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By the numbers: Gay marriage in California and beyond

58 to 42

Margin, in percent, by which California voters passed Proposition 8, which ended gay marriage there. In what could be a landmark case, a federal judge is now weighing a challenge to the law; a ruling is expected as soon as this month and the case may eventually reach the Supreme Court.

18,000

Same-sex couples who were married in California.

42

States with laws or constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. Georgia has both.

5

States, plus the District of Columbia, where gay marriage is legal.

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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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Election: Attorney General preview

The race to replace Attorney General Thurbert Baker, who is running for governor, is the only statewide race where both Georgia Equality and the Atlanta Stonewall Democrats issued endorsements.

Both LGBT political groups backed Rep. Rob Teilhet, a Democrat. As a member of the Georgia House, he voted against the 2004 state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

“He is with us the majority of the time,” said GE Executive Director Jeff Graham, noting that Teilhet supports “basic fairness issues in terms of employment protection, supporting basic rights and existing law as it relates to our families and relationships.”

None of the candidates returned the Georgia Voice survey.