This Ga. Democrat won’t back workplace equality

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Rep. John Barrow, a Georgia Democrat, can't be bothered to co-sponsor legislation that would ban discrimination against LGBT employees, making him one of just eight Democrats who refuse and earning the rebuke of home-state activists.

Barrow can't even be bothered to explain why not, according to the Washington Blade.

Another longtime House Democrat who doesn’t co-sponsor ENDA and who was a one-time supporter of a Federal Marriage Amendment is Barrow. Despite voting “yes” on this amendment, Barrow has taken pro-LGBT positions, such as voting in favor of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. His office didn’t respond to a request for comment on ENDA.

LGBT activists in Georgia knocked Barrow for his refusal to back the bill.

Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, said Barrow has assumed more anti-LGBT positions after redistricting, when Barrow’s district was drawn to become more conservative.

“The politics behind this, not that it excuses it, but for the last several times that he has run for office, he has been redistricted into a district that is majority Republican,” Graham said. “And so, he actually has a voting record on LGBT issues, as well as a lot of other issues that are important to many of us, where he did not support them or voted against them. His lack of sponsorship of ENDA is not actually a surprise; it’s a disappointment, but it is not a surprise.”

Graham said getting Barrow to support ENDA would require “an immense grassroots” effort among his constituents, but his organization is prepared to support the Human Rights Campaign in planned field operations to encourage him to back the bill.

Barrow is apparently angling to keep his zero on HRC's Congressional Scorecard, a score that matches most every other Republican member of Georgia's Congressional delegation. (Barrow is a Democrat.) The state's other Democrats scored a 100 (Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson), an 80 (Rep. David Scott) and a 30 (Rep. Sanford Bishop).

Barrow narrowly defeated incumbent Rep. Max Burns, a Republican, in 2004. Barrow has faced stiff opposition since to keep the seat, which is nestled against the Georgia border with South Carolina and stretches from Augusta to Savannah.

Five candidates are battling in the Republican primary for the chance to take on Barrow in the November election. Barrow is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.


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