Category:  Politics

State senator wants strip club surcharge

You'll be ponying up an extra $5 to step into Swinging Richards if Jack Murphy has his way.

The state senator, a Republican from Cummings, wants to charge strip club patrons $5 to go inside a club. He wants the money to help pay for services for sexually exploited children.

There's more after the jump.    READ MORE »

Gay candidates heat up District 6 race

imageCharlie Stadtlander had last week to himself as he announced his campaign to unseat Anne Fauver from her District 6 post on the Atlanta City Council.

But Fauver (photo), a lesbian and two-term incumbent, came out swinging in a Southern Voice article today about the race, charging that her gay opponent "may not understand" the city's budget process after hearing the charges he leveled at her during his Jan. 7 campaign launch.

Also of note in the Southern Voice article is that Fauver has flip-flopped when it comes to bar hours in the city.

There's more after the jump.    READ MORE »

Gay activists focus on legislative session

imageGird your loins. The Georgia General Assembly returned to the State Capitol today.

This bastion of leadership -- the same folks that bring us legislation including Amendment 1, which banned same-sex unions in the state for the second time -- is back in session.

Let's hope a projected $2 billion budget deficit will keep the Republican-controlled building away from the social issues it tends to favor. It's not an election year, so lawmakers might not be so inclined to show off for their conservative constituents.

But there is already jockeying among anti-gay elected officials on the GOP side of the 2010 governor's race. Those candidates include Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Karen Handel and state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine.

There's more after the jump.    READ MORE »

Stadtlander launches Atlanta City Council bid

imageSo much for a break from politics and campaigns.

Charlie Stadtlander (photo left), a 28-year-old gay teacher, formally announced his bid for the District 6 post on the Atlanta City Council this week, a move he hopes will unseat Anne Fauver, a two-term incumbent and the council's only openly gay member.

Stadtlander made the announcement on Wednesday during an event at Cowtippers in Midtown, which sits inside the heavily-gay district he hopes to represent. The election is in November. Fauver has said she will seek a third term and the race may also include Steve Brodie, a gay man who lost a tight race to Fauver in 2005.

There's more, including photos from the announcement, after the jump.    READ MORE »

Gay Atlanta City Council candidate apologizes for anti-trans comments

image

A gay man expected to formally announce his campaign for Atlanta City Council this week is apologizing for remarks he made three years ago when he said transgender people and drag queens were on the fringe of society and hurt the gay equality movement.

Charlie Stadtlander, a former Republican and leader of Log Cabin Republicans groups in Missouri and Atlanta, also said on Monday that his description of a drag show while a student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis as pornographic came at a time when he was lobbying for two gay rights measures from within a conservative GOP and was concerned the show might impact those efforts.

Stadtlander also said comments attributed to him as expressing disgust with consensual sex between two men were not his and part of a satirical piece that he disavows.

There's more after the jump.    READ MORE »

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Rick Warren coming to Atlanta for MLK Day

imageRick Warren is coming to Atlanta.

The conservative mega pastor is scheduled to keynote the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday festivities in Atlanta in January. Warren has been embroiled in a national controversy over his anti-gay views since he was selected earlier this month to deliver the invocation at President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration.

News of the Atlanta visit by the pastor of 22,000-member Saddleback Church in California broke on Monday, though King Center officials say they invited Warren to speak last May, well before the recent controversy erupted.

Warren’s Atlanta speech is already drawing interest from some gay activists who are considering whether to organize protests on Jan. 19, when the pastor is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at 10 a.m. during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Commemorative Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church. His stop in Atlanta comes a day before he’s expected to deliver the invocation at Obama’s swearing-in on Jan. 20.

There's more after the jump.    READ MORE »

Obama-Warren flap includes Georgia twist

imageThe fallout over President-elect Barack Obama's pick of a highly popular, yet anti-gay pastor for inauguration day includes a Georgia connection.

Harry Know, a former executive director of Georgia Equality, was included in a report about the flap Thursday on NBC's "Nightly News with Brian Williams." Knox, now director of the religion and faith program for the Human Rights Campaign, has been in Georgia recently to work on Jim Martin's failed campaign for U.S. Senate.

In his typical straight-shooting style, Knox criticized Obama's choice of evangelical megapastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation next month at his swearing-in.

Watch the video and hear Knox's quote after the jump.    READ MORE »

A call to turn activism into movement

imageJustin Ziegler, the president of the Atlanta Executive Network, called on the hundreds of people who took part in two rallies for gay equality earlier this month to harness that energy and turn it into a deeper mobilization for equality.

The call came in a guest column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution highlighting the energy and enthusiasm he witnessed during the events at the State Capitol and in Midtown on Nov. 15. The rallies were part of a nationwide campaign that touched cities across the country.

Now, I issue a call to action — not to Congress, not to our new president and not to our local politicians, but to all of us living our daily lives within our own communities. It is time for us all to take this energy we created and do something positive. We cannot forget those who came before us.

Now, while we are still feeling that sense of pride and accomplishment from the protests, we must move forward and take the next step. I challenge the next set of activists to mobilize the troops, unite our community and let our voices be heard.


   READ MORE »

Obama’s got his gays for transition team

Officials with President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team this week named at least seven openly gay people to transition panels assigned to review federal departments and agencies.

