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Atlanta Eagle endorses Waites; denies her claim that Fulton opponent tried to tear down sign

Joan Garner and Keisha Waites

A large poster of Keisha Waites is tacked to the exterior wall of the Atlanta Eagle on Ponce de Leon Avenue, which a co-owner says is, yes, an endorsement for the Fulton County District 6 candidate.

Waites faces Joan Garner in today’s runoff. Garner and Waites are both lesbians, so whoever wins tonight will become the first openly gay person on the Fulton County Commission. Because no Republican or independent candidate qualified for the ballot, today’s Democratic runoff decides the seat.

Robby Kelley, co-owner of the Atlanta Eagle, says Waites helped fellow co-owner Richard Ramey with a legal issue involving his sister; Ramey felt indebted to her enough to allow her to put the enormous poster of herself on the bar. The poster has been up since Aug. 3.

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Trans woman fired illegally by Ga. legislature will begin receiving pay, benefits Monday

Vandy Beth Glenn will begin receiving state pay and benefits on Monday, but she will not return to work at the Georgia General Assembly as part of an agreement reached today in her case.

Glenn, who was fired in 2007 from her job as a legislative editor after disclosing her plan to transition from male to female, won her federal lawsuit against the state legislature when a judge ruled July 2 she was illegally discriminated against when Legislative Counsel Sewell Brumby fired her for being transgender.

Judge Richard Story, who ruled in favor of Glenn in the lawsuit, also ruled on Tuesday that Glenn must be reinstated to her job on Aug. 9. The defendants asked for a stay on her returning to work and today held a teleconference with the judge to discuss options.

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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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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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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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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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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 ...