Big gay dinner to toast Georgia Equality heroes

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As gay Atlanta ratchets up its gayness even more for June, national LGBT Pride Month heats up locally as Georgia Equality announces its award winners at the annual Evening for Equality.

The event on June 20 at the InterContinental Buckhead Hotel is just one of our favorite dozen gay things to do in June. The statewide gay rights lobby’s fundraising dinner bolsters its year-round advocacy by honoring people and organizations who make an impact on LGBT rights in Georgia. 

This year’s recipients cover advocacy in arenas from politics to business to community. The Champion for Equality honor goes to Clarence Billups, mayor of Waycross, Ga.  While everyone in Georgia is coming out for marriage equality led by their mayors, Billups gets props for continuing to push for it in a less-than-progressive rural township. 

Also on tap for the Evening for Equality gala is a Guiding Star award for the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association. The organization spoke out during the 2015 legislative session against Georgia’s so-called “religious freedom” bills as bad for business. Later, the group stuck to its guns during nasty anti-gay hearings over them. 

Georgia Equality honors SOJOURN, the Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity, with its Phillip Rush Community Builder Award. In addition to their work agains the RFRA bills, the group also successfully thwarted anti-gay pastor Charles Stanley from receiving a humanitarian award by putting his sordid anti-gay past on blast.

What, besides its always-so-out attendees, could be gayer about Evening for Equality? Celebrity chef Art Smith hosts the pre-reception for sponsors and host committee at his restaurant. He leads the gay marriage charge in Georgia in his own unique way.

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