Gay former Salvation Army exec brings ‘whole self’ to AID Atlanta.
Joey Helton understands why people would question how he, as a gay man with a boyfriend, worked for seven years for the Salvation Army, raising more than $10 million for the religious nonprofit accused of discriminating against gay people.
Helton joined AID Atlanta, the Southeast’s largest HIV agency, as development director last month. In an interview with GA Voice, Helton said he is ready to bring his “whole self” to an organization he believes in and he hopes others will not focus on his last job with the Salvation Army.
“I can bring my partner with me to events. I never discussed my personal life and especially being in a gay relationship with a man while at the Salvation Army,” he told the GA Voice. “And I knew it was time to make a change.”
While working at the Salvation Army in Georgia, Helton said he participated in several AIDS Walk Atlanta events and also made donations to AID Atlanta.
But Helton said he never talked about his personal life while he worked with the Salvation Army. He said it was like living in two separate worlds ― the professional and then the private. Now, at AID Atlanta, he said he can combine both.
“Now I can think of those in need while
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) announced his intention to retire at the end of his current term in 2014.
Chambliss has not been a friend to the LGBT community during his time in Washington. He voted against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and is a supporter of the Defense of Marriage Act.
GAPundit.com conducted a recent telephone poll of more than 1,000 Georgia voters to gauge who might have the best chance to replace Chambliss. The poll found former Ga. Gov. Sonny Perdue leading the pack of potential candidates with 22.4 percent support among likely voters. Perdue said Jan. 29 he doesn’t plan to run.
Perdue served as governor during the successful 2004 battle to pass a constitutional amendment in Georgia to ban same-sex marriage.
Former Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel, the second place finisher in the survey with 15 percent, has been even more outspoken against gay equality, including marriage and adoption rights.
The rest of the field identified by GAPundit. com includes U.S. Reps. Paul Broun (10.3 percent), Tom Price (9.7 percent), Lynn Westmo- working for AID Atlanta. Those who don’t have access to health insurance. I mean, thank goodness we have AID Atlanta because I believe every life deserves hope,” he said. reland (8.4 percent), Tom Graves (R-Ga.) (6.3 percent) and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (3.4 percent). 24.5 percent of those surveyed were “undecided.
Westmoreland, Price and Graves all received scores of 0 out of 100 on the most recent Congressional Scorecard from the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT political group. Broun scored 15 out of 100, as did Chambliss.
AID Atlanta’s new development director Joey Helton worked for seven years with the Salvation Army, which has been accused of discriminating against gay people. (Courtesty photo)