Three lesbian representatives return to Ga. General Assembly
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.”
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.