Georgia House candidate compares transgender people to moose

A candidate for a state House district in West Cobb says transgender people demand "special rights" and shouldn't receive them whether they identify “as a man or a moose.”

Ginny Ehrhart made the comments to the Marietta Daily Journal while discussing Kennesaw State University removing pamphlets from campus that included gender-neutral pronouns and locations of single-stall and gender-neutral restrooms.

Ehrhart’s husband, state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, mocked the pamphlets in a House subcommittee hearing in May, calling the pronouns “fantasy language.” Campus newspaper the Sentinel reported that the school subsequently removed the documents from a website and campuses in Kennesaw and Marietta.

Ginny Ehrhart is running in District 36 to replace her retiring husband, the longest-serving Republican in the House and its most outspoken anti-LGBTQ member. She told the Marietta Daily Journal that students can find restrooms on their own and then criticized transgender people and compared them to animals.

The Republican candidate agreed that all citizens are indeed valuable and worthy of respect.

“This does not mean certain individuals are entitled to special favors, rights and accommodations because they’ve been identified as ‘victims’ by leftist ideologues. Whether a person identifies as a man or a moose, he does not have the right to demand special treatment from his neighbors,” Ginny Ehrhart said.

Jen Slipakoff, Ehrhart's Democratic opponent, blasted the comments. Slipakoff is an LGBTQ ally and has a transgender daughter.

“To me, that’s a dog whistle for comparing the LGBTQ community to animals, and frankly I won’t stand for that,” Slipakoff told Project Q Atlanta.

Slipakoff told the Marietta Daily Journal that the removal of the pamphlets was, “Earl Ehrhart’s continued and blatant overreach of power.”

“For someone that claims to be from the party of small government, he certainly seems to be elbow-deep in the administrative affairs of Kennesaw State University,” she said.

Slipakoff added that it doesn’t hurt anyone to have the information in the pamphlets out there, and that the emotional health of trans and non-binary students can improve with access to such facilities.

Ginny Ehrhart said that students don’t need a pamphlet to find a single-stall bathroom.

“This is college, not preschool,” she said. “These students are perfectly capable of locating an appropriate bathroom and do not need a ‘helicopter advocate’ labeling them as ‘emotionally unhealthy.”

Ehrhart and Slipakoff face off in the election on Nov. 6. Human Rights Campaign Atlanta hosts a canvassing event for Slipakoff on Saturday in Kennesaw.

Rep. Ehrhart helped gut an Atlanta non-discrimination ordinance in 2005 after the city imposed fines on the Druid Hills Golf Club for not granting spousal benefits to the partners of LGBTQ people. In 2012, he called the gay leader of a progressive group “a pansy.”

In 2015, he punished Delta Air Lines for opposing an anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom bill.” That same year, he said an art exhibit about AIDS in America was “sickening.”

The following year, he voted for an anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” bill that was vetoed by Gov. Nathan Deal, and in 2017, he mocked transgender students from the House floor.