Gay couple picks sides in Fulton Commission race

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LGBT political groups may be split over who's the best pick to chair the Fulton County Commission. But one gay couple made their choice clear and went public in a campaign ad.

Rafer and Kelly Johnson are featured in a campaign collateral for John Eaves that's been circulated on social media this week ahead of Tuesday's primary. “We are voting for Eaves, because he votes for us,” the ad states with the smiling, embracing couple.



Eaves, the incumbent chair, faces longtime elected official Robb Pitts. Republican-led redistricting eliminated Pitt's current commission district, so he's squaring off against Eaves to lead the commission, which also includes lesbian Commissioner Joan Garner.

“We offered to do the ad when I saw endorsements from LGBT organizations and I wanted others to know that we have a champion for LBGT rights and equality in Chairman Eaves,” Rafer Johnson tells Project Q Atlanta. “He has fully supported and embraced Kelly and I, celebrated our marriage and our right to live as equal citizens. He stands for full marriage equality for Georgia citizens.”

Johnson says Eaves has also sponsored Fulton's domestic partner benefits program, worked to improve how the county jail treats transgender inmates and supported funding for HIV programs.

Eaves backed gay marriage in 2010 and marched in the Atlanta Pride parade ahead of re-election a few weeks later. Georgia Stonewall Democrats endorsed Eaves.

Pitts, endorsed by Georgia Equality, touted his record on LGBT issues in a campaign ad in the GA Voice, including supporting domestic partner benefits for employees, backing efforts to overturn Georgia's gay marriage ban and opposing two “religious freedom” bills in the Georgia legislature  criticized by gay and progressive activists.

Pitts appeared at a February rally for Garner and at a press conference in late February launching a grassroots campaign to overturn Georgia's gay marriage ban.


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