SAYING 'I DO' TO MARRIAGE EQUALITY
Meet the couple who got U.S. Rep. David Scott to speak out for marriage rights.
Rob Anglin and his partner, Jens Palsgaard, pulled together charts, polls and even a Power Point presentation as they prepared to meet with U.S. Rep. David Scott at his office in Smyrna, Ga., to discuss his position on same-sex marriage.
“We wanted to get as much stuff put together as possible,” Anglin said. “We were told we would only have 20 to 30 minutes.”
Turns out the couple, who began dating last July and got engaged in November, didn’t need any of their prepared materials to talk to Scott, a Democrat who represents Georgia’s 13th congressional district, which includes parts of Cobb, Clayton, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton and Henry counties. He is serving his sixth term.
Anglin and Palsgaard, who live in Lithia Springs, said when they walked into Scott’s office April 30, he asked them why they were there.
When they told him they wanted to know his position on marriage equality, Anglin said Scott told them he “has always supported marriage equality” and there was no need for them to get out their prepared materials.
The GA Voice reached out to Rep. Scott’s office repeatedly for comment for this story but did not receive any response.
While impressed and glad for Scott’s support, the answer surprised Anglin and Palsgaard.
Anglin said they decided to ask for a meeting with Scott after they looked through materials about Georgia’s representatives in Congress on the Human Rights Campaign’s website and noted Scott did not have an official position listed. They did know he voted in 2004 and 2006 in support of a federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
“We noticed we had five Democrats from Georgia, two who supported same-sex marriage, two who opposed and David Scott, who had not taken a position,” Anglin said.
The two supporters are Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson; those opposed are Reps. Sanford Bishop and John Barrow.
Anglin said Scott told them he voted against same-sex marriage because he believed he was voting the way his constituents would want him to vote. He also told them he attended gay former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank’s wedding last summer.
They pushed and asked him if he would sign on as a co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act if it was reintroduced — legislation that would repeal the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act and require the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages. Anglin said Scott said he would consider it. Anglin and Palsgaard also asked Scott about supporting other LGBT equality bills, such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. A spokesperson told them via email Scott would consider these requests as well.
‘DOES HE REALLY MEAN IT?”
While thrilled that Scott said he supports marriage equality, Aglin said he and Palsgaard wondered if the congressman was only telling them something to get them out of his office.
“It was so simple. He said, ‘I support it.’ We didn’t have to open our computer at all to show him the numbers and research. We did nothing to convince him, which made it a whole lot easier for us,” Anglin said.
“But we thought, ‘Is he being up front with us?’ He had opposed [same-sex marriage] in past. We wondered, ‘Does he really mean it?’”
With those concerns, they emailed Joe Jervis of the popular LGBT blog Joe.My.God. and also HRC describing their meeting with Scott. Jervis emailed for a response from Scott’s office and received a one-sentence response, “Congressman Scott fully supports marriage equality.”
Anglin and Palsgaard are not strangers to marriage equality activism. In January, they were one of five couples who marched with supporters to the DeKalb Count Probate Court in downtown Decatur to ask for a marriage license, knowing they would be denied because Georgia does not recognize same-sex marriages.
“We both consider ourselves activists,” Anglin said. “As voters living in his district, we would want to know what he thought on an issue so important to us, especially since he had not made his view public.
“And now that he has come out and says it is OK, it makes it easier for the next person and the next person. And that’s how laws get changed and equality is ensured for all people,” he said.
After meeting with local activists Jens Palsgaard and Rob Anglin, U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) has come out publicly in support of same-sex marriage. (File photos)