners of the Crossroads Market, from those days. Curiously, 1980 had started so optimistically with a party “The 80s are ours.”
History can move faster than we expect.
Wikipedia attribution link for EDS symphony hall