Gay activist and attorney Kyle Williams announced Thursday that he’s seeking the District 2 post on the Decatur City Commission.
Williams, a former chair of the Georgia Equality Foundation and an attorney with Bloom Law, would become the second openly gay member of the five-member commission. Kecia Cunningham became the state’s first African-American openly gay elected official when she won a seat on the commission in 1999.
Williams, 32, announced on his intentions to seek the seat being vacated by the retiring Mary Alice Kemp in an email to friends and supporters.
“I ask that you join me in this conversation and journey. Decatur is a fantastic place. We do many things right, but I believe we can do better. Decatur does a tremendous job keeping the trains running on time, but it does not always put new trains on the tracks. This campaign is about innovation. This campaign is about Decatur and its role as a metro-Atlanta and statewide leader and advocate.”
In 2007, Southern Voice named Williams as one of “the next generation of gay Atlanta.”
As Georgia gay rights activists struggled to recover from losing the battle to keep the state’s ban on gay marriage out of the constitution, Kyle Williams made up his mind that the fight could not be over until after he stepped up to the front lines.
“It really was a wake-up call for all of us, including myself, that it’s no longer acceptable to stand in the background and blend in,” he says.
First, Williams joined and began contributing volunteer hours and dollars to Georgia Equality, the state’s largest gay rights organization. He is now the Georgia Equality Foundation board chairman.
Williams’ fight for gay rights isn’t precluded by his day job as a real estate and property attorney with Neissman, Nowack, Curry & Wilco, which calls upon him to defend privacy and property rights.
“What we can and can’t do, and where we can and can’t live, will always be important to people,” says Williams, who lives with his partner, Larry, in Decatur.
The fight for equality will continue to unfold inside courtrooms and legislative chambers, though Williams wishes he could have enlisted sooner.
“I grew up in rural west Tennessee. I’m old, but I’m not that old. There were no voices, there were no television shows, and there were no groups that I was aware of that came into my small town,” he says. “I regret a lot looking back and not being more active. There are other people who followed behind me there who I could have and should have done a lot more for.”