6th Congressional District candidate Karen Handel appears to be doubling down on her much publicized 2010 comments on gay adoption, telling both a Reporter Newspapers writer and the mother of an LGBT child that her “faith calls me to a very different place on these issues.”
Both exchanges took place during a campaign stop at Wright’s Gourmet Sandwich Shop in Dunwoody on Thursday. Reporter Newspapers’ (and former Georgia Voice editor) Dyana Bagby spoke with the former Georgia Secretary of State on a number of issues, including this exchange:
When asked about her feelings about gay couples adopting children – an issue she stated she opposed in 2010 during her unsuccessful bid for governor – Handel said her “faith calls me to a very different place on these issues.”
“My faith at the same time calls me to be compassionate and what I have always believed is that what has to be paramount is what is the best interest of the child,” she said.
Asked to explain further, she said, “The best interest of the child. Period, end of paragraph. That’s not for you to decide. That’s not for me to decide. It’s for the child advocates to decide, whether that be the court or the child’s guardian. The child’s best interest must be paramount.”
Handel was also approached by a woman with an LGBT daughter, who asked the candidate what protections she would have if she wanted to adopt children in the future.
“I have to be honest, my faith calls me to a different place on that issue,” Handel said per video taken by a Democratic tracker and obtained by Georgia Voice. “My faith also calls me to be compassionate, and so I always try to do that. I don’t—I’m not aware of anything in the law that, right now, that I’m aware of, that is gonna be impactful from a discriminatory standpoint against your daughter.”
The woman then expressed concerns about Vice President Mike Pence’s anti-LGBT views, saying, “I know what his stance is on LGBT and that scares me, yeah.”
Handel then twice says “the issue’s been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court” and stands up to leave.
You can watch the exchange below.
Thursday’s comments come after a growing spotlight on Handel’s 2010 comments as the days dwindle to election day on Tuesday. State Rep. Park Cannon (D-Atlanta), who identifies as queer, said she tried to address Handel on the issue after a June 8 debate with her Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff. After offering to work with Handel on gay marriage and gay adoption, Cannon said Handel turned and walked away without responding. Handel has also refused numerous interview requests from Georgia Voice throughout the campaign.
Those notorious comments on gay marriage and gay adoption came during Handel’s run for Georgia governor, when 11Alive reporter Doug Richards questioned Handel on her LGBT rights views. Handel said she was against gay marriage and that she would consider legislation outlawing gay adoption, saying a home with gay parents “is not the best household for a child.”