Five stories that have North Texas talking: hearings begin on a challenge against Texas’ gay marriage ban, a Fort Worth councilman goes to the Ivy Leagues, The Thin Line Festival opens in Denton, and more.
- A violinist from the University of North Texas will be heading to the elite Menuhin Competition. It’s one of the top international competitions for violinists under the age of 22. The student, Hao Maio, studied at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and at Kharkov National University of Arts in Ukraine before coming to UNT. His professor, Julia Bushkova says that Maio “practices at least six hours every day, in addition to several weekly violin lessons and other classes he takes.” Maio will be the only violinist from Texas to compete in The Menuhin Competition, which will be in Austin this year.
- Swing by Denton this week to catch The Thin Line Festival, which kicks off today. The lineup boasts more than a hundred musical acts and 50 documentaries. There’s something for everyone at this fest, like a documentary zeroing in on Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre fame, or another looking at (human) life in Antarctica. The film and music festival will run through Saturday.
- A federal judge will hear two cases today challenging Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage, the Associated Press reports. One lawsuit is from Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes, who filed a suit complaining that the state’s ban is unconstitutional. The other suit comes from Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman, who are fighting to get their Massachusetts marriage license recognized in Texas. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has already directed the Justice Department to extend marital privileges such as filing jointly for bankruptcy to gay marriages. In other states, Nevada has opted not to defend the state’s 2002 ban in federal courts, but the ban still remains in effect.
- A Fort Worth councilman is stepping down from his position to go to Harvard. Joel Burns is going back to school, leaving the position once filled by Texas senator Wendy Davis. He’ll be pursuing a mid-career Master’s degree in Public Administration. He’s known for his passionate speech at a city council meeting in 2010, where he encouraged gay youths to stay strong against bullying.
- Wendy Davis sat down with the Dallas Morning News to discuss her stance on medical marijuana. She says she would consider decriminalizing possession of small amounts of it, but she wasn’t sure of how she would personally vote on the issue as a private citizen. “From a philosophical position, do I have any objections to the fact that citizens might want to legalize marijuana? No, I don’t,” she said. “But I think watching to see how this experiment plays out in other states is probably advisable before I could tell you for sure.”