Five openly gay candidates seek seats in the Georgia General Assembly in the Nov. 6 election, including three lesbian incumbents and two gay men challenging GOP state lawmakers. Two other known gay candidates are also on the ballot in Georgia, running for state Public Service Commission and Floyd County Commission.
In addition, Georgia Equality, the state’s largest LGBT political group, targets six races with gay-friendly Democratic candidates to try to keep Republicans from gaining a constitutional majority in the state legislature, which would allow them to put constitutional amendments on the ballot without needing any votes from Democrats.
Also, the state Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA), which would make it illegal to fire state workers based on sexual orientation and gender identity, would be in danger of stalling. In the past session it stayed stuck in the House Judiciary Committee.
The Georgia General Assembly will meet in a special legislative session to begin Monday to discuss redistricting, among other topics, and two of the state's three openly gay legislators may be in the crosshairs.
Already a proposed legislative map is being discussed in public. State Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), the House Minority Leader, has accused the Republican-controlled legislature of pitting black Democratic state House representatives against white Democrats. Abrams, who is black, said Republican lawmakers are "purging the state of Georgia of white Democrats," a charge GOP leaders deny. The full map will be released Friday.
Editor's note: State Rep. Karla Drenner has responded to this editorial. You can read her letter here.
The Georgia House of Representatives approved March 3 a resolution honoring Cathy Woolard, the state's first openly gay elected official. But despite being sponsored by our first openly gay state legislator, the resolution never uses the word "gay" and does not mention Woolard's historic first.
Woolard made history in 1997 when she was elected to the District 6 seat on the Atlanta City Council, becoming the first openly gay elected official in Georgia. She made history again in 2001, when she was elected Atlanta City Council president, the first woman and the first openly gay person to hold the post.
Guess which one of those milestones made it into the resolution approved by the Georgia House of Representatives earlier this month?
Lambda Legal has filed papers before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit defending a lower court’s ruling that the Georgia General Assembly discriminated against Vandy Beth Glenn, a transgender woman who was fired from her job as a state legislative editor in 2007 after informing her superiors of her intention to transition from male to female.
In July of last year, the district court ruled that General Assembly officials discriminated against Glenn based on her sex. The General Assembly's legislative counsel, Sewell Brumby, fired Glenn because he thought her transition "was inappropriate, that it would be disruptive, that some people would view it as a moral issue, and that it would make Glenn's coworkers uncomfortable."
The state has since appealed the ruling.
An anti-bullying bill backed by gay groups that was thought dead in the Georgia General Assembly was revived Tuesday when language from House Bill 927 was added as an amendment to Senate Bill 250.