Brian Kemp reiterated his support of anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” legislation just as a gay Republican group endorsed the newly-named GOP gubernatorial nominee.
Kemp signed a pledge to support “religious freedom” legislation last year. He stood by it at a Republican “unity rally” on Thursday after trouncing Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in the GOP runoff for governor.
“My position on RFRA is not going to change. I’m not going to change,” Kemp told the AJC.
“It’s the same thing that Gov. [Nathan] Deal voted for in Congress. It’s the commonsense thing to do, and I will do that as governor. And I’ll be glad to sit down with any business entity in the state and talk them through that,” he added.
“Religious freedom” legislation has roiled the State Capitol for several years. In 2016, Deal vetoed a “religious freedom” bill that included sweeping anti-gay provisions.Kemp has said he supports a state version of the bill that mirrors the federal one signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, the Democrat who faces Kemp in the November general election, strongly opposes the legislation.
As Kemp won the runoff on Tuesday, Georgia Log Cabin Republicans endorsed him – the first candidate for governor the group has endorsed in its 23-year history.
“We would like to congratulate Brian Kemp on his hard-fought win tonight,” the group wrote in a press release. “We offer him our full endorsement and look forward to working hard to help him win in November against radical liberal Stacey Abrams.”
The group endorsed Kemp despite his support for anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” legislation and his criticism of LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination policies as efforts by “the radical left and politically correct.” GLCR did not address questions about Kemp's anti-LGBTQ record when asked by Project Q Atlanta.
“Georgia Log Cabin Republicans endorsed Brian Kemp because our organization is based on Republican principles, and Brian Kemp represents many of those principles,” GLCR's spokesperson Cameron Mason wrote in a statement. “He is a small business owner who wants to put Georgians first and not pit them against each other. Kemp will continue the amazing legacy of Gov. Deal by creating jobs and making Georgia a great place to start businesses.
“Meanwhile, Stacey Abrams is supported by out-of-state liberals and socialists. The Democratic Party seeks only to exploit the LGBT community by putting identity politics over the real needs of Georgians. Republicans across the state are ready to stand firm and united to help Brian Kemp win in November,” he added.
A gay Atlanta couple recently landed in the middle of a Kemp campaign controversy. Patrick Greco and partner Jimmy Stanton hosted a fundraising gala for Kemp’s campaign at their antebellum estate in Madison and donated $1,000 to his campaign. Kemp's facing criticism because as Georgia Secretary of State, he regulates the Massage Envy clinics that Greco owns. The clinics have faced a series of sexual assault complaints.
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