Jim Galloway, a veteran political reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, first reported Franklin’s apparent death about 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday:
We’ve heard through several sources that state Rep. Bobby Franklin, a Cobb County Republican who skirted the outer reaches of conservatism and helped design the current state flag, has died.
“Our investigators are out there now, at the residence,” said police spokesman Mike Bowman. He promised more details later this afternoon.
According to Cobb County sources, a family friend came to check on Franklin this morning after he didn’t show up for church Sunday. The friend saw Franklin’ truck in the driveway, and peeking through the window, saw his computer was on and called the police.
Franklin had complained of chest pains Friday and planned to seek the advice of a family friend who is a nurse.
Police found Franklin in his bed, dead.
Franklin so angered some LGBT activists earlier this year that they planned to confront him in person at the State Capitol. He refused to show.
The action, orchestrated by the Queer Justice League and GetEQUAL Georgia, was an attempt to elicit an apology from Franklin for his comments in March comparing LGBT people to drug dealers.
The group planned to hand deliver a Feb. 10 letter they mailed to Franklin condemning the remarks, and demanding an apology and sensitivity training for Franklin and his staff. The letter is signed by 11 LGBT and progressive organizations: Queer Justice League, GetEQUAL Georgia, Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Progressive Christian Alliance, Marietta PFALG, MEGA Family Project, Savannah Queer Power, MondoHomo, Atlanta Stonewall Democrats, Georgia Log Cabin Republicans and Libertarian Party of Cobb County.
The lawmaker’s response to that? He told critics that “their problem is with God and not with me.”
His drug dealer comparison came in a rambling Q&A with the Marietta Daily Journal:
“The Bible says it’s a capital offense,” Franklin (photo) said of homosexuality. “You want someone with unrepentant criminal behavior? And it’s not just that, neither should adulterers, neither should thieves, neither should a lot of things. The church is full of sinners, but we’re told in 1st Corinthians it rattled off the homosexual, the adulterer, the thief, the liar, and such were some of you, but you’ve been washed, you’ve been justified and so forth. It’s not what you were. You’re not punishing a thought. But do you want an unrepentant drug dealer in the military? Same thing.”
LGBT activists, though, weren’t the only ones who disliked Franklin and his outlandish views.
Franklin, who represented District 43 that includes Marietta, took office in 1997.
His official biography:
First elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1996, Representative Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta) represents the 43rd District.
Representative Franklin is serves as a member of the Banks & Banking, Information and Audits, Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment, and Judiciary (Non-Civil) Committees. He previously served on the Natural Resources and Environment and the Special Judiciary Committees.
A graduate of Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, Representative Franklin earned a degree in both Biblical Studies and Business Administration. Bobby is an active member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church.
Representative Franklin’s private sector experience as corporate controller, CFO, and business analyst enable him to bring sound business and fiscal principles to government. He has a record of consistently advocating for reducing the tax burden on Georgia citizens.
Representative Franklin has been called “the conscience of the Republican Caucus” because he believes that civil government should return to its biblically and constitutionally defined role.
Update: Some readers tell us Bobby Franklin’s coffin deserves a gay jig. Others say it’s inappropriate and to take the high road.