Not to be outdone by his competitors, Nathan Deal, a republican candidate for Georgia governor, decided to put out his own campaign commercial degrading Karen Handel for her past stated support of domestic partner benefits and adoption rights for gay couples.
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.
The gay Republican activist who stated in a 2003 interview that Karen Handel supports gay adoption and domestic partner benefits told the Georgia Voice that he stands by the quote, and provided email exchanges with the GOP politician that show her desire to win gay support.
Meanwhile, another gay Republican leader noted that the staff of Nathan Deal, who is attacking Handel on gay issues as they battle in the GOP primary for governor, welcomed and helped him when he visited Washington, D.C., for the gay Log Cabin Republicans national conference.
“We will be continuing our support for Karen Handel,” Marc Yeager, then-president of the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans, told Southern Voice newspaper in an article published Aug. 15, 2003. “She demonstrated in her last run that she was supportive of domestic partner benefits, and she’s supported same-sex adoptions on the basis of the best interest of the child.”