“I haven’t publicly come out with a stance on that. I am respectful of all rights for all people regardless of sexual orientation,” he said. “Let me back up — I have publicly stated I support civil unions.”
But when pressed about his stance on gay marriage, Eaves said only that he would make a statement about his position on it at a later time.
Eaves noted that four years ago when he ran for the Fulton County post, he was endorsed by Georgia Equality, the state’s largest gay advocacy organization, as well as the Atlanta Stonewall Democrats. He also said he has members of his staff who are gay and that he has made several LGBT appointments to committees.
“I think my record demonstrates I am supportive of the community … and as we go through this re-election I hope people will keep that in mind,” he said.
“My plan is to go forward and work hard and run a strong and valiant campaign for re-election and defend my record,” Eaves added.
Norwood, who narrowly lost the Atlanta mayoral race to Kasim Reed, gained tremendous support from the LGBT community for her vocal stance in support of gay marriage. While Norwood lost the overall race, she beat Reed soundly in the heavily gay District 6.
Norwood could not be immediately reached for comment. She posted on her Facebook page today, “Dear Fans and Supporters, Yes, it is true, I’m running as an Independent for Fulton County Commissioner Post 1 At-Large. I want to see that all of our taxes are being used efficiently and responsibly. Check out this site for more information on how YOU can help me Make A Difference. Thanks, Mary.”
She also has a website set up seeking signatures for a petition to help her qualify as an independent. Since she is not running for the nomination of one of the two major political parties, i.e. as a Republican or a Democrat, she needs to collect 22,598 signatures to get on the ballot. The qualifying period for Independent candidates is June 28 to July 2, according to the Fulton County Board of Registration & Elections, and petitions must be filed by July 13.
In a political analysis for the Beacon, John Fredericks states, “Norwood’s more liberal positions on social issues will have little bearing on her drive for conservative Northsider support in this race. The position of county commission chair, which Eaves holds, is elected at large in Fulton. It’s also predominately a job of financial management. Norwood’s credentials as a fiscal conservative are not in question, thus fitting the GOP’s philosophy nicely.”
The Fulton chair is a District 1 seat and represents all of Fulton County. It is voted on “at large” — by voters in the entire county.
Qualifying for Democratic and Republican candidates is set for April 26-April 30. The Democratic and Republican primaries will be July 20. The general election is Nov. 2.
Photos: John Eaves, top (courtesy photo) Mary Norwood, bottom (courtesy photo)