New Ga. Democratic Party chair says he now supports gay marriage

“We all draw from our own life experiences to get there. And I’m there. I look forward to the day that all Georgians are treated equally under the law,” Porter said.

Jim Taflinger, chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia’s LGBT Caucus, said in a statement the election of Porter pointed to a party dedicated to fighting for equality for LGBT people.

“For the first time in the history of the Democratic Party of Georgia, all three candidates for Party Chairperson endorsed marriage equality,” Taflinger said.

“We applaud the election of DuBose Porter as the new Democratic Party Chair. Besides his full support for equality, he is ready to work with our community to move Georgia Democrats forward on LGBT issues including HIV and health-related issues, school bullying and non-discrimination in the workplace,” Taflinger said. “With DuBose’s expressed  unconditional support for our community, the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Georgia looks forward to our partnership ahead,” Taflinger said.

For the DPG Chair, Porter went up against former state Sen. Doug Stoner of Cobb County and Rockdale Tax Commissioner R.J. Hadley. Stoner had major support from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who came out in support of marriage equality in December; former Gov. Roy Barnes; and state Sen. Jason Carter, also an LGBT supporter who was endorsed by LGBT advocacy organization Georgia Equality.

Porter had the support of House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams for the DPG post, who has made LGBT issues a part of the Democratic party platform. She supported a bill in the General Assembly to cut off state funding to private schools that discriminate against LGBT children and also is a co-sponsor of the Georgia Fair Employment Practices Act that would add “sexual orientation” to protected statuses for public employment in Georgia.

In 2010, Porter was one of a handful of Democrats running for governor, and his history on LGBT equality was hardly something to brag about.

At that time he was known for being a member of the Georgia General Assembly who voted twice in favor of the state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage; and was Speaker Pro Tempore of the House during the debate.

Porter also voted for a bill sponsored by Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) to prevent cities from requiring private businesses to offer domestic partner benefits to be eligible for city contracts.

Last May, after President Barack Obama came out in support of marriage equality, former DPG Chair Mike Berlon said the state Democratic Party also supported gay and lesbian people getting married.

“The Democratic Party of Georgia strongly stands with the LGBT community, the President and his administration, and with all Georgians who believe that we should treat others the way we’d want to be treated,” Berlon said at the time. “That is not a democratic principle. It’s about human dignity.”

Under the leadership of Berlon, the state Democratic Party suffered great financial losses. He served from 2011 to 2013 when he was forced to resign due to legal woes and accusations of professional misconduct.

Read Porter’s acceptance speech by clicking here.