The AJC’s Political Insider spoke to Jason Carter’s spokesperson about his stance on marriage equality after noting the GA Voice’s editorial on Tuesday saying it was time for him to state his public position on the matter.
And this is what Carter’s spokesperson Bryan Thomas told the AJC:
“Jason has long supported marriage equality, and has said so to anyone who asked him. He doesn’t think we should ever be in a position of telling churches what to do, but has long been on the record in support of civil marriage equality.”
The AJC said our editorial was “puzzling” because reporters there were sure they had heard him state this position before.
During Carter’s four years in the Senate, the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage never became an issue, even at the committee level, so the video record is slim.
But we’re pretty sure we’ve heard Carter, whose Decatur-based district is very gay friendly, express himself on the issue.
We scoured the AJC archives and could not find anything. We scoured the internet seeking seeking anything about what Carter’s stance may be. Nothing except a dodge of the question in a Huffington Post interview in March. We even tried to ask him the question at the Atlanta HRC dinner this year and he declined to answer any questions.
We’ve been requesting interviews with Sen. Carter for months so we could ask him this question, and many others, to no avail. And now that a lawsuit has been filed in Georgia challenging the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and governors across the country are taking sides on the issue, we felt it was only fair Sen. Carter have the opportunity to answer.
Carter is joining fellow Democrat Greg Hecht in supporting marriage equality. Hecht is also running for state-wide office in a campaign to defeat Attorney General Sam Olens and has said if he was elected he would not defend the lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s ban on marriage equality.
We are grateful that Georgia Equality Jeff Graham told the AJC that “he was pleased by the above statement, but suggested that the Carter campaign might want to be more responsive to LGBT media in the future.”
Kudos must also be given to Project Q Atlanta for writing the story that prompted our editorial about an LGBT fundraiser for Carter in which nearly $100,000 was raised without Carter having to even say the word “gay” or “LGBT.”
And we are very grateful and hopeful now that state Sen. Carter’s has cleared up any confusion on the matter. Thank you, Sen. Carter, for your leadership in making Georgia even better. LGBT and progressive voters should be fired up to head to the polls to oust Nathan Deal and put a man with experience, knowledge, compassion, smarts and strong leadership skills to make Georgia a place we can all be proud to call home.
UPDATE: In an interview with Creative Loafing, Carter said he didn’t understand the GA Voice’s editorial because he has always supported same-sex marriage.
I have, for a very long time, supported marriage equality. … I didn’t understand [the Georgia Voice’s editorial]. Everybody who knows me knows where I stand on the issue. I haven’t had a conversion. My grandfather is 89 and supports marriage equality in part because of the influence we’ve had on him.
I do think it’s important for people to know that no one in the movement is talking about telling churches what to do. But as far as the government is concerned, marriage equality is something I believe in and have [believed in] for a very, very, very long time since before I got into politics.
We continue to try to get our own interview with Carter and will update when we can.