It was the Bowers v Hardwick ruling by the Supreme Court that stated the Constitution does not protect gay people from engaging in consensual sex that, Woolard says, made her join the fight because she believed the ruling was wrong.
“In 1986 the Hardwick decision came down from Supreme court. I felt the need to get involved. I was shocked out of complacency,” she says.
She became the local leader in the fight, meaning she had to come out publicly and to her parents, and she helped organize the second March on Washington in 1987 for lesbian and gay rights.
“1986 was my crossroads. Though I lamented the Supreme Court’s decision, I guess i have them to thank for it,” Woolard says.
Woolard became the first openly gay elected official elected to office in Georgia when she won a seat on the Atlanta City Council in 1997. She also became the first woman to be the president of the Atlanta City Council in 2001. In 2004, she became the first openly gay person in Georgia to run for Congress but lost to Cynthia McKinney.