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Gays, God, the GOP (and pot) in heated Ga. congressional race

Doug Collins and Martha Zoller

Outside the fairly safe bubble of Atlanta, gay people are often demonized and looked down on, especially by political candidates who want to show voters how conservative and godly they are. And this year is no exception.

State Rep. Doug Collins and conservative talk-show radio host Martha Zoller are in a fierce runoff race for the newly drawn 9th Congressional District in very conservative North Georgia. They face off again on Aug. 21 after neither gathered the 50 percent plus 1 vote needed to avoid the runoff in the July 31 primary.

Collins continues to peck at Zoller over a past statement she made that she supported civil unions. Zoller continues to deny this. Thanks to Peach Pundit, we are privy to a video the Collins campaign has put out hammering his belief that Zoller wants nothing more than all gay people to get married, which goes against God and nature, of course.

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Election reshapes gay caucus in Ga. legislature

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Three out of four openly gay incumbents in the Georgia General Assembly proved victorious in the July 31 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.

Rep. Karla Drenner, Georgia's first openly gay state legislator, was unopposed for reelection in House District 86.

Rep. Simone Bell, the first openly lesbian African-American state legislator in the nation, came out on top in the Democratic primary for State House District 58.

With 95.83 percent of precincts reporting, Bell had 58.84 percent of the vote, compared to 41.16 percent for Rep. Ralph Long, according to unofficial results from the Fulton County election office.

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Before you vote, check out LGBT endorsements

There are at least eight openly gay candidates running for seats in the Georgia General Assembly — four incumbents and five hopefuls.

Only Georgia’s first openly gay state legislator, state Rep. Karla Drenner, is unopposed, guaranteeing that there will be one out gay voice under the Gold Dome when the new legislative session starts in January.

The General Assembly’s three other openly gay incumbents — state Reps. Simone Bell, Rashad Taylor and Keisha Waites — all face opposition in the Democratic primary.

Thanks to redistricting, Bell and Taylor’s races are particularly hard, as they face fellow Democratic incumbents who have been supportive of LGBT issues. The decision is so difficult between Taylor and state Rep. Pat Gardner, a longtime LGBT ally, that gay political group Georgia Equality chose to sit the race out, believing that both would be equally strong on LGBT rights.

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Georgia Equality pushes members to vote with automated robocall

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The state's largest LGBT advocacy organization, Georgia Equality, has begun robocalling its LGBT supporters encouraging them to vote in the upcoming July 31 Georgia primary, the group said this week.

A robocall is a computerized autodialer that delivers a pre-recorded message, and is most commonly used in political campaigns.

“We're doing an aggressive get out the vote effort this year,” GE Executive Director Jeff Graham said this week. “On average less than 25 percent of registered voters vote in the primaries — yet a majority of legislative races are determined in the primaries because there is no challenger in the general election.”

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Gay vs. gay-friendly race turns ugly over alleged anti-gay flier

Reps. Rashad Taylor and Pat Gardner

State Rep. Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta), the only openly gay man in the Georgia General Assembly, claims homophobic tactics are being used by his opponents, including distributing what he called an anti-gay flier in predominantly African-American neighborhoods in southwest Atlanta.

The flier, provided to GA Voice by Taylor via email, reads: “The Real Rashad” with a photo of Taylor. Below the photo the flier 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].”

The statements come from articles published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Atlanta Progressive News.