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New Ga. Democratic Party chair says he now supports gay marriage

DuBose Porter, former Speaker of the House of the Georgia General Assembly, was elected to lead the Democratic Party of Georgia on Aug. 31. And he says he has evolved on marriage equality and is putting his anti-gay past — including in 2004 voting twice in favor to support the state's constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage — behind him.

After the GA Voice asked today about his position on marriage equality, Porter issued this statement late today:

"My opinion on marriage equality has evolved like most everyone else’s in the country. People need the right to marry who they love. Period," he said.

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[Video] Anti-bully bill needs revision but finds support in Ga. House education subcommittee

Keisha Waites

Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) fielded questions on her anti-bully legislation, HB 429, today before a Georgia General Assembly education subcommittee.

As written, HB 429 would expand the state's anti-bullying laws and require schools to issue annual reports on instances of bullying where a student is disciplined. Waites is one of three openly gay members of the Georgia General Assembly.

Committee members, including Education Committee Chairman Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth), questioned the need for additional punishments against students who bully, but seemed favorable to the idea of requiring schools to submit annual reports on instances of bullying.

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Lawmakers react after report shows some schools ban gay students

Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta)

Georgia House Democrats, including openly lesbian Reps. Simone Bell and Keisha Waites, held a public forum at the Capitol Feb. 11 to discuss six pieces of proposed legislation focused on education.

The proposed bills, four of which have already been filed during the current legislative session, included The Restore & Build HOPE Act, the Anti-Discrimination Act, the Education Transparency Act, the Parent Protection Act, the Drop-Out Deterrent Act and the End Cyber-Bullying Act.

Two of the bills, the Anti-Discrimination Act and the End Cyber-Bullying Act, specifically address concerns of LGBT voters.

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Georgia Equality to offer free citizen advocacy training

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Georgia Equality, the state's largest LGBT advocacy organization, will host a free advocacy / lobby training event at the Phillip Rush Center on Sat., Jan. 12.

The event is aimed at teaching participants to effectively communicate with elected leaders on the local, state and federal levels. The program is free to attend, but pre-registration is required.

“For the last four years, we’ve seen a softening of some of the hard attitudes toward the LGBT community,” Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, said last week. “We’ve been able to pass bills. HIV prevention, anti-bullying, we’ve been able to consistently fight back against anti-gay and anti-transgender legislation that different lawmakers have expressed interest in trying to introduce.”