Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Update Central: Crsytal Moore, Frank Schaefer, Kristene Chapa

Earlier this week the people of Latta, South Carolina finally had their say about Mayor Earl Bullard’s firing of openly gay police chief, Crystal Moore, and they spoke loudly and clearly.

Moore was reinstated to her position and Earl Bullard, the mayor who fired her because she was gay — and because she questioned his ethics — was stripped of some of his powers. See my original post HERE.

The voters passed a referendum changing the governing structure of Latta from “mayor-strong” to “council-strong," which gives the town council the ability to rehire Moore, and while the ballots still must be certified by this Friday, the council plans to make the rehiring of Moore its first order of business.

Bullard, who has been mayor since December, started this whole mess back in April when he fired Moore after giving her seven reprimands. Moore maintained that she had done nothing wrong, and that the reprimands were the first she had received in 20 years. 

Shortly afterwards, though, a council member released a recorded phone call in which Bullard went on a homophobic tirade saying he preferred to leave his children with a raging alcoholic than with someone whose "lifestyle is questionable."

And the town, who long felt Moore was the best person, male or female, gay or straight, for the job, fought back, with hundreds of townspeople rallying for her reinstatement. Bullard denied that he fired Moore because of her sexual orientation, and there was no concrete proof — even though there was that damning phone call — that that was his motivation, but many people in Latta felt Moore's firing was personal.

Now she’s back, and the mayor is a little less powerful, all in a tiny town in, of all places, South Carolina.

UPDATE UPDATE ... via Bilerico ... 
In a desperate bid to thwart the will of the town council, Mayor Hubbard scrambled announced this morning that he's hired a new police chief before the council's vote could be certified. Stay tuned.

h/t to BloggerJoe.

Late last year, Frank Schaefer, a former Pennsylvania pastor was convicted of breaking church law when he officiated at the 2007 same-sex wedding ceremony of his son and his son’s partner. Schaefer’s son had asked him to perform the wedding — held not in a Methodist church but at a restaurant — and Schaefer did not publicize the wedding. The story came out in April 2013, when a member of the congregation learned of the ceremony and filed a complaint. See my original post HERE.

Now, however, a United Methodist Church appeals panel has overturned a decision to defrock Schaefer and the church has been ordered to restore his pastoral credentials. The panel called the jury’s punishment illegal under church law and said that “revoking his credentials cannot be squared with the well-established principle that our clergy can only be punished for what they have been convicted of doing in the past, not for what they may or may not do in the future.”
“I’ve devoted my life to this church, to serving this church, and to be restored and to be able to call myself a reverend again and to speak with this voice means so much to me.”—Frank Schaefer, who says he will continue to work for LGBT rights “with an even stronger voice from within the United Methodist Church.”
The ruling can be appealed to the Methodist church’s highest court, and the pastor who prosecuted Schaefer, the Reverend Christopher Fisher, said he has not made a decision about an appeal.

Hopefully Fisher has seen that the times are changing, and that the church, even the Methodist Church, needs to change as well. Otherwise, when the change does come, he’ll be seen as the pastor who stood on the wrong side of equality.

One night in 2012, girlfriends Mollie Olgin [right] and Kristene Chapa [left] went to Violet Andrews Park in Portland, Texas so Olgin could show Chapa were she’d been baptized. See my original post HERE.

They encountered someone who allegedly forced them down a steep incline, tied them up, and then shot each girl in the head. It wasn’t until morning that a couple out for a walk found the two girls; Mollie Olgin had died during the night but Kristene Chapa was alive.

The gunshot initially left Chapa unable to sit or stand, with the bullet piercing the part of her brain controlling movements on her left side. Thankfully, today, she has recovered those abilities though she is still undergoing physical rehabilitation.

Better news, though, is that a suspect in the case — David Malcolm Strickland [right] — was arrested last week by US Marshals and Texas Rangers in San Antonio; his wife, Laura Kimberly, was also arrested. Strickland faces charges of capital murder, aggravated assault, and aggravated sexual assault; his wife faces charges of tampering with evidence.
“I hope that it gives them some closure knowing that this person is taken off the street. It is one day before the two-year anniversary. We've been working very hard to make sure we get him as soon as possible. A series of fortunate events has led us to this point and I'm just very happy that we could help in — at least at this point — in bringing him to justice.”— Portland Police Chief Gary Giles
Nothing will bring back Ollie Olgin, and nothing will erase the memory of what happened that night to Kristene Chapa, but now, at least, the person responsible appears to have been arrested and will stand trial.

via: NBC News


the dogs' mother said...

Good news, good news and justice.

BloggerJoe said...

Just read at Bilerico that the mayor in the SC town named a new chief of police before the council could verify the vote. Not sure what that will do to that situation.

Biki Honko said...

That stupid Mayor is really a bigoted fool. I'm hoping the council fires his bigoted self.

It took a while, but its fantastic they managed to track down that horrid man who killed Mollie and injured Kristine.