Monday, December 26, 2005

Georgia activists & advocates prepare for new struggles in upcoming legislative session

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According to an article published by, LGBT activists and advocates are readying themselves for new struggles when the Georgia Legislature returns to session in January. Fresh on the mind of many is the anti-gay constitutional amendment and the gay lobby's effort to get rid of it. The amendment was overwhelmingly approved by Georgia voters in 2004. 2006's legislative session, however, brings with it new challenges and struggles, including legislation which would seek to bar gays from adopting and another which would discourage youth from joining gay-straight student organizations in schools. Georgia's gay lobby has found a chance for hope, though; many Georgia lawmakers are not willing to support the legislation and many will probably vote them down. The state has not even been able to find a sponsor for the legislation which would ban gay adoptions. Many activists and advocates are also concerned about the Governor's pick for the person who will lead the state's Division of Family and Children Services:
And gay advocates aren't encouraged by Gov. Sonny Perdue's recent appointment of Mary Dean Harvey to head the state's Division of Family and Children Services. When in a similar role in Nebraska, Harvey issued a directive barring foster children from being placed with homosexuals or unmarried couples. "We feel like the extreme conservative right feel like after the election last year, they have us on the run," Bowen said. "They'll continue to chip away at any rights gays and lesbians might have."
Activists also say that they will fight against new legislation which seeks to discourage youth from participating in gay-straight student organizations. Lawmakers have revived legislation which would require parental notification and permission for student participation in after-school clubs and programs (this has never been required before). Many activists have pointed out that parental permission was never an issue until the gay-straight student clubs began forming in Georgia schools. The Georgia gay lobby hopes that the Legislature will focus on more important issues this session - issues such as the economy, jobs, healthcare - but they are ready for a legislative battle if the need should arise. Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,