Court rules for trans Ga. official

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imageThe Georgia Supreme Court today ruled in favor of Michelle Bruce, a transgendered former member of the Riverdale City Council who faced a lawsuit over allegations that she misled constituents.

The Georgia Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling on Monday found that the two political opponents who filed the lawsuit failed to produce evidence of fraud, misconduct or illegal action after claiming that Michelle Bruce bamboozled voters by identifying herself as female.

“This is a great victory for me and anyone who believes in equality,” Bruce said in a statement. “It gives me hope that the Georgia Supreme Court did what was right and did not buy into hate-based politics.”

Bruce became the state’s first openly transgender elected leader in 2003 when she won election to the council. In 2007, she came in first in her re-election bid, but faced a run-off. The third-place finisher filed a lawsuit against Bruce that identified her as “Michael” and sought a new election. Bruce later lost the election.

“I’m Michelle,” she said when the suit was filed. “I’m the same Michelle they elected four years ago.”

Hall won the runoff, and Bruce blamed the lawsuit for her defeat.

Meanwhile, the complaint made its way through Georgia’s legal system. In its decision Monday, the court ruled for Bruce and concluded that “none of these alleged irregularities is specific enough to cast doubts” on the election.

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