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Atlanta gay rabbi appointed to city Human Relations Commission

Congregation Bet Haverim’s Rabbi Josh Lesser has been appointed to the City of Atlanta’s Human Relations Commission.

A leading figure in the Atlanta LGBT community, Lesser has served as rabbi at Congregation Bet Haverim since 1999. He was appointed by District 2 City Councilmember Kwanza Hall.

“When Councilman Hall was looking for new members, I was approached by Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner,” says Lesser. “I have a long-standing connection with the city’s LGBT community and she thought I would be a good fit.”

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Jane Morrison sworn in as Fulton County State Court Judge


Jane Morrison was sworn in as Fulton County State Court Judge today, making her one of the first openly gay judges in Georgia and the Southeast.

Morrison's partner is Joan Garner, who was elected as the first openly gay Fulton County Commissioner in 2010.

Morrison was sworn in by Fulton County Probate Court Judge Pinkie Toomer. Witnessing the historic event, in addition to Garner, were Morrison's mother, father and two sisters, who live in Maine. Also attending the ceremony were several elected officials; Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Cynthia Wright, who is also an out lesbian; and many Atlanta LGBT activists.  

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Lesbian attorney sworn in as Sandy Springs Assistant Solicitor

Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner and partner Jane Morrison

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.”

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Joan Garner takes oath of office as first openly gay Fulton Co. Commissioner

Joan Garner, Fulton Co. Commission District 6

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.

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Election: A gay man in the Ga. General Assembly?

Tim Riley running for state senate

There will be at least four openly gay candidates on the Nov. 2 ballot, but only one faces opposition.

The Georgia General Assembly currently has two openly gay members: State Reps. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates) and Simone Bell (D-Atlanta). Both are unopposed on the Nov. 2 ballot.

The state legislature had never had an openly gay man as a member, but one candidate hopes to change that.

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Garner becomes first out Fulton commissioner

Lesbian Joan Garner celebrates election night victory

After winning the Aug. 10 runoff election to become the Fulton County District 6 Commissioner, Joan Garner said the experience was still “surreal.”

“I’m a bit tired. I can’t sleep,” Garner said the day after she defeated Keisha Waites 65 to 35 percent. “I’ve got to learn to turn it off.”

Garner placed second in the Democratic primary in July, then came from behind to easily win the August runoff. Her name will now appear on the November ballot, but because no Republican or independent candidate qualified, the Democratic runoff effectively decided the seat.

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Atlanta Eagle endorses Waites; denies her claim that Fulton opponent tried to tear down sign

Joan Garner and Keisha Waites

A large poster of Keisha Waites is tacked to the exterior wall of the Atlanta Eagle on Ponce de Leon Avenue, which a co-owner says is, yes, an endorsement for the Fulton County District 6 candidate.

Waites faces Joan Garner in today’s runoff. Garner and Waites are both lesbians, so whoever wins tonight will become the first openly gay person on the Fulton County Commission. Because no Republican or independent candidate qualified for the ballot, today’s Democratic runoff decides the seat.

Robby Kelley, co-owner of the Atlanta Eagle, says Waites helped fellow co-owner Richard Ramey with a legal issue involving his sister; Ramey felt indebted to her enough to allow her to put the enormous poster of herself on the bar. The poster has been up since Aug. 3.