Over the next 2 years, Toyota will pack up its North American headquarters in California and move to Plano. The relocation will involve up to 4,000 employees and their families. To make the transition easier, the company has planned visits over the next 2 years for employees to check out neighborhoods and schools. The trips are also a chance to address employee concerns, including LGBT issues. So, Toyota asked GALA North Texas to attend a community event in August and President Bob Shimmin and Vice President Jeanne Rubin spoke with company leaders and LGBT employees. They explained the crucial work GALA is doing within North Texas cities and school districts to fight for equality.
Some of the LGBT employees had big concerns about moving to Texas, especially those from California, but also employees from Toyota's Kentucky facility. One mother told Bob and Jeanne that it took a while but she had worked to develop a community and school district that accepted her and her family and she worried about starting that process over again. A feeling many in the LGBT community can understand. But, now because of GALA, Toyota and this event the lines of communication have been open and employees now have GALA as a resource to aid in the transition. It's also good to see a company that ranks as high as Toyota on the HRC equality index, continue to address LGBT issues and we hope city leaders and school districts will follow the company's example.
James E. Lentz
CEO, Toyota North America
“There is a simple truth behind our approach to diversity and inclusion: If we want to build great cars and trucks for the way our customers live, Toyota will strive to be a reflection of the America in which we live.”
Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer
“At Toyota, we believe that inclusion cannot be a stand-alone initiative, an isolated department or a page in the employee manual. Fostering diversity is not only the right thing to do—but an integral part of our strategy to stay competitive in the marketplace.”
Candidates for office in Carrollton and Lewisville were asked to complete questionnaires on issues of importance to the LGBT community. GALA North Texas, and it's predecessor organization the Collin County Gay & Lesbian Alliance (CCGLA) have been surveying candidates for 11 years. Click on the link to the left to download the candidate responses.
Meet Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss -- plantiffs in Texas Marriage Equality case -- at GALA's Third Thursday Happy Hour on March 20th at Bonnie Ruth's Bistro @ Watters Creek in Allen.
Texas Judge Strikes Down Marriage Ban
District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings on marriage last summer trumps Texas's state constitutional amendment, which voters overwhelmingly approved in 2005.
“Today’s court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent,” he said in his order, The Dallas Morning News reports. “Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution.” The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by two couples, Cleo DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman, and Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss.
Garcia stayed his ruling from taking effect until the case goes through the appeal process, so same-sex couples in Texas cannot being marrying immediately. He said the case or one of 23 other pending state-level marriage challenges would probably head to the Supreme Court for a ruling.
According to the report, Texas attorney general and gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott is likely to appeal the ruling. Abbott strongly opposes marriage equality, as does the other four Republicans who are running against him in the primary election.
The ruling is stayed, pending appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, so same-sex couples will still be unable to marry in Texas. But Rebecca L. Robertson, legal and policy director of the ACLU of Texas, says the ruling is still one step closer to the "inevitable end of official discrimination by the state of Texas. Gay and lesbian couples want the same thing as other loving couples -- to stand before family and friends and declare their lifetime commitment to each other, and to enjoy the same recognition and protection for their families that only marriage can bring. We applaud the judge’s preliminary ruling, but we also recognize that there is a great deal of hard work to do to bring full equality to every Texan.”
Gov. Rick Perry, shortly after the ruling, reiterated that the constitutional amendment should be upheld because it was approved by voters.
"Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens," he said on Wednesday afternoon. "The 10th Amendment guarantees Texas voters the freedom to make these decisions, and this is yet another attempt to achieve via the courts what couldn’t be achieved at the ballot box. We will continue to fight for the rights of Texans to self-determine the laws of our state."
GALA North Texas Vice President Jeanne Rubin to be honored by League of Women Voters with 2014 Spirit of Community Leadership Award
Jeanne is one of six recipients of the 2014 Spirit of Community Leadership Award. This award recognizes women who have envisioned ways to improve their community through sustained commitment to participation in nongovernmental organizations in Collin County.
"Everyone at GALA North Texas knows how dedicated Jeanne is to advancing LGBT equality and I couldn't be more proud of her receiving this award" said Bob Shimmin, President of GALA NTX.
Details on the awards luncheon are available on the League of Women Voters website.