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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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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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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.