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[Updated] Ga. Democrats to take on anti-gay discrimination in state funding for private schools

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Democrats in the Georgia General Assembly rolled out their legislative agenda for 2013 today which includes a bill “to prevent student scholarship organizations from funding private schools that discriminate against Georgia’s children.”

Dubbed the Anti-Discrimination Act, the bill is sponsored by Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) and Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens), according to Emily Oh, spokesperson for the House Democratic Caucus.

Bell is the first openly lesbian African-American state lawmaker in the country.

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State Rep. Rashad Taylor alleges homophobic tactics in campaign

Rashad Taylor and Pat Gerdner

State Rep. Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta), the only openly gay man in the Georgia legislature, is alleging homophobic tactics are being used by his opponents, including distributing what he calls an anti-gay flyer in black neighborhoods in southwest Atlanta.

The flyer, provided to GA Voice via email, states: "The Real Rashad" with a photo of Taylor. Below the photo the flyer states: "The only openly gay male in the Georgia General Assembly [AJC 5/27/11]; Accused of using his position in the Legislature to solicit sexual relationships [AJC, 5/27/11]; Former roommates with Khaatim El [APN, 1/20/11]; Possibly lived with a male lover on Moreland Ave [APN, 6/11/12]."

Taylor is set to hold a press conference on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at the Washington Street side of the State Capitol to discuss the issue. He denied living with a male lover on Moreland and said he lived with El when he was 22 and a Morehouse College student.

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National gay rights organization HRC endorses Ken Britt for Ga. legislature

The nation's largest LGBT organization the Human Rights Campaign is jumping into the Georgia political scene by endorsing Ken Britt for House Seat District 56.

“HRC enthusiastically endorses Ken Britt for Georgia House District 56,” said HRC President Joe  Solmonese in a prepared statement.

“Ken has a lengthy record of community service and political activism, as well as the experience gained during more than 30 years in executive-level law firm administration. Serving in the Georgia House of Representatives will allow him to continue his work on important issues like equality, economic development and access to quality affordable health care.”

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Atlanta LGBT Civil Rights March participants urged to play role in upcoming elections

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Approximately 50 people marched from Woodruff Park to the state Capitol on Saturday, April 21, as part of the 2012 Worldwide LGBT Civil Rights March that was to take place in cities across the country and world, according to organizers.

At a rally at the state Capitol following the march, numerous people spoke about the challenges lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face in Georgia and around the world in their fight for full equality.

But they also urged people to be committed and dedicated to achieving equality because the opposition works every day to plant obstacles, target gay-friendly politicians and strategize politically to bring the LGBT movement to a standstill.

One way to show the commitment is to work for candidates who believe in LGBT equality and vote on July 31 in the primary for state and local elected officials.

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Ga. LGBT job bill looks to be revived next year under Gold Dome

A bill that would prohibit state employees from being fired because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender never got out of a Judiciary Committee subcommittee this year in the Georgia legislature, but plans are to continue garnering support to have it passed in a future session.

When the State Fair Employment Practices Act, HB 630, was first introduced at the end of last year's session by state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Atlanta), activists planned for the bill to take perhaps several sessions before it would get passed, said Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham.

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Anti-gay Georgians ramping up against state employment non-discrimination bill

Georgia Equality is in the midst of a $15,000 fundraising campaign, hoping to reach the goal by Monday when the first day of the legislative session opens. And it needs the money to fend off nasty attacks being put out opposing an employment non-discrimination bill introduced late last session.

In an email to supporters, Georgia Equality points to a May newsletter of GeorgiaInsight.org to explain, "this is what we are up against" when it lobbies this year in favor of House Bill 630, an employment non-discrimination bill that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

The anti-gay newsletter states in part, "H.B. 630 gives civil rights protection to pedophiles, peeping toms, cross-dressers, flashers and those practicing bestiality or necrophilia (sex with corpse). The American Psychiatric Association (APA) lists these and other acts as deviant and abnormal sexual behaviors. They are chargeable offenses under Georgia law, as well."

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State Rep. Karla Drenner to be honored by Georgia Equality

Georgia Equality will honor State Rep. Karla Drenner among others at its 7th Annual Evening for Equality on June 23.

Drenner, a Democrat from Avondale Estates, will be awarded the Champions for Equality Award for her leadership in the General Assembly as the first openly gay person elected to the legislature. Drenner is serving her sixth term and this year introduced the State Fair Employment Practices Act that would ban job bias against state employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Georgia Equality will also honor Bill Nigut, the Southeast Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, with the Phillip Rush Community Builder Award.

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Georgia Equality announces endorsements in upcoming election

Georgia Equality announced today some of its endorsements in the Nov. 2 election, saying it would make more endorsements in the near future.

“The endorsed candidates below have demonstrated their support of the LGBT community and they need your support now,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, in a press release about the endorsements.