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Two hearings on pro-gay bills cited as progress for conservative Gold Dome

Karla Drenner

As the Georgia General Assembly adjourned its annual 40-day session, the only specifically LGBT bill to pass this year was a resolution honoring the Atlanta Freedom Bands — and even that caused controversy.

Introduced by state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), one of three openly gay members of the General Assembly, the resolution was similar to those routinely passed every day to honor an organization or individual, with one exception.

“This bill had LGBT in there … I thought it was really innocuous,” Drenner said. “I worked on it to make it palatable for everybody and I removed everything that could be deemed to be inflammatory except LGBT.”

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Atlanta LGBT immigration advocates fight copycat Arizona bills

Approximately 30 activists gathered at the Phillip Rush Center March 3 to discuss ways the LGBT and queer communities can come together to fight Arizona copycat anti-immigration legislation in Georgia.

On March 3, the state House passed HB 87, also known as the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011. The vote was 113-56 in a mostly party line vote in the Republican-controlled House. The bill now goes to the Senate.

“Like the groundbreaking law Arizona enacted last year, HB 87 would authorize state and local police to verify the immigration status of certain suspects. A federal judge halted a similar provision in Arizona last year after the Obama administration argued it is pre-empted by federal law. Arizona is appealing that judge’s decision,” reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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[Video] Hawaii governor signs civil union law

Yesterday, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law a bill legalizing civil unions for the state's same-sex couples. In doing so, Hawaii became the seventh state to enact civil union legislation for same-sex couples.

Hawaii's state Senate voted to pass the legislation by a 19 to 6 margin, while the House voted 31 to 19.

According to Hawaiian ABC affiliate KITV, the law will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, though equality advocates in the state are already celebrating.