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[UPDATE] LGBT groups receive Georgia Council for the Arts grants

Out on Film announces opening and closing filmsOut on Film, Atlanta's annual LGBTQ film festival, announced this morning it had received a grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts. Atlanta Freedom Bands, the city's gay and lesbian band, has also been awarded a grant, according to the GCA.

The funds are appropriated for fiscal year 2014.

“We are ecstatic,” Jim Farmer, Out On Film’s festival director, said today via a media release. “Not only is this a tremendous financial gift but a real boost of confidence. We are grateful for the Georgia Council for the Arts’ continued support of what we do.”

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Two hearings on pro-gay bills cited as progress for conservative Gold Dome

Karla Drenner

As the Georgia General Assembly adjourned its annual 40-day session, the only specifically LGBT bill to pass this year was a resolution honoring the Atlanta Freedom Bands — and even that caused controversy.

Introduced by state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), one of three openly gay members of the General Assembly, the resolution was similar to those routinely passed every day to honor an organization or individual, with one exception.

“This bill had LGBT in there … I thought it was really innocuous,” Drenner said. “I worked on it to make it palatable for everybody and I removed everything that could be deemed to be inflammatory except LGBT.”

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[UPDATED] Ga. House approves resolution honoring gay Atlanta Freedom Bands

The Ga. House approved today a resolution honoring the Atlanta Freedom Bands, a day after a Republican lawmaker blocked a vote on the measure lauding the LGBT organization.

Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) initially blocked the resolution introduced by openly gay state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), asking a vote be delayed until Friday.

Drenner told the AJC yesterday she was "not surprised" her resolution was blocked. While similar resolutions are routinely approved by the state House, lawmakers have balked at other efforts to honor gay organizations.

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LGBT angles to watch for at today’s Presidential Inauguration

President Barack Obama's inauguration is just another example of how he includes LGBT people among the fabric of America. Here are several specific LGBT moments to watch for today:

During the ceremony

Crowds began building hours ago, but the inauguration gets underway in earnest when First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and then President Obama are seated a little after 11 a.m.

Any of the speakers may choose to include LGBT people in their remarks, and we'll be listening closely for specific inclusion in Obama's inaugural address, which starts at noon.

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Atlanta Freedom Bands to send marchers to D.C. for Presidential Inaugural Parade

 Atlanta Freedom Bands

Seven members from the Atlanta Freedom Bands will head to Washington, D.C., next month to march alongside members of the Lesbian & Gay Band Association in the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade, held to commemorate President Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony.

Two of Atlanta Freedom Bands' marchers will be section leaders, group President Cliff Norris said.

More than 30 different gay and lesbian music organizations will send marchers to the parade from cities across the country. The combined band will number around 230 participants.

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Atlanta Freedom Bands perform ‘Holiday Fantasy’

Atlanta Freedom Bands

The Atlanta Freedom Bands will kick off their 20th performance season Dec. 15 with their annual holiday concert, this year titled “Holiday Fantasy,” to be held at North Decatur Presbyterian Church. Tickets to the event are $10 for general admission and $5 for students and senior citizens.

Musicians from both the Atlanta Freedom Bands Concert Band and the MetroGnomes Stage Band will perform.

The concert will feature festive classics and a few surprises, according to Atlanta Freedom Bands President Cliff Norris. Music from “A Nightmare Before Christmas,” “The Nutcracker” and even a meeting between Saint Nick and super-spy James Bond are in the works.