LGBTQ lawmaker boycotting ‘hateful’ Brian Kemp’s speech

Bisexual state Rep. Renitta Shannon said Brian Kemp ran a “campaign of hate” in the gubernatorial election, so she’s boycotting the Republican’s first major speech as governor-elect.

“Brian Kemp ran a campaign of hate against half of Georgia, targeting voters of color (of which the majority are black), immigrants, women and the LGBTQ community,” Shannon (top photo) said in a statement to the AJC. “I am sick and tired of conservatives across the country running hateful campaigns and then expecting everyone to go back to business as usual after campaign season.”

Shannon plans to boycott Kemp’s speech at the legislative biennial conference in Athens on Dec. 11. The gathering of Georgia legislators serves as orientation for new lawmakers and includes policy sessions on a number of topics for all members of the legislature.

She’ll be joined in the boycott of Kemp's speech by state Rep. Sandra Scott, a Democrat who is running to chair the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, according to the AJC.

Kemp has long vowed to sign a “religious freedom” bill into law. Kemp reiterated his stance after the election, saying he would support a bill that mirrors federal law. But LGBTQ activists said the bill he supports is still discriminatory and sets a dangerous precedent.

Supporters of the legislation said that it is “finally going to happen” now that Kemp will be governor.

Shannon — a Democrat from Decatur — won her second term in office in the November election. She came out as bisexual on the eve of National Coming Out Day in 2017 and marched in the Atlanta Pride parade days after the announcement.

With gay attorney Matthew Wilson’s win in a hotly contested seat in Brookhaven, that makes five openly LGBTQ members of the Georgia legislature — the most in state history.

Shannon’s full statement on the boycott is below, according to the AJC.

“Brian Kemp ran a campaign of hate against half of Georgia, targeting voters of color (of which the majority are black), immigrants, women and the LGBTQ community. I am sick and tired of conservatives across the country running hateful campaigns and then expecting everyone to go back to business as usual after campaign season. That’s some privilege - these hateful campaigns have impacts on the people targeted usually in the ways of violence, which we have seen skyrocket across the country. He told us who he was throughout his campaign taking gleeful pictures with well known white supremacists and doing all he could to suppress minority voting. I have no choice but to believe that he is who he campaigned as, and to act accordingly.”