Three les­bian rep­re­sen­ta­tives re­turn to Ga. Gen­eral As­sem­bly

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be­cause that will fo­cus on our ev­ery­day lives,” Bell said. “And I know a large por­tion al­ready does that, but we need more to get in­volved in the lo­cal pol­i­tics of the state.”

Dren­ner said while a su­per ma­jor­ity was blocked in the House and Se­nate, the LGBT com­mu­ni­ties and other marginal­ized com­mu­ni­ties face tough times in the up­com­ing ses­sion.

“A lot of con­ser­va­tive Democrats will vote with Repub­li­cans. I think as a gay com­mu­nity we have more to lose than any other com­mu­nity ex­cept for women,” she said.

Dren­ner ac­knowl­edged she even feared back­lash in Ge­or­gia from LGBT equal­ity is­sues that were passed na­tion­ally, in­clud­ing mar­riage equal­ity in three states, the first les­bian elected to the U.S. Se­nate and the re-elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Obama.

“I’m thank­ful the pres­i­dent won. But that does not mean we won’t get the shit kicked out of us at the state level,” she said. “I think we live in per­ilous times in Ge­or­gia.”

Build­ing coali­tions

Ge­or­gia Equal­ity, the state’s largest LGBT ad­vo­cacy or­ga­ni­za­tion, worked with other groups to block a GOP con­sti­tu­tional ma­jor­ity. Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Jeff Gra­ham was more hope­ful about Ge­or­gia’s fu­ture, but noted that se­ri­ous is­sues re­main.

“Peo­ple need to be mind­ful of why we were con­cerned about the con­sti­tu­tional ma­jor­ity — the vast ma­jor­ity of Repub­li­cans have taken a pledge from Ge­or­gia Right to Life to pass a Per­son­hood Amend­ment. The LGBT com­mu­nity needs to rec­og­nize that if they look at the word­ing by Ge­or­gia Right to Life, [the pledge] also re­stricts in vitro fer­til­iza­tion for cou­ples seek­ing to have chil­dren,” Gra­ham said.

This di­rectly im­pacts gay fam­i­lies who want to use in vitro fer­til­iza­tion to have chil­dren.

In­cum­bent State Sen. Doug Stoner, a Demo­crat, lost his race to Repub­li­can chal­lenger Hunter Hill for District 6. Gra­ham said it is im­per­a­tive con­stituents hold Hill to his prom­ise that he would not work to pass a Per­son­hood Amend­ment.

Gra­ham said he also be­lieves this elec­tion shows that mod­er­ate Repub­li­cans can em­brace LGBT is­sues. Ge­or­gia Equal­ity will con­tinue to seek fair-minded can­di­dates, Repub­li­can and Demo­crat, to sup­port while also work­ing with numer­ous other coali­tions.

“This year we worked with a broad coali­tion and that is part of build­ing in­roads with Latino and Asian-Amer­i­can vot­ers in the north­ern sub- urbs,” Gra­ham said.

The hard-fought re-elec­tion of state Rep. Pe­dro Marin, a Demo­crat in Gwin­nett rep­re­sent­ing District 96 and a strong ally of LGBT equal­ity, points to a hint of the tide turn­ing in Ge­or­gia to be­com­ing more pro­gres­sive, Gra­ham said.

“We hope this elec­tion shows that mod­er­ate Repub­li­cans can em­brace LGBT is­sues,” he said. “It is im­por­tant to work with other com- mu­ni­ties to find can­di­dates we can all sup­port and how we be­gin to change the po­lit­i­cal land­scape in Ge­or­gia.”

Gra­ham was op­ti­mistic about Pres­i­dent Obama’s win and the mar­riage equal­ity vic­to­ries and how they will im­pact state pol­i­tics.

“Last night was not a fluke. It was really a phe­nom­e­nal elec­tion night and bodes well … we will see greater change on our is­sues in Ge­or­gia,” he said Wed­nes­day.

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