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Gay vs. gay-friendly races shape up for Ga. House

Rashad Taylor and Pat Gerdner

State Reps. Rashad Taylor and Pat Gardner face off in the Democratic primary for the newly redrawn District 57 — and the results are likely to be painful to LGBT voters.

Political districts are redrawn every decade to reflect population changes. Republicans control the Georgia legislature, and thus controlled redistricting after the 2010 Census.

The entire General Assembly is up for election this year, and two of Georgia’s four openly gay state lawmakers were drawn into districts pitting two Democratic incumbents against each other.

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Gay candidates Britt, Taylor receive endorsements in Ga. House races

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Kathy Ashe, who decided not to seek reelection for Ga. House District 56, today announced her endorsement of gay political advocate Ken Britt to fill that post.

"I wholeheartedly support Ken Britt as the next Representative of the 56th District,” said Ashe in a prepared statement.

“Ken has a passion for community service, the business acumen and experience, and an impressive track record of leadership on progressive community and political issues. I cannot think of another individual better suited to this role, and I would be reassured and proud to know that my constituents, old and new, would have Ken championing their interests in the Georgia Legislature."

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Ga. General Assembly adjourns with LGBT bills pending

Ga. State Rep. Rashad Taylor

The Georgia General Assembly ended its annual 40-day session March 29, leaving two LGBT bills on the table.

State Rep. Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta), who is gay, introduced a hate crime bill on the last day of the session.

Taylor announced he would introduce the bill back in February, while speaking at a rally to protest the beating of Brandon White by gang members in southwest Atlanta 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.

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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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Election results: Keisha Waites to become fourth openly gay Ga. state legislator

The ninth time was the charm for Keisha Waites, a lesbian candidate who appears to have won today's special election for State House District 60.

With 99 percent of percents reporting, unofficial election results from the Georgia Secretary of State's office showed Waites with 54.2 percent of the vote, or 321 votes, compared to 18.6 percent (110 votes) for Theresa Middlebrooks and 27.2 percent (161 votes) for Latrenka Riley.

The campaign was Waites' ninth bid for public office. She has previously sought seats in the Georgia House, Georgia Senate, the Fulton County Commission and the Atlanta City Council.

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Our top 5 videos of the year

Ga. Rep. Rashad Taylor: I'm a gay man

2011 was a busy year for LGBT coverage in Atlanta. We were on-hand, and filmed, press conferences, protests, parades, concerts and drag shows. Here are our choices for the top 5 videos of 2011:

LGBT activists rally for immigration reform

Early this year, the Georgia Legislature was putting the final touches on the state's new immigration legislation, modeled after the controversial Arizona law of national fame.

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Top 10 Ga. LGBT stories of 2011: Hope, heartache and headlines

Georgia LGBT stories of the year

2011 brought several milestones likely to impact LGBT Georgians for years to come. Some are worth celebrating, like Vandy Beth Glenn’s win over transgender discrimination in the Georgia General Assembly, and the first openly gay man to serve in the state legislature.

Others, like the state’s lackluster response to HIV and Shorter College’s anti-gay staff policy, made us shake our heads and wonder how long it will be before LGBT equality comes to the Deep South.

The year also proved pivotal for several well-known local LGBT organizations and businesses — including Outwrite Bookstore, Positive Impact, MEGA Family Project and the Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative — that announced major changes this year.

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Two out of three openly gay reps may face incumbent opponents

Redistricting maps created by Republican leaders in the Georgia House could leave two of the state’s three openly gay state lawmakers facing tough battles against fellow incumbents for re-election next year.

“Republican maps are forcing two of the three gay representatives (and the only two African-American LGBT representatives in the nation) into competition with fellow incumbent Democrats, resulting in the potential reduction of gay representation in the House,” Democratic Caucus leaders argued in talking points distributed to help build opposition to the proposal.

The Georgia General Assembly began meeting Aug. 15 in a special session to approve the maps, which were released Aug. 12. Redistricting takes place every 10 years after the release of results from the U.S. Census.

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[Updated] Proposed Ga. redistricting maps pit gay state representatives against gay rights allies

The Georgia General Assembly will meet in a special legislative session to begin Monday to discuss redistricting, among other topics, and two of the state's three openly gay legislators may be in the crosshairs.

Already a proposed legislative map is being discussed in public. State Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), the House Minority Leader, has accused the Republican-controlled legislature of pitting black Democratic state House representatives against white Democrats. Abrams, who is black, said Republican lawmakers are "purging the state of Georgia of white Democrats," a charge GOP leaders deny. The full map will be released Friday.