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Suspect confesses in beating of parole officer

The man arrested in the beating of a parole officer from Marietta has confessed to the crime and the incident does not appear to be a random act, according to a press release from the Atlanta Police Department.

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UPDATED: Police make arrest in beating of state parole officer

The Atlanta Police Department with help from the U.S. Marshal's Office and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole arrested a man today in the beating of a state parole officer.

Gregory Johnson, 30, of Atlanta, has been charged with robbery and aggravated battery in the attack on George B. Walker, 31, an officer with the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. Johnson will be transported to the Fulton County Jail, according to a press release issued at 6:20 p.m. today

Atlanta Police Department officers went to the Atlanta Eagle Tuesday night after a missing state parole officer’s vehicle was found in the gay bar’s parking lot.

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Election: Battle for LGBT votes in State Senate District 39

Graham Balch and Vincent Fort face-off in primary

In the race for State Senate District 39, Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) won endorsement from LGBT political groups Georgia Equality and Atlanta Stonewall Democrats.

But high school teacher Graham Balch continues to campaign for gay votes as the two men head for a showdown in the July 20 Democratic primary which, since no Republican is running, will decide who holds the seat.

Fort’s campaign includes an LGBT Initiative chaired by state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), who was Georgia’s first openly gay state lawmaker and is running unopposed for her sixth term, and longtime community activist Craig Washington.

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Election: Governor’s race offers little positive for gay voters

None of the candidates to be Georgia’s next governor have campaigned for LGBT votes, although several have long — mostly negative — records on LGBT issues.

Most candidates declined to respond to surveys from the Georgia Voice and LGBT political groups, while several Republican candidates have tried to use their opposition to gay rights as campaign strategies.

Among the major Democratic candidates, former Gov. Roy Barnes has the clearest, generally positive record of not shutting out gay constituents, largely due to his former term in office.

Among the Republicans, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine has continued his outspoken opposition to fairness for LGBT couples in his bid for higher office, while former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal has attempted to use former Secretary of State Karen Handel’s past support for issues like domestic partner benefits against her.

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Election: Five vie for State School Superintendent

The Democratic race for State School Superintendent is the only primary race where all candidates responded to the Georgia Voice survey.

The state school superintendent’s office could gain increased attention from LGBT Georgians as the state works to implement a new anti-bullying law passed by the General Assembly this year.

Beth Farokhi, Joe Martin and Brian Westlake all said they support gay-straight alliance student clubs, the right for same-sex couples to attend high-school proms and anti-bullying programs that specifically address anti-gay slurs.

Farokhi and Westlake said they support comprehensive sex education. “Sex education should emphasize abstinence, but should also include factual information about ways to prevent pregnancies and socially transmitted diseases. However, schools should not be used to distribute condoms or birth-control devices,” Martin said.

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Supreme Court nominee grilled over ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

The issue of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and a controversy over allowing the U.S. military to recruit on college campuses emerged as central concerns during U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings last week.

The issues emerged June 28 during the second day of hearings for Kagan — who’s currently serving as U.S. solicitor general — in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The hearings concluded June 30 and a Senate vote on Kagan’s confirmation is expected this month. Kagan appears headed to confirmation with a Republican filibuster unlikely.