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|Election: Gay-friendly GOP legislators opposed for Ga. House|
|by Matt Schafer|
|October 29, 2010 00:00|
Hope springs eternal for the Democratic Party of Georgia as it tries to dislodge two long-time Republicans from seats they’ve held on the northwestern side of DeKalb County.
Democrats have invested in campaigns against Reps. Mike Jacobs (R-Atlanta) and Jill Chambers (R-Atlanta) in hopes of chipping away at the Republican majority in the Georgia House of Representatives.
Chambers seeks to retain District 81 against newcomer Elena Parent. Chambers has faced Democratic challengers in the past several elections and has beaten them all handily. District 81 has been trending Democratic for a number of years, however, said Don Weigel of the House Democratic Caucus, which has thrown its support behind Parent.
“We have really been focusing on getting her all the resources that she needs to be successful and she has been very good at getting all of those resources on the ground,” he said.
After accusing opponent Karen Handel of supporting gay adoption, GOP gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal has heightened concerns from gay political groups that he could make a push to prevent same-sex couples from adopting. Chambers was the only Republican to vote against the 2004 state constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage in Georgia, and promised similar opposition to an effort to ban gay adoption.
“That wouldn’t put me in a difficult spot at all,” Chambers said. “I think anyone who wants to provide a loving home to a child in need they should be able to…. I don’t really see the need to have that debate.”
Parent said being a Democrat she could be a stronger voice of dissent against an anti-gay adoption bill.
“I would be firmly against any legislation that would restrict efforts to restrict gay adoption,” Parent said. She went on to explain that she is part of a new class of young Democrats who work together and have similar beliefs.
“[Chambers] would have to seek some sort of pass or exemption, and all she could do at best is vote against and I could be a strong voice against it,” Parent said.
Chambers has been endorsed by the Log Cabin Republicans while Parent has been endorsed by the Atlanta Stonewall Democrats.
Several Democratic lawmakers attempted to pass a bill to tighten Georgia’s anti-bullying law this year, but Jacobs, who switched parties in 2007, is largely credited with moving the bill forward. Georgia Equality, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, has endorsed Jacobs. The Log Cabin Republicans have also endorsed Jacobs.
“He’s proven himself to be very effective at being able to push legislation that is important to us and he also has not been afraid to speak out on issues that are important to the LGBT community,” said Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham.
Jacobs said he’s felt no reprisals from fellow Republicans for taking pro-gay stances and would fight any anti-gay legislation.
“My job as a legislator is to stand in the way of any legislation that would do something like restrict gay adoption,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs is running against Sandy Murray, a businesswoman who is making her first foray into politics. Murray is endorsed by the Stonewall Democrats.
“I have gotten a very warm reception from many, many people in [the gay] community, people like Jerry Gonzalez [the openly gay executive director of Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials] … they really are rooting for me,” Murray said.
“I know that Mike was helpful with the bullying bill, he helped get it out of the Judiciary Committee and out on the floor and he’s taken a lot of credit for it. Good for him, but he wouldn’t have gotten it passed if it wasn’t for the Democrats.”
Top photo (from left): Mike Jacobs (via Facebook), Jill Chambers (via Myspace), Elena Parent (via elenaparent.com), Sandy Murray (via Facebook)
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