Despite concerns that new Gov. Nathan Deal might support legislation that would negatively affect LGBT Georgians, no specifically gay bills — positive or negative — have been filed since the legislature convened Jan. 10.
“There has been a lot of controversy in the Senate as usual, and the immigration stuff has started off with a bang,” said state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), who is the senior openly gay state legislator. “I don’t know how many bills they’re up to now, 15 maybe. Then of course the budget hearings, and so the shortfalls are coming to light, and the tax bills.”
Deal has released his budget, which does not include any cuts to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which helps low income HIV-positive individuals and those with no insurance afford their medications.
• State Senate District 39: Incumbent Sen. Vincent Fort, one of the most outspoken LGBT rights advocates in the General Assembly, faced a challenge in the Democratic primary from Graham Balch, who also sought gay votes. According to unofficial results from the Secretary of State website, Fort garnered 6,881 votes, or 67.7 percent of the vote, compared to 3,284 votes, or 32.3 percent for Balch.
Fort’s campaign included 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.
In other races closely watched by LGBT voters today, a gay candidate fell short in the Democratic primary for State House District 80 and Sen. Vincent Fort cruised to reelection in State Senate District 39.
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.
Supporters host 'LGBTQ and Allies Reception' tonight