Atlanta queers call on Franklin to apologize

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imageState Rep. Bobby Franklin is, not surprisingly, coming under fire from gay activists in Atlanta after comparing LGBT folks to drug dealers in a recent interview.

The Queer Justice League wants Franklin (photo) — yes, the total nut job from Marietta – to apologize for the remarks and undergo sensitivity training with his staff “to better address the diverse opinions, beliefs and values of your constituents.”

“Your comment, comparing members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities to drug dealers, is offensive,” QJL says in a letter to Franklin. “We believe that the climate of hateful rhetoric must come to an end (on both sides of the political aisle). Unfortunately, your comments do nothing to accomplish this, and in fact exacerbate the situation.”

Franklin apparently took note of the actions of a staffer for Sen. Saxby Chambliss and decided to one-up him. You’ll recall that flap from last fall: A Chambliss staffer in Washington slurred gays with “ignorant free speech,” got slapped on the wrist, Chambliss kind of apologized, and everyone moved on.

Jeff Schade, a QJL spokesperson, said the group will pressure Franklin to compel a response. The organization pushed for a meeting with Chambliss staffers in Atlanta during their Post-ing Gate.

“Rep. Franklin was elected to represent all of his constituents, not simply those that share his ideological views, which he admits are religiously based,” Schade says in a prepared statement. “Rep. Franklin’s comments are deeply offensive and we do not take them lightly. In a time when the public has called for less rhetoric from our elected officials, comparing an entire community to adulterers, thieves and liars, as he did, is simply unacceptable.”

In a Feb. 7 interview with the Marietta Daily Journal, Franklin compared gay people to “unrepentant drug dealers” in a discussion about the repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay servicemenbers.

“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.”

Paul Schappaugh, an LGBT activist and regional coordinator for GetEqual, says it’s time for Franklin to be contrite.

“We want a personal, contrite apology from Rep. Franklin, to the LGBT community and to all Georgians,” Schappaugh says in a press release. “We also want him to commit to engaging his employees in sensitivity training, to equip them to better handle the concerns of his constituents.”

Photo courtesy Laura Moon, Marietta Daily Journal

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