Three out of four openly gay incumbents in the Georgia General Assembly proved victorious in Tuesday's primary, while gay challengers in contested races were less successful. A lesbian attorney also won a seat on the Fulton County State Court in the July 31 vote.
With over 75 percent of precincts reporting, attorney Jane Morrison is leading in her bid for a seat on the Fulton County State Court, which would make her one of the first openly gay judges in Georgia and the Southeast.
Morrison currently has 60.64 percent of the vote compared to 39.1 percent for opponent Melynee Leftridge in this nonpartisan race, according to unofficial results from the Fulton County elections office.
The two are competing for the seat left open when Judge Brenda Cole retired after serving 14 years on the bench. State court handles misdemeanor criminal cases such as DUI and civil cases including contract cases and personal injury cases.
Morrison, whose partner is Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner, graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 1994.
Morrison moved to Atlanta nearly two decades ago and has practiced in Georgia for 18 years. She was one of the founders of the Stonewall Bar Association. In 1996, she helped organize the organization's first annual dinner, an event that continues to attract high-profile attorneys and judges from across the state.
A gay Atlanta voter filed an ethics complaint against Fulton Magistrate Judge Melynee Leftridge on Wednesday accusing Leftridge of an “apparent elaborate scheme to funnel some $18,500 to a company responsible for maintaining a website www.pirouettesexy.com” that features “pictures of scantly clad women.”
But Leftridge counters that the company she paid — Pirouette Companies — provides legitimate campaign services, and notes it has also been used by several other candidates, including openly gay State Rep. Simone Bell.
Leftridge faces openly gay attorney Jane Morrison in a non-partisan race for an open Fulton County State Court seat to be decided in the primary just five days away. Morrison could not immediately be reached for comment on the complaint against her opponent.
Attorney Jane Morrison hopes to become one of the first openly gay judges in Georgia
Jane Morrison, lesbian attorney and partner of Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner, the first openly gay person elected to the commission, was sworn in before the Thanksgiving holiday as Sandy Springs Assistant Solicitor.
From the Sandy Springs press release:
“Jane brings a wealth of experience to the Solicitor’s Office,” said Sandy Springs Municipal Court Chief Solicitor Bill Riley. ”Jane has worked with me since she was a prosecutor under the 3rd Year Practice Act in the Fulton County D.A.’s office under Lewis Slate. Her career not only includes prosecution skills, but Jane also served as a judge in the criminal courts of Fulton County. That experience adds a unique perspective to our solicitor office.”
It was an historic day today as Joan Garner, the first openly gay person elected to the Fulton County Commission, took her oath of office and officially began work as a member of the governing board.
At her side as she was sworn in was her partner of 11 years, attorney Jane Morrison.Garner also had a cheering section in the room who clapped as she entered the room with the other Fulton County Commissioners who were also sworn in today as part of the inauguration ceremony.
Garner was sworn in by her friend, Cynthia D. Wright, Chief Judge of the Superior Court of Fulton County.