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Three lesbian lawmakers return to Ga. General Assembly

Tonight's election means there will be three openly lesbian members of the Georgia General Assembly. State Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) easily won her reelection bid against Republican Earl Cooper, while Reps. Karla Drenner and Keisha Waites were unopposed on today's ballot.

With percent 91.67 percent reporting, Bell had 87.19 percent of the House District 58 vote, according to unofficial results from the Fulton County election office. She became the first openly lesbian African-American state lawmaker in the nation when she won a special election in 2009, and won a tough primary in June when she faced off against fellow incumbent Democrat Rep. Ralph Long thanks to GOP-led redistricting.

But tonight's election likely means the General Assembly will include no openly gay men when it convenes in January. In Athens, Tim Riley, a Democrat, lost his bid for State Senate District 47 to Republican Rep. Frank Ginn. With three out of four counties in the district reporting, Riley had 34.54 percent of the vote, compared to 65.46 percent for Ginn, according to unofficial results from the Georgia Secretary of State.

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Gay candidates on Nov. 6 ballot across Ga.

Three gay incumbents will be on the Nov. 6 ballot for the Georgia General Assembly, as well as two gay Democrats seeking spots in the state House and Senate. State Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta), who became the ...
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Election wrap-up: Gay winners and losers from Tuesday’s primary

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.

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Lesbian state Rep. Keisha Waites poised for reelection win

Keisha Waites running for office for a ninth time

State Rep. Keisha Waites, who is gay and seeking her first full term in the General Assembly, leads significantly in election returns for State House District 60.

With 78.57 percent of Fulton County precincts reporting, Waites has 62.94 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, compared to 11.24 percent for Latrenka Riley, 12.84 percent for William Fisher, 9.95 percent for Antonio Lewis, and 3.03 percent for Gary "Pee Wee" Davis, who died before Election Day.

These results from the Fulton County election office remain unofficial. When current tallies from the portion of Clayton County that is in Waites' district are also included, her tally stretches to over 66 percent.

Georgia Equality, Victory Fund and Stonewall Democrats endorsed Waites. She ran for public eight times before winning a special election to the Georgia House in February 2012.

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Georgia Equality announces endorsements for July 31 primary

Georgia Equality, the state's largest LGBT political group, today announced its slate of endorsements for the July 31 primary election. Early voting is already underway and runs through July 27.

Georgia Equality's picks include three openly gay incumbent state lawmakers: Reps. Karla Drenner, Simone Bell and Keisha Waites, and one openly gay candidate, Ken Britt.

Georgia Equality chose not to endorse in the hotly contested race involving the state legislature's fourth openly gay member, Rep. Rashad Taylor, who thanks to Republican-controlled redistricting is pitted for reelection against fellow Democrat Rep. Pat Gardner, a longtime LGBT rights ally.

Georgia Equality also chose to endorse incumbent gay rights ally Rep. Margaret Kaiser over openly gay challenger William Phelps in that Democratic primary race.

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[Video] Gay Ga. State Rep. Simone Bell outlines her new district and what it will take to win

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Ga. State Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta), the first openly lesbian African-American state legislator in the country, faces a major challenge in her re-election bid. But it isn’t her opponent, it’s her new district, Bell told the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Georgia on May 12.

Republicans control the Georgia General Assembly, and thus controlled redistricting in the wake of the 2010 U.S. Census. Bell was one of several Democratic lawmakers drawn into a district with another incumbent.

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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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Surprise — Ga. Republicans block gay-friendly House resolution

Newly elected lesbian state Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) has been keeping herself busy in the Republican-controlled General Assembly since taking office last month by introducing resolutions to recognize friends and supporters over the years. 

However, one resolution specifically wanting to recognize the Young Democrats at UGA as well as the university's gay-rights group Lambda Alliance and Ally Outreach was voted down — but not because it was pro-gay but rather because it was pro-Democrat, according to a Tuesday story by the Associated Press.

"Ceremonial resolutions are typically approved unanimously without debate. But this time, House Majority Leader Larry O'Neal, a Republican, successfully pressed to get the Democratic resolution removed from the pile. It was then rejected in a lopsided 32-104 vote," the AP reported.

"It's a political resolution that looks like the entire House is commending a particular political candidate and political philosophy," O'Neal told the AP. "We've got an election season coming up and I didn't want the other side running around with a resolution adopted by the entire House — Republicans and Democrats and independents — saying that we're commending and supporting Barack Obama, for instance, for president."

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Keisha Waites sworn in as fourth openly gay Ga. state legislator

Keisha Waites took the oath of office Feb. 13 to become the state representative for District 60. The ceremony took place at the Georgia State Capitol with Fulton County Superior Court Judge Doris Downs swearing her in.

Standing with Waites as she took the oath of office were her mother, Christine Harden, and her nephew, Elias Muhammad, 8, who held the Bible.

Waites, a Democrat, became emotional while being sworn in and after taking her oath thanked a host of friends, family and supporters who have backed her for more than a decade.