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Georgia Equality makes early endorsements of gay candidates in state House races

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Georgia Equality has issued early endorsements for state Representatives Karla Drenner, Simone Bell and Keisha Waites as well as candidate Ken Britt. All are openly gay.

The state LGBT advocacy group has endorsed Bell and Drenner in their past elections. Britt, who is running in his first race, is a former board member of Georgia Equality. Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, said today no endorsement of gay State Rep. Rashad Taylor has been made. He is facing strong LGBT ally and incumbent Pat Gardner for re-election.

The announcement of the early endorsements was made at an LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party on Saturday held at the Democratic Party Headquarters. House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams attended the meeting to urge members and supporters to work hard this election season, especially before the July 31 primary, to ensure progressive candidates are elected.

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Longtime political activist ready for his own turn on the ballot

Ken Britt recently announced a bid for the Ga. General Assembly

For Ken Britt, the time is finally right.

“I have the ‘fire in the belly,’” Britt told GA Voice during a recent interview. “If you had asked me 10 years ago, I probably would have said I was content to stay on the sidelines.”

Britt, 63, recently announced his candidacy for the District 56 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives, currently held by Democrat and gay-rights ally Rep. Kathy Ashe. Ashe announced her retirement in mid-April after more than 20 years under the Gold Dome.

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U.S. House leadership appeals decision on federal recognition of gay marriage

DOMA lawsuit

In a ruling legal advocates said “spells doom” for the federal ban on recognizing gay marriage, a district court judge declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. But Republican leaders in the U.S. House have already announced their intent to appeal the decision.

The ruling, handed down Feb. 22 by Judge Jeffery White of the District Court for the Northern District of California, finds that DOMA violates the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution.

The case, Golinski v. United States Office of Personnel Management, involves Karen Golinski, who sued the Office of Personnel Management after she was denied access to family health benefits for her wife, Amy Cunninghis. The couple was married in California in 2008, before Proposition 8 ended gay marriage in the state.

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[Video] LGBT workplace protections bill tabled by Ga. House subcommittee

By a 3-2 vote on Tuesday, Georgia House Judiciary subcommittee tabled a bill that would provide workplace protections to all state employees, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers.

Voting against the bill were Reps. Stephen Allison (R-Blairsville), Billy Maddox (R-Zebulon) and Randy Nix (R-LaGrange). Voting to oppose the tabling of the bill were Reps. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) and Pam Stephenson (D-Decatur).

"Tabling it is not as not as bad as beating it. But tabling it means they killed it," said state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates) immediately following the hearing.  Last year, Drenner drafted House Bill 630, which included protection for gay and transgender state employees. The bill was introduced with 70 sponsors and co-sponsors, including 12 Republicans and one Independent. It would cover Georgia’s 174,000 state employees.

"It could come back, but that is unlikely," Drenner said.