Park Can­non wins Ge­or­gia House District 58 in runoff

GA Voice - - Newsbriefs -

Fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Rep. Si­mone Bell in Novem­ber 2015, there was con­cern about the fall­ing num­ber of LGBT voices in the state Leg­is­la­ture. But the com­mu­nity could rest a lit­tle eas­ier af­ter Jan­uary’s spe­cial elec­tion to fill the seat. Park Can­non, who iden­ti­fies as queer, beat for­mer state Rep. Ralph Long III in a runoff.

Fol­low­ing the elec­tion, Can­non was in­vited to speak in July at the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion, where she an­nounced, “I’m Park Can­non. I am a woman. I’m African-Amer­i­can. I’m queer. And I am the new­est mem­ber of the Ge­or­gia House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.”

Gov. Deal ve­toes anti-LGBT HB 757

Ge­or­gia’s con­ser­va­tive law­mak­ers in­tro­duced and passed the anti-LGBT House Bill 757 in mid-March, a move the Hu­man Rights Cam­paign called “shock­ing.” The bill had pro­vi­sions say­ing no pas­tor could be forced to per­form a same-sex wed­ding cer­e­mony and al­lowed faith-based or­ga­ni­za­tions to dis­crim­i­nate against groups or em­ploy­ees that “vi­o­late such faith-based or­ga­ni­za­tion’s sin­cerely held re­li­gious be­lief.” Gov. Nathan Deal ve­toed the bill. “I do not think we have to dis­crim­i­nate against any­one to pro­tect the faith-based com­mu­nity in Ge­or­gia,” Deal said in his veto re­marks.

Ge­or­gia De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tions un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion

In April, Ge­or­gia Voice broke the story that the US De­part­ment of Jus­tice and the US At­tor­ney’s Of­fice opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into how the Ge­or­gia De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tions treats LGBT pris­on­ers.

“We’re look­ing at po­ten­tial vi­o­la­tions of the Civil Rights of In­sti­tu­tion­al­ized Per­sons Act (CRIPA), which deals with the con­sti­tu­tional Ela­tion over Ge­or­gia Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of HB 757 in March was fol­lowed by mourn­ing over June’s Pulse mas­sacre. (File photo) rights of pris­on­ers in in­sti­tu­tions like pris­ons,” said John Horn, US at­tor­ney for the North­ern District of Ge­or­gia. “What we can say is that we have re­ceived some com­plaints re­lat­ing to al­le­ga­tions of abuse in Ge­or­gia pris­ons.”

One of the high-pro­file cases re­lated to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is that of trans­gen­der woman Ash­ley Di­a­mond, a Rome, Ge­or­gia, res­i­dent who al­leged mis­treat­ment, sex­ual abuse and de­nial of med­i­cal treat­ment. The Jus­tice De­part­ment said this is the first in­ves­ti­ga­tion it’s ever con­ducted that is fo­cused on LGBT pris­on­ers.

Mourn­ing with Or­lando

At­lanta’s LGBT and al­lied com­mu­ni­ties came out in force to mourn the loss of 49 lives and sup­port the 53 in­jured in a June 12 do­mes­tic ter­ror at­tack against Pulse night­club, a LGBT main­stay in Or­lando, Florida. In the days and weeks af­ter, At­lantans or­ga­nized a plethora of vig­ils and fundrais­ers, and there was an in­creased in­ter­est in ac­tive shooter sur­vival train­ing from the At­lanta Po­lice De­part­ment.

“I am heart­bro­ken, an­gry and de­ter­mined to fight against any sense­less acts of vi­o­lence and hate, es­pe­cially when it tar­gets a strong and lov­ing com­mu­nity,” les­bian Ge­or­gia House Rep. Karla Dren­ner (D-Avon­dale Es­tates) said fol­low­ing the at­tack. “Ter­ror­ism, gun vi­o­lence and ho­mo­pho­bia have no place in our so­ci­ety. Our thoughts and prayers con­tinue to be with

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