Georgia Dems leader now backs gay marriage

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Dubose Porter can evolve on gay marriage, too. The former lawmaker who twice voted in favor of the state's ban on marriage equality is now the head of Georgia Democrats. And a supporter of gay marriage.

In 2004 as a Democratic leader in the Georgia House, Porter (photo) supported a Republican-led effort to add a ban on gay marriage to the state constitution. He even backed a successful Republican measure to prevent cities from requiring contractors to offer domestic partner benefits to gain city contracts. His wife Carol, as a lieutenant governor candidate in 2010, couldn't be bothered to take a stand against hate crimes and workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

But during his campaign to lead Georgia Democrats this summer, Porter touted his evolution from gay marriage opponent to marriage equality supporter. He offered this during an Aug. 3 debate between candidates for party chair.

“The head of our Democratic Party needs to be that person that talks about the Georgia that can be in marriage equality, in environmental issues, in the attacks Republicans have done on women, on education, on job training, on transportation.”

And on Tuesday, Porter and the state party reaffirmed his position after Project Q detailed Porter's troubled history with same-sex marriage.

“My opinion on marriage equality has evolved like most everyone else’s in the country. People need the right to marry who they love. Period. We all draw from our own life experiences to get there. And I’m there. I look forward to the day that all Georgians are treated equally under the law.”

Porter defeated R.J. Hadley and former state Sen. Doug Stoner, backed by gay marriage evolver Mayor Kasim Reed and gay marriage opponent former Gov. Roy Barnes, in an election on Saturday. He replaces Mike Berlon, who offered a full-throated endorsement of gay marriage in May 2012.

Gay supporters of Porter's candidacy also spoke out Tuesday, including Jim Taflinger, chair of the party's LGBT Caucus.

For the first time in the history of the Democratic Party of Georgia, all three candidates for Party Chairperson endorsed marriage equality. We applaud the election of Dubose Porter as the new Democratic Party Chair. Besides his full support for Equality, he is ready to work with our community to move Georgia Democrats forward on LGBT issues including HIV and health-related issues, school bullying, and non-discrimination in the workplace. With Dubose's expressed unconditional support for our community, the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Georgia looks forward to our partnership ahead.

Michael Smith, the party's administrative director, confirmed that Porter's support for marriage equality is nothing new.

“I’m an out gay man and have worked at the Democratic Party of Georgia since 2010. I’ve known Dubose for quite a while. He’s for equality. In his words: 'Period.'”

HRC Atlanta's Political Co-Chair Anthony Kreis, who voiced concerns earlier this summer over Porter's efforts to lead the state party, also affirmed Porter's change of heart.

And gay blogger and political geek Dustin Baker, a member of the state party committee, spoke in favor of Porter.

Being an LGBT Member of the State Committee who voted for DuBose Porter, I can assure you that DuBose fully supports marriage equality. It was the first and only question I hinged my support for him on. It was in his speech to the state committee, while many other candidates did not mention our community at all.

People change, it has been nearly a decade since 2004. Give him a chance to fulfill his promise – if not, I will be the first to ask for his removal.

[photo via]


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