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Atlanta’s total cost for illegal police raid nears $3 million

Atlanta Eagle

Documents released by the city of Atlanta show that the city paid out more than $1.2 million for an independent investigation into the botched raid of the Atlanta Eagle.

The documents show that high-profile law firm Greenberg Traurig charged the city more than $1.2 million for its three-month investigation and 349-page report of what happened at the Eagle the night of Sept. 10, 2009, when the gay bar was raided by the Atlanta Police Department after anonymous allegations about illegal sex and drug use at the bar. No drugs were found and nobody was arrested for illegal sex.

The investigation was mandated as part of a $1.025 million settlement the city reached in December 2010 with 26 patrons of the bar who said their constitutional rights were violated when they were detained for no reason, forced to the ground and had their IDs checked.

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Wedding: Where you can legally wed

Georgia has banned gay marriage twice — by law in 1996 and by an amendment to the state constitution in 2004. That means you’ll have to travel if you want to wed where your marriage is legally recognized.

Since neither Georgia nor the federal government will acknowledge gay marriages from other states, you won’t bring any new legal rights home from your trip. That leads some couples to opt instead to simply tie the knot here.

But for others, it’s an important personal or political statement to say “I do” where gay couples are given full equality under the law. You might choose a destination wedding in one of these jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is legal, or have a small legal ceremony there followed by a larger ceremony or celebration back in Georgia.

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Obama issues new initiatives to advance LGBT rights abroad

President Obama's administration announced it would no longer defend DOMA in court

President Barack Obama today issued a memorandum to the heads of each executive branch directing government agencies to “promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.”

“I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT Pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation,” the memo reads.

The president ordered agencies under the executive branch to combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct, protect LGBT refugees and assylum seekers, issue “swift and meaningful” responses to human rights abuses of LGBT persons abroad, and engage international gay rights organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination.

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At least five gay candidates on Ga. ballot

Decatur City Commissioner Kecia Cunningham

At least five openly gay candidates will appear on Nov. 8 ballots for local government seats in Georgia, although one is unopposed for re-election.

Kecia Cunningham, who in 1999 became Georgia’s first African-American openly gay elected official, is unopposed in her bid for another four-year term on the Decatur City Commission.

Cunningham represents District 2, Post B, on the nonpartisan commission in the gay-popular Atlanta suburb. The official candidate qualifying period for November’s election began Aug. 29 and ended Sept. 2.