LGBTQ lawmakers criticize Kemp’s coronavirus response

All five LGBTQ members of the state legislature joined 31 other lawmakers urging Gov. Brian Kemp to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order to avoid “tens of thousands” of Georgia deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 36 Democratic members of the Georgia House sent a letter to Kemp on Wednesday that pleaded for more urgent steps. 

“This pandemic demands clear communication and decisive action,” they wrote. “A statewide shelter-in-place order is the clearest and most effective way to make sure the public stays home and stays safe.”

“A confusing patchwork of local policies and recommendations will only prolong the epidemic and lead to more infections, more economic harm and more deaths,” they added.

Bisexual state Rep. Renitta Shannon (photo second from left) also posted the letter on Twitter.

“The numbers will continue to grow unless something more is done,” she wrote.

Gay state Rep. Matthew Wilson (photo left) also knocked Kemp’s orders on Monday banning public gatherings of 10 people or more, closing bars and nightclubs and ordering only “medically fragile” people to shelter in place. Wilson wanted Kemp to go further by issuing a shelter-in-place order.

“We’ve given him vast powers so that he can make bold decisions to save Georgia from unnecessary deaths and illnesses,” Wilson wrote on Twitter. “The time to act is now.”

Wilson also posted an #AskGovKemp hashtag on Twitter to gather questions from voters before a coronavirus town hall Kemp is having on Thursday night. 

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Kathleen Toomey, the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, will also take part in the town hall. The event will air at 8 p.m. on WSB-TV, 11Alive, Fox 5, CBS46, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Telemundo Atlanta and Univision 34/Atlanta, according to the AJC.

Bottoms issued a temporary shelter-in-place order in Atlanta on Monday. She ordered all bars, nightclubs and other businesses to close on March 19. Atlanta restaurants are also restricted to offering food by delivery, drive-through or takeout only.

Kim Jackson, a lesbian priest running for state Senate District 41 in Atlanta, also said that the state’s homeless population is suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“In order to get food if you’re experiencing homelessness, people have been really at the mercy of churches, mosques, religious communities, and people of good will,” she told LGBTQ Nation. “And now that people of good will are quarantined in their homes, food has become very difficult to come by, and the state, in all of her wisdom in seeking to address this pandemic, has failed to address that particular issue.”

Some 1,525 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Georgia since the pandemic began, according to GDPH. About 475 people have been hospitalized and 48 people have died as a result of the virus.