Politics

Anne Fauver is a study in contrasts

imageAnne Fauver, the only openly gay member of the Atlanta City Council, is pushing a tax increase. During a recession. Then again, she is a study in contrasts. The city, facing a $50 million budget shortfall, agreed with her proposal and approved the new tax during its last meeting of the year on Monday night. The tax, which will cost city residents $18 a year, targets Atlantans who have dumped their landline telephones and replaced them with broadband Internet connections. The money, expected to total about $3 million a year, is to hep fund the city's 911 system. Fauver, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, led the push for the new tax. At the same time, Fauver supports the city's efforts to bring casino gambling to the city to boost revenues. More on Fauver's gay track record after the jump.

A call to turn activism into movement

imageJustin Ziegler, the president of the Atlanta Executive Network, called on the hundreds of people who took part in two rallies for gay equality earlier this month to harness that energy and turn it into a deeper mobilization for equality. The call came in a guest column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution highlighting the energy and enthusiasm he witnessed during the events at the State Capitol and in Midtown on Nov. 15. The rallies were part of a nationwide campaign that touched cities across the country.
Now, I issue a call to action — not to Congress, not to our new president and not to our local politicians, but to all of us living our daily lives within our own communities. It is time for us all to take this energy we created and do something positive. We cannot forget those who came before us. Now, while we are still feeling that sense of pride and accomplishment from the protests, we must move forward and take the next step. I challenge the next set of activists to mobilize the troops, unite our community and let our voices be heard.

Black gay activists back Martin in race

imageA new coalition of black gay activists on Friday endorsed Jim Martin, the gay-friendly Democrat locked in a runoff for a U.S. Senate seat from Georgia. The Atlanta Black LGBT Coalition, a new group that says it's committed to a social justice agenda, says Martin's long record of public service includes supporting workplace protections for gays, adoption rights for same-sex couples and increased funding for HIV prevention. The group also credits Martin for supporting a women's right to choose. "The Atlanta Black LGBT Coalition believes that President-elect Barak Obama brings a new leadership to America and that Jim Martin can bring a new kind of leadership to Georgia,” says Rev. Dr. Kathi Martin, a founding member of the coalition. There's more after the jump.

Black gay coalition backs Martin in Senate runoff

image A new coalition of black gay activists on Friday endorsed Jim Martin, the gay-friendly Democrat locked in a runoff for a U.S. Senate seat from Georgia. The Atlanta Black LGBT Coalition, a new group that says it's committed to a social justice agenda, says Martin's long record of public service includes supporting workplace protections for gays, adoption rights for same-sex couples and increased funding for HIV prevention. The group also credits Martin for supporting a women's right to choose. "The Atlanta Black LGBT Coalition believes that President-elect Barak Obama brings a new leadership to America and that Jim Martin can bring a new kind of leadership to Georgia,” says Rev. Dr. Kathi Martin, a founding member of the coalition.

Obama’s got his gays for transition team

Officials with President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team this week named at least seven openly gay people to transition panels assigned to review federal departments and agencies. Three of the seven gays named to the transition panels — businessman Fred P. Hochberg, former San Francisco Supervisor Roberta Achtenberg, and labor attorney Elaine Kaplan — held high-level positions in the Clinton administration.

Obama transition teams bans gay bias

The Obama-Biden transition team is telling prospective employees in the new administration it will not discriminate against LGBT workers. “The Obama-Biden Transition Project does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other basis of discrimination prohibited by law,” the Transition team says on its official Web site. Although the commitment pertains only to transition team workers, LGBT civil rights activists say they believe Obama will issue an Executive Order shortly after being sworn in to extend that throughout the administration.

Obama win ‘historic milestone’ for gays

Gay rights leaders called Tuesday’s election of Democrat Barack Obama as the nation’s 44th president a development of historic proportions for the advancement of gay and transgender civil rights. Activists noted that gays played an unprecedented role in the Obama campaign, providing thousands of volunteers in states and towns across the country in an effort to help elect a candidate they believe to be the most gay-supportive presidential nominee in U.S. history. “I think the election of Barack Obama, and what will potentially be the makeup of the House and the Senate, puts us in a position to achieve more in the next four years than we have in the last 40,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign.

Gay marriage on tap for Senate race?

imageThere's rumbling in the political world that same-sex marriage might be on a short list of hot button issues that surface during a runoff between Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin (photo). The U.S. Senate race in Georgia is all but certain to end in a runoff on Dec. 2. This morning, Republican incumbent Chambliss is more than 16,000 votes short of the 50 percent plus one vote margin he needs to capture a second term. Democrat Martin has 46.8 percent of the vote. The campaign got brutal at the end as the race tightened thanks to Obama's coattails providing a lift to Martin, a gay-friendly former state lawmaker. The two candidates provide stark differences on most gay issues, though those never surfaced in a large way during the campaign. That might change in the runoff. There's more after the jump.

Obama wins, gays lose in four states

imageGay men and lesbians cheered on the election of Barack Obama, who mentioned them in his victory speech, while tempering their celebrations Tuesday night in the wake of stinging rebukes in four states. Election Night 2008 proved to be a mixed bag for gays across the country. While Obama is poised to become the nation’s most gay-friendly president, he takes office as voters in three more states approved bans on same-sex unions and another banned adoptions by gay couples. Meanwhile, more than 70 percent of the record-breaking 111 gay candidates endorsed by the Victory Fund won their races on Tuesday, including a gay man who will become the third openly gay member of the U.S. House. There's more after the jump.

