Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Openly gay candidates run for progressively liberal Atlanta city council

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From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Gays a force in council races Orientation not big issue, candidates say By ERNIE SUGGS The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 10/26/05 In a strongly worded letter to Georgia Equality criticizing the group's recent political endorsements, Keisha Sean Waites called the state's largest and most influential gay rights organization "defunct, impotent and ineffective." "The endorsement of Mr. Boazman is an insult to the [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community and every person, business, and corporation that has contributed financially to Georgia Equality," said Waites, who is running for the District 12 seat against Derrick Boazman. Waites, who is gay, is one of five openly gay candidates seeking a seat on the Atlanta City Council. In Atlanta, where the gay community continues to grow, the 2005 election could be a watershed event in city politics. Which is why an endorsement or non-endorsement from Georgia Equality can elicit such emotion. "I don't think it is anything odd, but a positive signal that we are being more recognized in our community and in our ability to lead," said Chuck Bowen, executive director of Georgia Equality. "Ten years ago, there were no openly out elected officials." In 1997, Cathy Woolard, who was elected to the Atlanta City Council in District 6, became Georgia's first openly gay elected official. State Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates); Decatur City Commissioner Kecia Cunningham, Georgia's only openly gay black elected official; and East Point Councilman Lance Rhodes soon followed. In 2001, when Woolard ran for City Council president, Anne Fauver, a gay woman, was elected to replace Woolard in District 6. Fauver, who is seeking re-election, said the recent increase in gay candidates and politicians is similar to the path taken by blacks and women seeking a place at the political table. "Gays are another minority that has emerged on the political scene," said Fauver. I think that metro Atlanta has gotten more liberal, plus the fact that you just have the emergence of another minority." To read the full article CLICK HERE