Po­lice called on queer Ge­or­gia leg­is­la­tor af­ter Han­del ques­tions

GA Voice - - Nationalnews -

At the tail end of the race to be­come Ge­or­gia’s 6th District Con­gres­sional rep­re­sen­ta­tive, for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Karen Han­del ap­peared to dou­ble down on her much pub­li­cized 2010 com­ments on gay adop­tion. Han­del told both a Re­porter News­pa­pers writer and the mother of a LGBT child that her “faith calls me to a very dif­fer­ent place on these is­sues.”

Both ex­changes took place dur­ing a cam­paign stop at Wright’s Gour­ment Sand­wich Shop in Dunwoody in mid-June, days be­fore the spe­cial elec­tion. For­mer Ge­or­gia Voice ed­i­tor and cur­rent Re­porter News­pa­pers writer Dyana Bagby spoke with Han­del on a num­ber of is­sues.

“What I have al­ways be­lieved is that what has to be paramount is what is the best in­ter­est of the child,” Han­del told Bagby. “The best in­ter­est of the child. Pe­riod, end of para­graph. That’s not for you to de­cide. That’s not for me to de­cide. It’s for the child ad­vo­cates to de­cide, whether that be the court or the child’s guardian.”

The mother who later ap­proached Han­del asked her what pro­tec­tions she would have should she choose to adopt in the fu­ture.

Ac­cord­ing to video taken by a Demo­cratic tracker and ob­tained by Ge­or­gia Voice, Han­del re­sponded with, “My faith also calls me to be com­pas­sion­ate, and so I al­ways try to do that. I don’t — I’m not aware of any­thing in the law that, right now, that I’m aware of, that is gonna be im­pact­ful from a dis­crim­i­na­tory stand­point against your daugh­ter.”

Han­del’s com­ments come af­ter the spot­light grew on her 2010 com­ments, which were made dur­ing a run for state gov­er­nor. 11Alive re­porter Doug Richards ques­tioned her gay rights views, and Han­del said she was against same-sex mar­riage and would con­sider leg­is­la­tion out­law­ing gay adop­tion, say­ing a home with gay par­ents “is not the best house­hold for a child.” Ac­cord­ing to Re­wire, lo­cal area ra­dio sta­tion WABE called the po­lice on openly queer Rep. Park Can­non (D-At­lanta) af­ter she tried to speak with 6th Con­gres­sional District can­di­date Karen Han­del fol­low­ing a public de­bate on June 8.

“Af­ter the de­bate was over, as an elected of­fi­cial, I wanted to do a lit­tle diplo­matic work,” Can­non told Demo­cratic sup­port­ers at a LGBT fam­i­lies event for can­di­date Jon Os­soff the next day. “I said to [Han­del], ‘You did a good job. And if you’re elected, I want to work with you. But I want to work with you on a spe­cific is­sue, and that has to do with gay mar­riage and gay adop­tion. I have seen what you’ve been say­ing in the me­dia, and as a gay per­son, I want to lever­age what I have on the ground here in Ge­or­gia to help you.’ She lit­er­ally turned her head and walked away.”

As Can­non left the de­bate space, she was ap­proached by a WABE staff mem­ber, who ques­tioned her about speak­ing to Han­del. The staffer then called a po­lice of­fi­cer, who called for backup, be­fore let­ting the leg­is­la­tor leave.

Hi­lary Sil­ver­board, the vice pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing and busi­ness strat­egy for WABE par­ent com­pany Public Broad­cast­ing At­lanta, is­sued a state­ment af­ter the in­ci­dent, say­ing WABE was to pro­vide se­cu­rity for can­di­dates while on the stu­dio premises, and es­cort­ing Han­del to the door away from au­di­ence mem­bers was hon­or­ing se­cu­rity pro­to­col.

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