Obama wins, gays lose in 4 states

image Gay men and lesbians cheered on the election of Barack Obama, who mentioned them in his victory speech, while tempering their celebrations Tuesday night in the wake of stinging rebukes in four states. Election Night 2008 proved to be a mixed bag for gays across the country. While Obama is poised to become the nation’s most gay-friendly president, he takes office as voters in three more states approved bans on same-sex unions and another banned adoptions by gay couples. Also: Gay crowds gather for Election Night in Atlanta.

Gay crowds gather for Election Night

imageA coalition of gay groups came together Tuesday to watch the results of an historic Election Night roll in. Georgia Equality, the Human Rights Campaign and the Victory Fund sponsored "LGBT Election Night" and Social Tuesdays, the new weekly gay social and networking group, also joined in. The event packed Marlow's Tavern on West Peachtree Street as a few hundred people watched news coverage of Election Night on several large flat screen televisions. The crowd cheered when Obama won states and jeered when McCain picked up electoral votes. But the biggest celebration came shortly after 11 p.m. when CNN pronounced Obama the president-elect. Several other venues hosted gay-themed Election Night events, including Amsterdam, Wild Mustang and the Stonewall Democrats at Halo. View the Project Q Atlanta photo album from "LGBT Election Night." View more photos from the evening on the Social Tuesdays web site. Tweet with us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Anti-gay measures likely in four states

A proposed ban on same-sex marriage in California — widely seen as the most momentous of the 153 ballot measures at stake nationwide — remained undecided early Wednesday. The proposed constitutional amendment would limit marriage to heterosexual couples, the first time such a vote has taken place in state where gay unions are legal. Sponsors of the ban declared victory early Wednesday, but the measure's opponents said too many votes remained uncounted for the race to be called.

Record number of gay candidates on ballot

From town councils to statehouses to Congress, a record number of LGBT candidates are running for office today. Nearly 90 of them have been endorsed by the Victory Fund, a gay advocacy group that helps LGBT candidates win election. In Colorado, Jared Polis (D) is seeking to become the third openly gay member of Congress. Polis, a 33-year-old entrepreneur who made millions creating Internet-based businesses, is the Democratic nominee and overwhelming favorite in the 2nd District, encompassing his hometown of Boulder.

America votes on gay marriage, adoption

Gay rights activists in Arkansas, Arizona, California, and Florida used their last day of campaigning before Election Day to urge voters to choose equal rights. How did they fare? Poll results going into the election show it’s going to be a close call across the board.

Senate race in Georgia down to wire

Once trailing by nearly 40 points behind U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Midtown native Jim Martin had closed the gap to within the margin of error of most polls a week before the Nov. 4 election. Martin, who championed gay causes during the 1980s and ’90s in the Georgia House, went from a long shot after soundly defeating DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones in an Aug. 5 runoff to put him the position of credible challenger as Election Day draws close.

The gay mafia that’s redefining politics

A few weeks before Virginia's legislative elections in 2005, a researcher working on behalf of a clandestine group of wealthy, gay political donors telephoned a Virginia legislator named Adam Ebbin. Then, as now, Ebbin was the only openly gay member of the state's general assembly. The researcher wanted Ebbin's advice on how the men he represented could spend their considerable funds to help defeat anti-gay Virginia politicians. Ebbin, a Democrat who is now 44, was happy to oblige. (Full disclosure: in the mid-'90s, Ebbin and I knew each other briefly as colleagues; he sold ads for Washington City Paper, a weekly where I was a reporter.) Using Ebbin's expertise, the gay donors — none of whom live in Virginia — began contributing to certain candidates in the state. There were five benefactors: David Bohnett of Beverly Hills, Calif., who in 1999 sold the company he had co-founded, Geo-Cities, to Yahoo! in a deal worth $5 billion on the day it was announced; Timothy Gill of Denver, another tech multimillionaire; James Hormel of San Francisco, grandson of George, who founded the famous meat company; Jon Stryker of Kalamazoo, Mich., the billionaire grandson of the founder of medical-technology giant Stryker Corp.; and Henry van Ameringen, whose father Arnold Louis van Ameringen started a Manhattan-based import company that later became the mammoth International Flavors & Fragrances.

Anti-gay robo calls surface in S.C. race

Voters in Lancaster and York counties are getting automated phone calls from a phony gay organization that says it supports the Democratic candidate for the local South Carolina state Senate seat, a move a national group called “gay baiting.” Candidate Mandy Powers Norrell said Wednesday that the Alliance for the Advancement of Gays and Lesbians does not exist and says the calls that began Tuesday are likely illegal.

Early voting, politicking with gay twist

imageYou know it's time to vote, right? No, no. Not next week on Nov. 4. You can vote all this week in Georgia thanks to advance voting. More than 1 million people already have and polls are open all over metro Atlanta. For a full list of early voting spots, go here. (pdf) If you are a Fulton County resident who's interested in voting, you can catch a shuttle from Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse to the downtown government complex and cast your ballot. The service — which runs this week at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. — is provided by long-time Atlanta gay activist Floyd Taylor. (For details, {encode="[email protected]" title="email"} him.) Speaking of elections, you can also join Georgia Equality on Wednesday for "Rally the Vote." Atlanta City Council President Lisa Borders headlines the event, which is a fundraiser for the statewide gay rights group. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Einstein's on Juniper Street in Midtown. Tickets are $35. Next week, there's "The Election Night Party" from the National Stonewall Democrats at Halo in Midtown. The event promises drink specials, light refreshment and free admission as you watch the vote returns pour in. Tweet with us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
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