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Romney takes another step toward GOP nomination with Fla. win

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Shrugging off a bitter defeat in South Carolina just 10 days earlier, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney finished some 15 percentage points ahead of second place contender Newt Gingrich to claim victory in yesterday's Florida GOP presidential primary.

Republican voters in Florida overwhelmingly believe that Romney stands the best chance of defeating President Barack Obama in the November general election. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich finished with 31.9 percent, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Minn.) was third with 13.4 percent and Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tx.) rounded out the field with 7 percent of the total votes cast, according to the Associated Press.

Romney's march to the August GOP convention in Tampa was surely strengthened by his strong showing in Florida, one of the country's most important general election swing states.

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President Obama calls ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal ‘historic step’

Over the weekend, President Barack Obama responded to the Senate’s passage of a stand-alone repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prohibits gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

The Senate passed repeal 65 to 31 on Saturday. The House passed an identical measure last week 250 to 175.

The bill will now make its way to the president to be signed into law.

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Savannah council approves domestic partner benefits

The Savannah City Council unanimously passed a vote today to authorize the city manager to implement a domestic partner program for city employees.

The vote was approved unanimously by the nine-member council.

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Log Cabin, GOProud blame Sen. Reid for DADT failure

Two national gay GOP groups, Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud, both blamed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) for today’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” failure.

The Senate voted today on whether to move forward with the 2011 Defense Authorization bill which included language that would have allowed President Barack Obama to repeal DADT after the completion of a Pentagon study on the military’s gay ban.

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Defense Authorization cloture vote fails in Senate, stalling ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal

The Senate Tuesday afternoon rejected a motion to break a Republican-led filibuster against an annual defense spending bill that includes language aimed at ending the military’s "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" law banning out gays. The vote was 56 to 43.

The vote was uncertain all the way up to the vote, started at 2:30 eastern time, as Democratic leaders were reportedly trying to negotiate an agreement with one or two senators to reach the 60 votes they needed to proceed. But Republicans stood united in their contention that a procedural restriction placed on consideration of the annual defense spending bill was politically motivated to win the votes of LGBT people and Latinos for the mid-term elections in November.

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Gay issues discussed as Handel, Deal square off in televised debate

The two remaining Republican gubernatorial candidates met for a televised debate last night on Fox 5 Atlanta. Moderated by Russ Spencer, the debate covered a wide range of issues, including the anti-gay tone of the primary campaigns.

During the general primary, Deal released one of the most anti-gay commercials of the race that claimed Handel supported gay adoptions and domestic partner benefits. Handel spent a large portion of the early campaign denying her alleged support of gay issues as well as her involvement with gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans.

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Results in other primary races of LGBT interest

• 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.

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GA Voice Primary Election Guide

This year, Georgia elects a new governor, every state constitutional office, and every seat in the state legislature, plus many other offices ranging from U.S. Senate to county commissions.

The upcoming July 20 primaries will determine which Republicans and Democrats will battle it out in the Nov. 2 general election. A few November races also include a Libertarian or independent candidate as well.

The primary ballot includes three openly gay candidates: Joan Garner and Keisha Waites for Fulton County Commission District 6, and Keith Gross for State House District 80.

And while few candidates for the state’s top offices have openly campaigned for LGBT votes, many have long records — some positive, more negative — on issues that impact our community.

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Primary day

Before you vote in today's primary, take a look at our profiles of the candidates and their stands on LGBT issues

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Best of Atlanta: Community

After two months of online balloting and more than 20,000 votes cast, we present the best of the best — our inaugural Best of Atlanta winners.

It all started back at the beginning of May, when we asked you, our readers, to nominate your favorites for dozens of awards in the categories of Community, People, Nightlife, Dining, Retail, Pet Services, Internet, and Outside Atlanta.

The top three finalists — or more, in the case of a tie — in each category made it through to the next round of voting. For the month of June, a multiple-choice ballot asked you to pick among the finalists for who really represents the finest in LGBT Georgia.

Thanks to everyone who voted, and congratulations to all of the worthy winners and runners up.