QJL leaders said they will send Franklin a letter of reprimand today. They’ve sent us a copy.
Honorable Bobby Franklin
401-A Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, GA 30334
Dear Representative Franklin:
As Georgians, and Americans, we have many different opinions, values and beliefs.
Some might say that this melting pot of culture is what makes our country unique, that this diversity is essential to our American way of life.
The point of this letter is not to address the merits of diversity, but rather the problems created when diversity is not respected. Specifically, we wish to address your recent comments to the Marietta Daily Journal, which many, including the Queer Justice League, consider to be simply unacceptable.
Your comment, comparing members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities to drug dealers, is offensive. We believe that the climate of hateful rhetoric must come to an end (on both sides of the political aisle). Unfortunately, your comments do nothing to bring accomplish this, and in fact exacerbate the situation.
As Georgians, the citizens you were elected to represent, we demand that you issue a formal and personal apology in response to your comments. We also demand that you and your staff engage in sensitivity and diversity training, in order to better address the diverse opinions, beliefs and values of your constituents.
While we respect that every individual is entitled to choose their own values and morals, we do not accept comparisons of your constituents to criminals.
We hope that you choose to address this incident in a timely and effective manner. As your constituents, we await your response and will continue to engage you regarding this incident.
The Queer Justice League
Jeff Schade, a spokesperson for the Queer Justice League, said in a press statement that Franklin’s remarks are “unacceptable.”
“Representative Franklin was elected to represent all of his constituents, not simply those that share his ideological views, which he admits are religiously based. Representative Franklin’s comments are deeply offensive and we do not take them lightly. In a time when the public has called for less rhetoric from our elected officials, comparing an entire community to adulterers, thieves and liars, as he did, is simply unacceptable,” he said.
“For far too long we’ve allowed our community to be trampled on and used as political scapegoats whenever it is convenient. That time has come to an end, we cannot and we will not stand for this any longer. Simply put, enough is enough,” Schade added.
The QJL is no stranger to political controversy. Late last fall, members of the group met with staffers of U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) after an anti-gay message, which originated from the senator’s office, was posted to gay blog Joe.My.God.
The QJL was also involved in a counter-protest against a KKK rally held in support of Jennifer Keeton, an Augusta State University student who is suing the university after school officials told Keeton she must undergo a remediation program to learn more about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Keeton told professors and students she believed homosexuality to be immoral and allegedly said she would counsel clients against being gay.
Photo: Ga. Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta) (via Facebook)