Founded in 2000, the Atlanta Human Relations Commission is charged with enforcing the city’s non-discrimination ordinance, which prohibits bias in a variety of categories, including sexual orientation, and covers employment, housing and public accommodations.
Victims of alleged bias can file complaints with the commission, which investigates the claims. If commissioners agree that illegal bias occurred, they can recommend the mayor issue punishments such as fines or the loss of city licenses.
Because sexual orientation discrimination is not banned under state or federal law, the commission is particularly important to gay Atlantans as one of the few available venues to seek justice.
And no one in City Hall knows why
When Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed called Lee Schreter on Dec. 11 to tell her was announcing publicly his support of marriage equality, she whooped out loud.
“And I had a smile pasted on my face the rest of the day,” she recalled.
Schreter first met Reed about 15 years ago when Reed began working as a new attorney at the same firm where she was a partner. Over the years, Reed became close friends with Schreter and her partner, De Linda Bunnell, who have been together 31 years and were married last year in New York.
Reed credits Schreter with being perhaps the most influential person in his recent decision to support marriage equality rather than just civil unions.
The Atlanta Police Department's LGBT Advisory Board will hold its next meeting Monday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. at Atlanta City Hall, 2nd Floor, City Council Committee Room 2.
Among the items to be discussed are updated changes to the APD's LGBT Diversity Training and the continued impact of the Atlanta Eagle raid settlement.
The Advisory Board's previous meeting saw members voice support of the Citizens Review Board's recommendation that officers involved in the Atlanta Eagle raid be suspended for three days without pay and receive Fourth Amendment training.
Kyle Keyser, a community activist and former mayoral candidate, announced plans to hold a vigil / rally on Jan. 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the steps of Atlanta’s City Hall.
The vigil is aimed at reminding city and community leaders of the impact of crime in 2010. A prayer service will be followed by a call for reduced crime in 2011 and beyond by asking the city’s leaders to address its root causes.
“It is my opinion that Mayor Reed has done a good job in his first year addressing our public safety infrastructure and the police department,” said Keyser, who is gay and ran a grassroots campaign for mayor in 2009, when Reed was elected.
The Atlanta Police Department LGBT Advisory Board will hold its next meeting on Jan. 10 at Atlanta City Hall’s City Council Committee Room 2 at 7 p.m.
Among the items on the agenda for the meeting include a review of the federal lawsuit settlement between the city and plaintiffs from the Atlanta Eagle stemming from the botched 2009 raid on the bar, an update on the status of the investigation into the shooting death of Black Gay Pride organizer Durand Robinson and an update on the status of DUI and road checks used in the city.
APD’s LGBT Liaison Officers Patricia Powell and Brian Sharp will address the board. Members of the Atlanta Citizen Review Board will also be on-hand to discuss how the ACRB and the LGBT Advisory Board can work together in the future.
Geoff Calhoun held his face in his hands during the Atlanta City Council meeting on Dec. 6, visibly nervous as he leaned forward in his chair in the council’s chamber at City Hall.
Calhoun was a patron of the Atlanta Eagle, a gay leather bar, on Sept. 10, 2009, the night it was raided by undercover Atlanta Police Department officers and the APD’s Red Dog Unit.
As a plaintiff in the federal civil rights lawsuit filed by patrons who were detained and searched during the raid, Calhoun was waiting anxiously to see if the council would vote to approve a settlement the city reached with the plaintiffs on Dec. 3.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and City Councilman Alex Wan are hosting a pre-Pride reception tonight at City Hall for local community activists, the Atlanta Police Department’s LGBT Advisory Board, the APD LGBT Liaisons, Atlanta Pride organizers, non-profit leaders and elected officials.