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Aug. 10 runoff races to watch

The General Primary Runoff will determine the winner out of the top two finishers in contests where no candidate received the majority of votes in the July 10 primary election.

In addition to the contest between lesbian candidates Keisha Waites and Joan Garner in Fulton County, here are two of the top races of LGBT interest on the primary ballot.

While few candidates for the state’s top offices have openly campaigned for LGBT votes, many have long records — some positive, more negative — on issues that impact our community.

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Tenofovir found safe among gay, bisexual men in new study

A Phase II study of 400 gay and bisexual HIV-negative men who took tenofovir daily through pill form showed no serious safety concerns and could be a resource in the future for the prevention of the spread of the virus, according to researchers.

The study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, was presented at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, on July 23. The study was conducted by the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta, the San Francisco Department of Public Health and Fenway Community Health in Boston.

Tenofovir is an oral drug, also known by its brand name Viread. It is used alone or in combination with other antiviral drugs to treat HIV. Tenofovir is not a cure nor is it known for sure if it will prevent the spread of HIV to other people, according to the National Institutes of Health.

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GOP runoff to determine who faces Barnes in governor’s race

Former Gov. Roy Barnes cruised to an easy victory in the July 20 Democratic gubernatorial primary, easily meeting the 50 percent plus one vote margin required to win without a runoff.

Barnes, who served one term before being beaten by Sonny Perdue, took 65.8 percent of the vote in a crowded field.

During his previous tenure, Barnes became the first sitting Georgia governor to address a gay rights group when he spoke to the Atlanta Executive Network in July 2000.

Barnes did not back specific gay-related legislation but expressed strong support for principles of non-discrimination, including sexual orientation. Barnes also signed Georgia’s first hate crimes law, although the measure was eventually struck down as “too vague.”

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Ga. student sues university after asked to change anti-gay views

Jen Keeton is suing university over gay claims

An Augusta, Ga., graduate student is suing her university alleging the school violated her constitutional rights by saying she needed to change her anti-gay views in order to graduate.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian organization dedicated to defending “traditional family values,” represents Jennifer Keeton, 24, a counseling graduate student at Augusta State University.

Keeton claims in her suit, filed July 21, the school threatened to expel her because of her Christian belief that being gay or transgender is immoral and that she needed to go through a “remediation program” that included diversity and sensitivity classes about LGBT issues. The remediation program also included the suggestion Keeton attend Augusta’s first Gay Pride parade on June 19 and write about it, the suit claims.

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By the numbers: Gay marriage around the world

26 Countries — not including the United States — that recognize same-sex unions (through marriage, civil unions or other status). 53 Countries — again not including the United States — with anti-discrimination ...
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Lesbian candidates face off in Fulton Commission runoff

Joan Garner and Keisha Waites seek Fulton County Commission seat

Keisha Waites and Joan Garner are vying to be the first openly gay Fulton County Commissioner as they face each other in a runoff on Aug. 10.

During the July 20 Democratic primary for the District 6 seat, Waites placed first in a field of four with 3,576 votes, or 41.46 percent, with Garner in second with 3,408 votes, or 39.14 percent, according to official Fulton County Elections results.

Only 168 votes separated Waites and Garner, who advance to the runoff because neither received more than 50 percent of the vote. David Holder received 837 votes, or 9.7 percent. Sally Smith finished last with 807 votes, or 9.55 percent.

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Teens arrested in anti-gay crime charged as adults

Rev. Josh Noblitt and APD LGBT liaison Patricia Powell

The six male teens charged with felony armed robbery in the bias crime against a gay pastor and his friend will be charged as adults and face a bond hearing Aug. 19.

The teens, ages 13 through 19, have been indicted for felony armed robbery and were arraigned Aug. 2 in Fulton Superior Court when the bond hearing was set.

Those charged are Sam Johnson, 17; Benjamin Johnson, 16; and Daequan Lewis, 15, who are all listed as living at the same residence in Stone Mountain. Also charged is Jarvis Johnson, 19, of Parkway Drive in Atlanta. Sam Johnson was identified by APD as the gunman. Atlanta Police reports identified Jamal Bryant, 13, and Tyrone Smith, 16, as two other suspects who are also charged as adults.

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Senate confirms Elena Kagan

The U.S. Senate today confirmed the appointment of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, but not without complaints from nearly every Republican opposing her nomination about her actions concerning Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The vote was 63 to 37, with only five Republicans voting for Kagan and one Democrat voting against.

The Senate’s newest Republican member, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, voted against Kagan.

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Georgia now second in nation for those on ADAP waiting list for HIV meds

On July 1, Georgia instituted a waiting list for its AIDS Drug Assistance Program, a program that helps low-income people get their needed medication to stay alive. During July, 240 people were added to the ADAP waiting list, making Georgia now the state with the second largest waiting list in the country, according to the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors.