Count­ing down the anti-LGBT vil­lains of the year

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State Sen. Wil­liam Ligon (R-Brunswick) pre­vented an up­date of Ge­or­gia’s adop­tion laws in or­der to make an anti-LGBT, faux-re­li­gious po­lit­i­cal state­ment.

Mere days be­fore the ses­sion ended in March, Sen. Ligon abruptly added his amend­ment to House Bill 159, tak­ing on a con­di­tion that would al­low pri­vate agen­cies that re­ceive state fund­ing to refuse LGBT fam­i­lies. This ru­ined all mo­men­tum the bill had. Even Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ral­ston’s dis­agree­ment fell on deaf ears.

Leg­is­la­tors had too lit­tle time left in the 2017 ses­sion to save it. Thanks to Sen. Ligon, the bill won’t see the light of day un­til the 2018 ses­sion starts back in Jan­uary.

4. State Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell)

Ge­or­gia state Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell) — wife of for­mer sec­re­tary of U.S. Health and Hu­man Ser­vices — made na­tional head­lines for talk­ing quar­an­tines while in a hear­ing on HIV preven­tion.

“I don’t want to say the ‘quar­an­tine’ word,

De­cem­ber 22, 2017

but I guess I just said it,” said Price dur­ing the Oc­to­ber hear­ing. “Is there an abil­ity, since I would guess that pub­lic dol­lars are ex­pended heav­ily in pro­phy­laxis and treat­ment of this con­di­tion? It seems to me it’s al­most fright­en­ing, the num­ber of peo­ple who are liv­ing that are po­ten­tially car­ri­ers. Well, they are car­ri­ers, with the po­ten­tial to spread, whereas in the past they died more read­ily and then at that point they are not pos­ing a risk.”

3. U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Pooler)

Dur­ing a town hall meet­ing in Au­gust, Con­gress­man Buddy Carter stated that he not only agreed with Trump’s trans­gen­der mil­i­tary ban but added, “I don’t want ‘em serv­ing in the mil­i­tary. I’m sorry.”

Carter has a his­tory of dis­crim­i­na­tion. He strongly sup­ported the First Amend­ment De­fense Act (FADA) in 2015, which was in­tro­duced in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the U.S. Supreme Court le­gal­iz­ing same-sex mar­riage. The rest of Ge­or­gia’s Repub­li­can con­gress­men spon­sored it too, in­clud­ing Reps. Rick Allen, Doug Collins, Tom Graves, Jody Hice, Barry Lou­d­er­milk, Tom Price, Austin Scott, Lynn West­more­land and Rob Woodall.

2. U.S. Rep. Karen Han­del (R-Roswell)

In 2010, Rep. Han­del gave an in­fa­mous in­ter­view with WXIA-TV in which she came out against mar­riage equal­ity and adop­tion. She said that mar­riage is “be­tween a man and a woman,” said she’d sup­port a ban on LGBT adop­tion — calling it “not in the best in­ter­est” of the chil­dren — and bragged about vot­ing in the past to deny do­mes­tic part­ner ben­e­fits.

Dur­ing this year’s 6th Con­gres­sional District race against Jon Os­soff, a con­stituent recorded a video of her­self ask­ing Han­del about LGBT adop­tion. The con­stituent, de­scrib­ing her­self as a mother of a les­bian daugh­ter, ex­pressed con­cern that the Trump-Pence ad­min­is­tra­tion would find a way to deny her daugh­ter a fam­ily. The video showed Han­del re­ply­ing, “My faith calls me to a dif­fer­ent place on the is­sue.”

Han­del also walked away from queer state Rep. Park Can­non (D-At­lanta) while Can­non was at­tempt­ing to speak with Han­del about LGBT is­sues af­ter a de­bate.

1. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump

Pres­i­dent Trump has proved to be a detri­men­tal force for LGBT peo­ple na­tion­wide, in­clud­ing Ge­or­gia. On his first day in of­fice, all LGBT con­tent dis­ap­peared from the White House web­site.

In March of 2017, Trump’s De­part­ment of Com­merce erased sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and gen­der iden­tity from the up­com­ing 2020 U.S. Cen­sus. The cen­sus is used to al­lo­cate fund­ing and gauge pol­icy ef­fec­tive­ness, and Ge­or­gians could have ben­e­fited greatly from said data but were once again ig­nored by Trump. Fol­low­ing the out­cry, the U.S. Cen­sus Bureau said it would in­clude a ques­tion about sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion in at least one of its more than 130 sur­veys.

Trans­gen­der stu­dents in Ge­or­gia had to en­dure Trump with­draw­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s guid­ance that said stu­dents should be al­lowed ac­cess to the bath­room match­ing their gen­der. He then of­fered a mes­sage of am­biva­lence in the face of their strug­gles.

Trump went on to at­tack trans men and women in the mil­i­tary — jeop­ar­diz­ing count­less fu­tures here in Ge­or­gia — by tweet­ing that the U.S. gov­ern­ment would not ac­cept or al­low trans in­di­vid­u­als to serve in any ca­pac­ity. Although the ban is cur­rently blocked by a fed­eral judge, it has yet to be struck down.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump

U.S. Rep. Karen Han­del

State Rep. Betty Price

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter

Sen. Wil­liam Ligon

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