Lesbian Georgia state Rep. Simone Bell named to House leadership position

Rep. Simone Bell has been elected to a leadership position in the Georgia House Democratic Caucus. Bell, the first African-American out lesbian elected to a state legislature, was named House Minority Chief Deputy Whip.

The elections were held at the Capitol Wednesday afternoon. Here are the full results:

  • House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams
  • House Minority Whip Carolyn F. Hugley
  • House Minority Chairman Virgil Fludd
  • House Minority Vice-Chairman Billy Mitchell
  • House Minority Treasurer David Wilkerson
  • House Minority Chief Deputy Whip Simone Bell
  • House Minority Secretary Pat Gardner

Rep. Bell, who was first elected in 2009, cruised to a Democratic primary victory over Erica Long in May and faced no Republican opposition in November’s general election. She is one of three openly gay members of the Georgia state legislature, along with Reps. Karla Drenner and Keisha Waites.

The 153rd Georgia General Assembly won’t convene its first session until Jan. 13, 2015, but there is already controversy with state Sen. Josh McKoon planning on reintroducing a so-called “religious freedom” bill that many say opens the door to anti-LGBT discrimination. A similar bill failed in this year’s session.

psaunders@thegavoice.com | @patricksaunders