Stacey Abrams became the first major party gubernatorial candidate to speak at Atlanta Pride and to march in the Pride parade. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and several elected officials and candidates also took part in Sunday's parade.
Abrams (top photo), the Democratic nominee for governor, addressed a rapturous crowd from Pride's main stage in Piedmont Park on Saturday.
“It’s important for us to understand that we have to have allies everywhere,” she said. “And there’s no better place to have an ally in Georgia than in the governor’s office.”
She noted the controversial confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying, “a terrible history was made.”
“A man was installed in the Supreme Court who has made it his mission to strip rights away from thousands of people, from millions of folks. But here’s the thing – we know that policy starts in the states,” Abrams said. “We know that marriage equality didn’t start in D.C. It started in the states. We know that civil rights didn’t start in D.C. It started in the states. And our ability to defend the LGBTQ community will start here in Georgia.”
Abrams criticized her opponent Brian Kemp’s support of anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” legislation.
“I am a woman of faith, and that is why it makes me so angry that anyone would try to use my Christian faith to discriminate against anyone in the state of Georgia,” she said.
“I will not stand for losing access in the state of Georgia because somebody who wants to pass discriminatory legislation wins this election,” she added.
Abrams addressed Kemp’s absence at Atlanta Pride during an interview with Project Q Atlanta after her speech.
“I’m running to be leader of all of Georgia. And I think it’s an important thing to do to stand up and say that no matter who you are, no matter who you love, no matter how you identify, you’re part of our state,” she said. “I’m very sad that I’m the only candidate that’s made the decision to do this in this election.”
Abrams also said Kemp advertising on the gay dating app Grindr is hypocritical considering his support for “religious freedom” legislation.
“He is promising to discriminate against the very community he is trying to court,” she said. “And that type of hypocrisy just means he can’t be trusted.”
Leading the hundreds in Abrams’ parade throng was U.S. Rep Hank Johnson, former 6th Congressional District candidate Jon Ossoff and bisexual state Rep. Renitta Shannon.
Abrams – wearing a pink dress to mark the occasion – was followed by the contingent supporting lieutenant governor candidate Sarah Riggs Amico. Abrams marched in last year’s Pride parade along with then-Democratic rival Stacey Evans, but Abrams had not yet secured the Democratic nomination. In 2010, Libertarian John Monds took part in the parade during his run for governor and Democrat Roy Barnes did not.
Other candidates and elected officials taking part in the parade included Bottoms; Charlie Bailey, attorney general candidate; John Barrow, secretary of state candidate; Fred Swann, agriculture commissioner candidate; Lucy McBath, 6th Congressional District candidate; LGBTQ state Reps. Sam Park and Park Cannon; state Sen. Jen Jordan; state House candidates Adam Bridges, Julie Jordan, Beth Moore, Matthew Wilson and Adam Wynn; Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore; Atlanta City Councilmembers Carla Smith, Amir Farokhi, Jennifer Ide, Michael Julian Bond, Andre Dickens, Dustin Hillis and Matt Westmoreland; Atlanta Board of Education members Jason Esteves, Eshé Collins, Cynthia Briscoe Brown, Leslie Grant and Kandis Wood Jackson; Meria Carstarphen, Atlanta Public Schools superintendent; Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman; and Doraville City Councilmembers Stephe Koontz, Joseph Geierman, Robert Patrick and Shannon Hillard.
Early voting for the Nov. 6 election opened Monday.