State Rep. Karla Drenner, Georgia's first openly gay state legislator, needs your vote now — not to return to the Gold Dome, she already did that — but to win a chance to speak at the Next Generation of Government Training Summit.
Drenner (D-Avondale Estates) is one of 15 finalists, all seeking a chance to win to speak to more than 650 young people at the esteemed conference held July 25-26 in Washington, D.C.
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.”
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.
Georgia House Democrats, including openly lesbian Reps. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) and Simone Bell (D-Atlanta), held a public forum today 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, include 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.
The Anti-Discrimination Act, which has not yet been finalized, would ensure that private schools that receive funding from Schools Scholarship Organizations could not use public funds towards discriminating against students based on race, religion, national origin, sexuality or disability.
As Georgia’s three openly lesbian lawmakers return to work under the iconic Gold Dome as the 2013 legislative session convenes Jan. 14, they face the daunting task of trying to find a voice in a predominantly Republican-controlled General Assembly.
Republicans will enter the 2013 legislative session with a near-constitutional majority after a particularly good election year for conservative lawmakers at the local level. But despite the national tide turning toward LGBT equality, Georgia’s gay lawmakers and activists have an uphill battle to continue the advance in an unfriendly legislative atmosphere.
Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham said work will continue, despite the Republican majority. Georgia, after all, is not new to conservative politics.
Georgia Equality, the state's largest LGBT advocacy organization, has set a fundraising goal of $15,000 before the end of the calendar year. The money, Executive Director Jeff Graham says, will go toward helping fund GE's upcoming participation in the Georgia General Assembly's 2013 legislative session.
“Some of it will used to pay for lobbyists,” Graham says. “Some will be used to pay for advocacy costs. Some will be used for staff time to coordinate interns, volunteers and to be able to monitor hearings and to participate in hearings.”
GE's annual budget is much higher than $15,000, but the money raised from this fundraising drive will go to a variety of causes and initiatives in the coming year. Through Friday, Dec. 21, a private donor has promised to match up to $1,000 in donations to GE. This donor has pledged $4,000 in matching donations, Graham says, and has already matched more than $3,000 so far.
Gay activists and allies plan Wednesday to protest Uganda's "Kill the Gays Bill" at the Georgia State Capitol from noon to 1 p.m.
Organized by J.R. Rich, the Facebook invite to the protest describes the Uganda bill as "genocide" and states, "It is 2012 and there is still genocide in the world and we can not let it happen! PLEASE join the fight and let your lawmakers know you want them to speak up and end this atrocity!"
Leaders in Uganda are pushing the bill to be passed soon as a "Christmas gift to the people of Uganda" as stated in the video below that was posted to YouTube on Nov. 12.
It was a great Election Day for LGBT equality across the nation, but in the red state of Georgia there is still much work to be done to move forward.
Lesbian candidates ruled the night in Georgia. State Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) easily coasted to victory Nov. 6 by defeating Republican challenger Earl Cooper to retain her District 58 seat.
State Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates) and state Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta), both openly gay, return to the House after having no challengers in the general election. Drenner represents District 85 and will serve her seventh term in the legislature. Waites represents District 60 and will serve her first full term after winning a special election in February.