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Election: Battle for LGBT votes in State Senate District 39

Graham Balch and Vincent Fort face-off in primary

In the race for State Senate District 39, Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) won endorsement from LGBT political groups Georgia Equality and Atlanta Stonewall Democrats.

But high school teacher Graham Balch continues to campaign for gay votes as the two men head for a showdown in the July 20 Democratic primary which, since no Republican is running, will decide who holds the seat.

Fort’s campaign includes an LGBT Initiative chaired by state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), who was Georgia’s first openly gay state lawmaker and is running unopposed for her sixth term, and longtime community activist Craig Washington.

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U.S. House, Senate committee vote to repeal DADT

Ga. Rep. John Lewis voted to repeal DADT

Efforts to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy gained significant momentum May 27 when both the U.S. House and the Senate Armed Services Committee passed amendments to repeal the ban.

“Just like the military helped end segregation based on race, we should have put an end to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ long ago. It is an affront to human dignity and to the dignity and the worth of every man and woman serving in our military,” U.S. Rep. John Lewis said during debate on the House floor.

“We cannot wait. We cannot be patient,” Lewis said. “We must end discrimination in the military, and we must end it now. Discrimination is wrong, and we must end it now.”

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Stories from the Frontlines: A mother in the closet

“Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama” is a new media campaign launched to build momentum at this critical point in the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, in coalition with GA Voice, will share a letter from a service member every day as we approach the markup of the Defense Authorization bill in the Senate and House Armed Services Committees. We’re urging the President to include repeal in the Administration’s defense budget recommendations, but also to voice his support as we work to muster the 15 critical votes needed on the Senate Armed Services Committee to include repeal. The Defense Authorization bill represents the best legislative vehicle to bringing repeal to the president’s desk. It also was the same vehicle used to pass DADT in 1993. By working together, we can help build momentum to get the votes! We ask that you forward and post these personal stories. For more information, please visit the campaign website: www.sldn.org/letters