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Gay speakers planned for MLK march, rally on Jan. 17

Each year at the Martin Luther King Jr. March and Rally, LGBT representatives are asked to speak.

This year, Tracy Elliott, executive director of AID Atlanta; and Anneliese Singh, founder of the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition and assistant professor at UGA, will address the crowd at the rally.

The march and rally will be on Jan. 17, MLK's birthday and takes place after the annual Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde breakfast at Saint Mark United Methodist Church.

Created by Atlanta activists Darlene Hudson and Craig Washington, the breakfast honors Rustin, an influential gay adviser to King, and Lorde, the celebrated lesbian and feminist poet.

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Former gay mayoral candidate organizes rally to amp up anti-crime efforts

Kyle Keyser, a community activist and former mayoral candidate, announced plans to hold a vigil / rally on Jan. 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the steps of Atlanta’s City Hall.

The vigil is aimed at reminding city and community leaders of the impact of crime in 2010. A prayer service will be followed by a call for reduced crime in 2011 and beyond by asking the city’s leaders to address its root causes.

“It is my opinion that Mayor Reed has done a good job in his first year addressing our public safety infrastructure and the police department,” said Keyser, who is gay and ran a grassroots campaign for mayor in 2009, when Reed was elected.

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Gay lawmaker predicts contentious year for General Assembly

Karla Drenner

A new governor, new lawmakers, new party affiliations and the third year of $1 billion budget shortfalls may result in one of the most contentious General Assembly sessions Georgia has seen.

“I think if you want to think of the nasty ugliest things that you could possibly imagine, that will be this year’s General Assembly,” said Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates). “I think the fight will be about everything. Now that [Republicans] have such a big majority they can do anything so I think you will see personal fights, budget fights, fights about everything.”

The annual 40-day legislative session begins Jan. 10, the same day Nathan Deal will be inaugurated as Georgia’s new governor.

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By the numbers: Uganda’s ‘top homos’

100 Pictures of ‘Uganda’s Top Homos’ published in October in the weekly newspaper Rolling Stone (not related to the US music magazine). 1,000,000 Children that the Ugandan newspaper claimed the “homos” planned ...
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NOH8 photo campaign visits Atlanta

The popular NOH8 Campaign comes to Atlanta on MLK Day 2011

The photography campaign that has spawned nearly 6,000 photos of celebrities and every day people with duct tape across their mouths and “NOH8” painted on their faces began two years ago in an L.A. apartment at about 3 a.m.

Photographer Adam Bouska and his partner, Jeff Parshley, were devastated when California voters approved Prop 8, a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, in the November 2008 election. The two men felt silenced in their home state and wanted to do something to protest Prop 8.

“It was natural we come up with a plan to use photographs … this was on everyone’s mind and we were looking for ways to get involved,” Bouska said in an interview from his L.A. home as he prepares for a Jan. 16 NOH8 photo shoot in Atlanta.

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Durand Robinson’s daughter speaks out on father’s death

Durand Robinson was gunned down in August of 2010

It was a bittersweet holiday season for Wynter Robinson, daughter of the late Durand Robinson, the co-owner of Traxx Atlanta who was killed in August.

“The holidays were difficult but I gave back to the community, a tradition my father instilled in me to go into underprivileged neighborhoods and help,” she said.

Robinson, 24, said she purchased gifts for a 5-year old girl who had no other gifts.

“I bought her a lot of presents. It was something he [her father] would have done,” she said.

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Federal appeals panel wants ruling on who can fight for Prop 8

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to defend Prop 8 in court

A 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel surprised many Proposition 8 observers Jan. 4 when it suddenly issued five documents relating to the case.

But there was no decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the landmark case testing whether voters in California violated the U.S. Constitution when they amended the state constitution to ban marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

The bottom line of the documents was that the three-judge panel that heard arguments in an appeal of the case punted a critical question regarding legal standing to the California Supreme Court.

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Atlanta City Council apologizes to Eagle lawsuit plantiffs

Atlanta City Councilmember Michael Julian Bond

The Atlanta City Council voted this week to officially apologize to the plaintiffs of the Atlanta Eagle federal lawsuit that was settled by the city for $1.025 million last month.

During the Jan. 3 meeting, the council voted 14-0 to apologize to the plaintiffs for the illegal raid on the gay bar, during which police searched and ran background checks on all patrons. Mayor Kasim Reed also issued an apology to the plaintiffs last month.

The apology, proposed by Councilmember Michael Julian Bond, reads, in part, “Whereas, the City of Atlanta is a mosaic of ethnicities, races, religions and sexual orientations … and Whereas, it is imperative that all members of Atlanta’s varied communities — be they African American, Hispanic, Asian, LGBT, youth or senior citizens — feel their freedoms are respected, now therefore, the City Council of the City of Atlanta hereby resolves and offers an apology to the plaintiffs named in the civil action styled Calhoun, et. al. v. Pennington, et. al.”

Bond, who had offered to apologize to all people impacted by the raid last year, said this week he wanted to follow through with an apology to the plaintiffs because of the “egregious nature of the raid.”

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Joan Garner takes oath of office as first openly gay Fulton Co. Commissioner

Joan Garner, Fulton Co. Commission District 6

It was an historic day today as Joan Garner, the first openly gay person elected to the Fulton County Commission, took her oath of office and officially began work as a member of the governing board.

At her side as she was sworn in was her partner of 11 years, attorney Jane Morrison.Garner also had a cheering section in the room who clapped as she entered the room with the other Fulton County Commissioners who were also sworn in today as part of the inauguration ceremony.

Garner was sworn in by her friend, Cynthia D. Wright, Chief Judge of the Superior Court of Fulton County.

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Federal judges send Prop 8 back to Calif. Supreme Court

A three-judge panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced today that the federal court will not determine the constitutionality of California’s ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8, before the court knows whether or not the law’s backers have the legal right to defend the ban.

According to the Associated Press:

In a brief order filed Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asked the California Supreme Court to decide if the backers of ballot propositions can step in to defend voter-approved measures in court when state officials refuse to do so.

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Attorney General Jerry Brown refused to appeal a lower court’s ruling that Prop 8 violated the civil rights of LGBT Californians. Backers of the ban stepped in to defend the district court's ruling before the 9th Circuit, who will now defer the issue to the state's Supreme Court.