GA Voice Editor Laura Douglas-Brown wrote an open letter to Mayor Reed saying his current stance on “wrestling” with supporting marriage equality. She stated:
And if you are afraid that being pro-gay marriage will hurt your future electability, you can cross that off your list of concerns.
President Obama’s announcement was groundbreaking for many reasons, the most important being that it affirmed the basic equality of all Americans. But it also gave cover to basically every other politician in the country.
Galloway checked in with two of Atlanta’s best gay political strategists for their opinions on Reed’s “dilemma.” Beth Schapiro is one of the masterminds behind winning political campaigns of gay candidates such as Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan and Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner. She’s now on Ken Britt’s team trying to get the veteran gay politico elected to the state House.
“You can count on LGBT voters not only to vote, but also to actively support candidates for all levels of office,” she told Galloway.
“I think [marriage equality] poses a challenge for the mayor, because it’s not going to go away. His overall record on LGBT rights is very good, but marriage has become a defining issue for many,” she said. “This is a major test for his considerable political skills.”
Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, said while he hopes the mayor will come around to support marriage equality, there are more pressing issues in Georgia for LGBT people to fight for.
“We certainly are hopeful that Mayor Reed will come around, that he’ll realize that this is about a civil marriage license, not a religious ceremony,” Graham told Galloway.
Graham added that GE isn’t focusing on trying to help Reed evolve — “that’s not an issue we’re actively working on,” he said.
Why? Because Republican control the General Assembly and a Reed endorsement of same-sex marriage “would be symbolic at best,” Graham said.
GE is is instead working on issues such as as preventing job discrimination, funding the AIDS Drug Assistance Drug Program and stopping bullying in schools.
And while the nation’s support of same-sex marriage grows and support is also growing in Georgia, Graham said this issue is not a litmus test just yet for GE support.
“Marriage equality is not an issue that we’re going to hold candidates to,” he said.