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Delaware becomes 11th state with marriage equality

Just minutes before the Delaware Senate was set to vote on its marriage equality bill, a Democrat senator who had been quiet about how she would vote announced on her Facebook page that she would vote yes. The announcement by Senator Bethany Hall-Long, who represents Dover, the state capital, came just minutes after the city’s other Democratic senator, Karen Peterson, came out as gay on the floor during debate.

The final roll call vote, after three hours of debate, was 12 to 9, with the gallery erupting into loud and prolonged applause. The twelve supporters included one Republican; the nine opponents included two Democrats.

Just minutes later, Democratic Governor Jack Markell signed the bill, making Delaware the eleventh state plus the District of Columbia to provide for equal protection under its marriage laws.     Meanwhile, a Minnesota House Ways and Means Committee gave the marriage equality bill there a green light Monday, and the House floor is scheduled to vote on the measure Thursday (May 9). Democratic Governor Mark Dayton is lobbying actively for the measure.

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LGBT inclusive hate crimes bill introduced on last day of Ga. legislative session

It was Sine Die at the Gold Dome on Thursday and the day that Rep. Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta) introduced a hate crimes bill in the House.

Taylor announced at a rally in February he would introduce the bill following the beating of a gay man. Brandon White, in southwest Atlanta by gang members who repeatedly called him "faggot." A video of the beating went viral and made national headlines. Four men have been charged in the beating and a federal investigation continues to determine if the attack is a hate crime.

Taylor said today he was hoping to get Republican sponsors to sign on to the bill that includes sexual orientation and gender identity before introducing it, but because it was an election year several supportive Republicans wanted to wait until January to sign on. Georgia is one of five states that does not have its own hate crimes law.

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Gay and Latino in Georgia

Georgia latinos work against new immigration law

Emir Palacios is 17, a senior at Lithia Springs High School and hopes to go to college to study criminal justice or fashion design or maybe become a Spanish teacher.

He is also gay and moved with his family to the U.S. in 1997 from Acapulco, Guerrero Mexico, when Palacios was three. The family first moved to California then to Atlanta to find work.

Palacios and his family are among those affected by HB 87, Georgia’s new law set to go into effect July 1 and titled the “Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011.”

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Kathleen Womack named to State Bar of Georgia’s board of governors

Kathleen WomackKathleen Womack, past president of the Stonewall Bar Association and former chair of Georgia Equality’s board of directors, has been appointed to the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Georgia.

The Board of Governors is a 160-member body that sets the policies of the State Bar.

Womack was appointed to the post by State Bar President-elect Robin Frazer Clark, according to a press release from the State Bar of Georgia.

Womack, who is openly gay, made an unsuccessful bid for Sandy Springs City Council in 2005 in the city’s first election after it incorporated. She was endorsed in this campaign by Georgia Equality and the national Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and also endorsed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.