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|Surprise — Ga. Republicans block gay-friendly House resolution|
|Written by Dyana Bagby|
|Tuesday, 13 March 2012 00:43|
Newly elected lesbian state Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) has been keeping herself busy in the Republican-controlled General Assembly since taking office last month by introducing resolutions to recognize friends and supporters over the years.
However, one resolution specifically wanting to recognize the Young Democrats at UGA as well as the university's gay-rights group Lambda Alliance and Ally Outreach was voted down — but not because it was pro-gay but rather because it was pro-Democrat, according to a Tuesday story by the Associated Press.
"Ceremonial resolutions are typically approved unanimously without debate. But this time, House Majority Leader Larry O'Neal, a Republican, successfully pressed to get the Democratic resolution removed from the pile. It was then rejected in a lopsided 32-104 vote," the AP reported.
"It's a political resolution that looks like the entire House is commending a particular political candidate and political philosophy," O'Neal told the AP. "We've got an election season coming up and I didn't want the other side running around with a resolution adopted by the entire House — Republicans and Democrats and independents — saying that we're commending and supporting Barack Obama, for instance, for president."
WHEREAS, the Lambda Alliance at the University of Georgia is an influential voice in the university community that works with administration, faculty, and other student organizations to ensure that the concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students are represented; and
WHEREAS, Lambda has participated in state and national events, including the Atlanta Pride March, the Atlanta AIDS Walk, and the Millennium March on Washington; and
WHEREAS, Lambda sponsors a variety of programs throughout the year to educate the university community about LGBT issues, including Diversity Awareness Week, the annual National Coming Out Day, and the semi-annual drag show; and
WHEREAS, the Ally Outreach began in 2008 from a campaign started by Lambda Alliance to reach out to allies of the LGBT community; and
WHEREAS, Ally Outreach is a gay rights-centered advocacy group that aims to increase acceptance of the LGBT community on the UGA campus by facilitating and calling for allies to accept, advocate, and act
Waites did get a resolution passed for her longtime supporter and friend Matthew Cardinale, the openly gay founder and editor of Atlanta Progressive News, for his victory in a lawsuit that went all the way to the state Supreme Court. Representing himself, Cardinale successfully argued the city of Atlanta violated the state's open meetings law by taking a secret vote during a retreat.
Waites, who sought public office eight times before winning this seat in a special election, has to run again in November.
It goes without saying that Georgia is not filled with LGBT-friendly legislators although there are four openly gay legislators in the House — state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta), Rep. Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta) and Waites, elected this year in a special election in her ninth bid for public office.
A bill that would prohibit discriminating against LGBT state employees included testimony last month from the state director of the very anti-gay group Concerned Women For American, who compared gay people to pedophiles and necrophiliacs. It appears this bill is dead for the year but there will be a chance for sponsor Drenner to reintroduce it next year.
Vandy Beth Glenn, a legislative editor for the Georgia General Assembly, was fired some four years ago after she informed her boss she planned to transition from male to female on the job. She sued the state and won her historical suit in December and is back on the job.
And gubernatorial candidates in this past election were not afraid to try to outgun each other as being the bigoted in one of the most anti-gay campaigns in the state's history.
And don't forget voters overwhelming approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2004, despite the state already have a law against same-sex marriage in place.
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