Three of the seven gays named to the transition panels — businessman Fred P. Hochberg, former San Francisco Supervisor Roberta Achtenberg, and labor attorney Elaine Kaplan — held high-level positions in the Clinton administration.    READ MORE »

Obama transition teams bans gay bias

The Obama-Biden transition team is telling prospective employees in the new administration it will not discriminate against LGBT workers.

“The Obama-Biden Transition Project does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other basis of discrimination prohibited by law,” the Transition team says on its official Web site.

Although the commitment pertains only to transition team workers, LGBT civil rights activists say they believe Obama will issue an Executive Order shortly after being sworn in to extend that throughout the administration.

   READ MORE »

The gay mafia that’s redefining politics

A few weeks before Virginia's legislative elections in 2005, a researcher working on behalf of a clandestine group of wealthy, gay political donors telephoned a Virginia legislator named Adam Ebbin. Then, as now, Ebbin was the only openly gay member of the state's general assembly. The researcher wanted Ebbin's advice on how the men he represented could spend their considerable funds to help defeat anti-gay Virginia politicians.

Ebbin, a Democrat who is now 44, was happy to oblige. (Full disclosure: in the mid-'90s, Ebbin and I knew each other briefly as colleagues; he sold ads for Washington City Paper, a weekly where I was a reporter.) Using Ebbin's expertise, the gay donors — none of whom live in Virginia — began contributing to certain candidates in the state. There were five benefactors: David Bohnett of Beverly Hills, Calif., who in 1999 sold the company he had co-founded, Geo-Cities, to Yahoo! in a deal worth $5 billion on the day it was announced; Timothy Gill of Denver, another tech multimillionaire; James Hormel of San Francisco, grandson of George, who founded the famous meat company; Jon Stryker of Kalamazoo, Mich., the billionaire grandson of the founder of medical-technology giant Stryker Corp.; and Henry van Ameringen, whose father Arnold Louis van Ameringen started a Manhattan-based import company that later became the mammoth International Flavors & Fragrances.    READ MORE »

Austria faces leader’s sexual orientation

There were rumors for years, but they were widely ignored in Austria, a conservative nation not much interested in prying into the private lives of its leaders. Now, grieving over the death of Jörg Haider, the charismatic far-right politician, the country has been forced to confront directly the question of his sexuality after his political successor asserted that Mr. Haider had been “the man of my life.”

“We had a special relationship that went far beyond friendship,” the successor, Stefan Petzner, a former fashion and cosmetics reporter, said Sunday in a highly emotional interview on Austrian Radio 3. “Jörg and I were connected by something truly special. He was the man of my life.”

Mr. Petzner, 27, took over the Alliance for the Future of Austria after Mr. Haider, 58, died in a car crash on Oct. 11. He had been drinking at what has been reported as a gay club before flipping his car at nearly twice the legal speed limit.    READ MORE »

Georgia delegation scores poorly

imageOnly one member of Georgia’s 15-member Congressional delegation — Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Atlanta — scored a perfect 100 on a new report tracking their votes and sponsorships of gay and transgender issues. Six members of the state’s delegation received a score of zero.

The scores are part of the biennial scorecard from the Human Rights Campaign for the 110th Congress, which for the first time included both the Senate and House passing hate crime legislation that includes provisions for sexual orientation and gender identity. In the 110th Congress, senators increased their average score from 41.7 percent to 55.4 percent, while House members upped their scores from 40.5 percent to 47.9 percent.

There's more after the jump.    READ MORE »

Gay pioneer, ex-legislator Allan Spear dies

Allan H. Spear, a former Minnesota state senator who was one of the nation's first openly gay legislators, has died. He was 71.

He died Saturday of complications after heart surgery performed Thursday, said Don Jorovsky, a longtime friend who used to work for Spear.

Spear, a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party — Minnesota's version of the Democratic Party — was first elected in 1972 and was state Senate president from 1993 to 2000, when he retired. He was the first non-attorney to lead the Senate Judiciary Committee.    READ MORE »

Marriage measure in Ariz. gets big bucks

While many of the citizens initiatives on Arizona's November ballot have been bankrolled by special interests, a measure to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman has received an influx of campaign contributions from individuals in recent weeks.

The Yes for Marriage campaign pulled in more than $2.3 million from 160 donors across the state since the secretary of state's reporting period that ended Aug. 13. That brought the campaign's total to about $3 million.

Most contributions have been between $10,000 and $25,000. But Jeff and Holly Whiteman of Mesa gave $100,000, as did Gary and Lori Wagner of Peoria and the Pete King Corp. of Phoenix.

Read the full story from the Arizona Republic.    READ MORE »

Deb Mell wants to be first lesbian in Illinois legisature

imageDeborah Mell was expecting a peaceful event when she joined hundreds of demonstrators in downtown Chicago for a pro-gay marriage rally in March 2004.

Instead, things got rowdy, and Mell was arrested. A female police officer said Mell attacked her, and Mell was taken away in a paddy wagon.

Within 15 minutes her father, Richard Mell, a powerful Chicago alderman, came to her rescue—and soon found himself addressing some 300 polarized protesters on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate.

“I love my daughter Deb,” the alderman told the incensed crowd. “She believes fervently in a cause, and she stands for that cause—and I will support anybody who does that.”

Deb Mell was launched that day—and in November she is set to become the first open lesbian to serve in the Illinois general assembly.

For the full story from 365gay.com, go here.    READ MORE »

 
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