Sec­ond to Nunn:

Is Demo­cratic U.S. Se­nate can­di­date dis­re­spect­ing LGBT vot­ers?

GA Voice - - Front Page -

The first time I met a U.S. pres­i­dent’s grand­son, I got my ass groped in the dim back­room of a Mid­town gay bar. An affin­ity cau­cus of the Demo­cratic Party of Ge­or­gia was host­ing a meet-and-greet with pro­gres­sive can­di­dates and LGBT vot­ers, and as a friend in­tro­duced me to Ja­son Carter, my boyfriend snuck up and grabbed a hand­ful of my booty.

My eyes widened in em­bar­rass­ment, but I re­mem­ber Carter chuck­ling off my boyfriend’s col­or­ful greet­ing.

Un­til last week, I thought Carter might wince at the re-telling of that en­counter, com­mit­ted as he seemed to be to down­play his com­fort with, and support of, LGBT Ge­or­gians dur­ing his gu­ber­na­to­rial bid. How­ever, Carter’s aplomb dur­ing our ini­tial meet­ing shone again in his re­sponse to de­mands that he support same-sex mar­riage.

“Mar­riage equal­ity is some­thing I be­lieve in and have for a very, very, very long time,” Carter told Cre­ative Loaf­ing due to prod­ding from At­lanta’s LGBT me­dia. “Every­body who knows me knows where I stand.”

Carter’s po­si­tion seems sin­cere, but his state­ment was the don­key ma­nure LGBT res­i­dents should ex­pect to come out of Ge­or­gia Democrats.

Among the “every­body” clue­less about where ex­actly Carter stood on mar­riage equal­ity were the many LGBT sup­port­ers who in­sisted that the writ­ers and ac­tivists seek­ing clar­i­fi­ca­tion were naive, reck­less and self­ish for try­ing to push Carter too far to the left in a statewide race.

The games Carter plays with his po­lit­i­cal mes­sag­ing are dis­taste­ful but for­giv­able, given the cer­ti­tude of his re­cent state­ments. I have faith that his heart is with our move­ment, and that his lead­er­ship of our state would be com­pre­hen­sively su­pe­rior to that of in­cum­bent Gov. Nathan Deal.

It’s harder to for­give Demo­cratic U.S. Se­nate hope­ful Michelle Nunn, whose per­sonal views closely align with Carter’s, but who is, at best, a closet-case ally of LGBT equal­ity. A leaked cam­paign memo re­vealed that Nunn tar­geted LGBT donors for more than a quar­ter-mil­lion dol­lars, while hav­ing the same pol­icy po­si­tion on same-sex mar­riage as her Repub­li­can op­po­nent, David Per­due.

“In the hol­low­est op­po­si­tion that can be ex­pected of a GOP can­di­date in the Deep South, Per­due told the Ma­ri­etta Daily Jour­nal that he fa­vored the state’s ban on same­sex mar­riage be­cause “As a se­na­tor, I’ve got to up­hold...what­ever the law of the land.

“If that changes, then I will support that with the pop­u­la­tion,” Per­due added. As toxic as this po­si­tion could be per­ceived, Per­due stated it in Fe­bru­ary, sur­vived a ra­bid Repub­li­can pri­mary, then up­set a heav­ily fa­vored con­gress­man in the long­est runoff in Ge­or­gia his­tory.

His def­er­ence to state pol­icy is iden­ti­cal to that of Michelle Nunn, who, pre­sented with an op­por­tu­nity to ad­vance the con­ver­sa­tion about gay rights in Ge­or­gia, has de­ployed talk­ing points from the 1850s.

More­over, “Nunn” re­mains among the foulest names in LGBT his­tory due to the dis­hon­ored sol­diers and de­stroyed lives that re­sulted from her fa­ther’s cham­pi­oning the anti-gay prej­u­dice that be­came “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Far from try­ing to re­deem her fam­ily name, Nunn has set­tled for be­ing among the last gen­er­a­tion of pro­gres­sive politi­cians to re­sist the in­evitabil­ity of same-sex mar­riage.

Sadly, a good num­ber of LGBT Ge­or­gians ac­cept be­ing cast as po­lit­i­cal poi­son. We gush over, and give to, politi­cians who re­duce us to Un­men­tion­ables, far beyond the is­sue of mar­riage. We ac­cept the wink-andnods of closet-case al­lies be­cause we be­lieve ev­ery­one ben­e­fits if their support for us is kept on the down low.

There is no ben­e­fit to our cause be­ing shushed to pro­tect hid­den al­liances. De­mand­ing the grand­est con­ces­sions from our op­po­nents while ac­cept­ing the cheap­est to­kens from our al­lies is not savvy, but rather po­lit­i­cal grabass.

Ryan Lee is an At­lanta writer.

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