Stacey Abrams endorsed by Georgia Equality in governor’s race

Statewide LGBTQ organization Georgia Equality endorsed Stacey Abrams on Wednesday, a significant boost to the former state lawmaker's bid for the Democratic nomination for governor.

"Not only is she exceptionally strong on LGBTQ issues, I believe she has an effective strategy to win in November," Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham said in a prepared statement.

Georgia Equality vetted both Abrams and Stacey Evans – her opponent in the May 22 primary – and conducted interviews with each candidate before deciding who to endorse. Both candidates are former state lawmakers with records of supporting LGBTQ equality issues and fighting against anti-gay legislation.

Graham said it's a critical election cycle, one that will see a sweeping change of leaders at the highest levels of state government at a time when state lawmakers routinely try to pass anti-LGBTQ "religious freedom" bills and adoption bans.

"It is important for the LGBTQ community and our allies to recognize the importance of this race in terms of continuing to keep Georgia free of anti-LGBTQ laws. Stacey Abrams has not only supported our issues, she has actively supported openly LGBTQ candidates at the legislative level and has been instrumental in building the progressive infrastructure across issues that will make Georgia a better place for all to live, work, and visit," Graham added.

In February, Abrams blasted the Georgia Senate for passing a bill that would allow faith-based agencies receiving public funds to ban LGBT people from adopting children or becoming foster parents. She called the measure "bigoted" and said it "justifies discrimination by using religion as an excuse."

Abrams, the former Minority Leader in the Georgia House, met with LGBTQ elected officials, activists and influencers in January to discuss equality issues and pitch her campaign for governor. She also talked tough on fighting anti-LGBTQ "religious freedom" legislation, combatting HIV and battling discrimination as governor.

Abrams and Evans were the first major party candidates to participate in the Pride parade last October.