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Out Former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard Enters 2017 Mayoral Race

Longtime politician and gay rights activist Cathy Woolard has tossed her hat into the ring in the race to become the next mayor of Atlanta, Georgia. The GA Voice broke the news yesterday.

WoolardIn 1997, Woolard made history by becoming the first openly gay elected official in the state of Georgia - as a member of the Atlanta City Council. Just a few years later, she would not only become the first female president of the City Council, but also the first openly gay one, too.

She explained why she finally decided to run for the big seat.

“I’ve probably been thinking about this since I was in office, off and on...In politics, timing is everything and I had some friends running the last couple times and just decided this time that I’m going to do it. I’ve been thinking hard about it and what’s in store for me at this point in my life and I’ve never let go of how much I love Atlanta and all the wonderful things as a city we can do going into the future, not the least of which is finishing the Beltline.” 

Woolard has not announced a start date for her campaign though the ambitious politician says that she's "going to run hard." Soon after Woolard's announcement, state Rep. Margaret Kaiser also announced her intention to run, bringing the total number of official candidates to two. The mayoral election will take place in 2017.

Watch a video interview with Woolard from 2014, wherein she talks about marriage equality, civil rights and the election of gay political candidates, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Out Former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard Enters 2017 Mayoral Race" »


LGBT Georgians Find Unlikely Ally In Former Defender Of State's Anti-Sodomy Law: VIDEO

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Mike Bowers, the former Georgia Attorney General, has announced his opposition to “deeply troubling” pending religious liberty legislation in the state despite a long history of opposing gay rights, reports Buzzfeed.

Bowers, who served as attorney general from 1981 to 1997, defended Georgia’s sodomy law in the landmark Supreme Court case Bowers v. Hardwick. He also ignominiously rescinded a job offer to Robin Shahar after he found out that she planned to have a same-sex commitment ceremony with her then-partner. In 2013, Shahar was appointed as Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's LGBT adviser.

Despite this anti-LGBT past, Bowers is expected to hold a news conference tomorrow to discuss his analysis of the pending legislation which is modeled in part on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

He has said that the legislation would provide an “excuse to practice invidious discrimination” and "permit everyone to become a law unto themselves in terms of deciding what laws they will or will not obey, based on whatever religious tenets they may profess or create at any given time.”

Additionally, Bowers has concluded that the measures could be used to “justify putting hoods back on the Ku Klux Klan” because people could use religious exemptions to the Anti-Mask Act which aimed to reduce the KKK’s presence in the state.

Watch a 2012 interview with Bowers relecting on his time in Georgia politics, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "LGBT Georgians Find Unlikely Ally In Former Defender Of State's Anti-Sodomy Law: VIDEO" »


Anti-Gay Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran Files Discrimination Lawsuit: VIDEO

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Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, who was fired last month by the city’s Mayor Kasim Reed for publishing a controversial book labeling homosexuality as a “sexual perversion,” has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, reports AJC.com.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c70f613f970b-800wiCochran was initially suspended from his position last November after employees came forward to complain about the anti-gay opinions he had expressed in self-published book Who Told You That You Are Naked?, which also compared homosexuality with bestiality and pederasty.

Cochran will be represented by Christian litigation group Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization known for actively spreading anti-gay hate around the world.

Late last month, Cochran filed a federal discrimination complaint contending religious discrimination. City spokeswoman Anne Torres said at the time that it intends to fully defend Reed's decision.

Reed has said that the firing was not a direct result of homophobic comments in the book, but because of Cochran's ability to manage the department and his failure to get clearance to write the book.

Watch a report on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Anti-Gay Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran Files Discrimination Lawsuit: VIDEO" »


Anti-gay Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran Says God Has Promised Him Vindication: VIDEO

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Former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, who was fired last month because of anti-gay remarks in a self-published book, has compared himself to Jesus, Job and other biblical figures, reports GA Voice.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c70f613f970b-800wiCochran was initially suspended from his position for one month last November for going against city policy by writing and self-publishing a book comparing homosexuality with bestiality and pederasty titled Who Told You That You Are Naked?

Last month, he officially filed a federal discrimination complaint contending that the termination of employment was a case of religious discrimination.

In a January 25th at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Cartersville, Georgia, Cochran said that God spoke to him to explain that his firing was “God-induced suffering”:

“This is not as a result of something that I didn’t do that God is chastening me for, this is something that God has chosen to do because of his purpose and design for not just me and my family but for a greater cause for the kingdom of God.

“God reminded me that I’m in pretty good company when it comes to God-induced sufferings. He reminded me, brothers and sisters, that Job was just minding his own business, being a faithful husband, taking good care of his children, minding his flocks in his fields and god volunteered him for an unimaginable God-induced suffering. But after he endured the suffering, God blessed him with twice as much as all that he had prior to the suffering.”

Cochran also reiterated his belief that “you can’t be fruitful and multiply unless you have a man and a woman."

Watch the sermon, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Homophobic Fired Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran Files Federal Discrimination Complaint

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Fired Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran officially filed a federal discrimination complaint contending that he faced religious discrimination after the city fired him for publishing a book with controversial, homophobic statements reports ajc.comChief Cochran mentioned that he was considering filing the complaint at a rally orchestrated by the Georgia Baptist Convention to reinstate him last week. The complaint filed on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by Cochran's attorney, Jonathan Crumly, alleges violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 by the City of Atlanta. Attorney Crumly, who is allied with group Alliance Defending Freedom that has rallied to Cochran's defense, issued a statement on behalf of Cochran.

Said Crumly:

"Americans are guaranteed the freedom to live without fear of losing their jobs because of their beliefs and thoughts. We are continuing to evaluate all available legal options to vindicate Chief Cochran after his unjust termination."

Atlanta city spokeswoman Anne Torres said the city did not know of the complaint, but it intends to fully defend mayor Kasim Reed's decision to fire Cochran. Reed affirmed in past statements that Cochran's firing was not a direct result of homophobic comments in the book, but because of Cochran's ability to manage the department and disregard for obeying the rules including not getting clearance to write the book.

Cochran, a deacon at Elizabeth Baptist Church, claims in his EEOC complaint that he did obtain permission from the city's ethics office to publish the book but was later told he also needed the mayor's permission and that he also violated "unspecified policies." Cochran says top city officials told him their investigation showed "zero" instances where he discriminated against anyone as chief.


New York Times Defends Firing Of Anti-gay Atlanta Fire Chief: VIDEO

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The New York Times has defended the decision of Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed (above) to fire Kelvin Cochran (below right), the anti-gay Atlanta fire chief who self-published a book he wrote titled Who Told You That You Were Naked?

In the book, Cochran labels homosexuality a "sexual perversion" and compares homosexuality to bestiality and pederasty.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c72fdc93970b-250wiThe newspaper argues that Reed “did the right thing and dismissed Mr. Cochran for what he called poor judgment: specifically, for failing to get approval for the book’s publication, for commenting publicly on his suspension after being told not to, and for exposing the city to possible discrimination lawsuits.”

“Mr. Cochran said he was fired ‘for no reason other than my Christian faith.’ But he and his sudden coterie of supporters have it backward. This case is not about free speech or religious freedom. It is, as Mr. Reed said at a news conference, about ‘making sure that we have an environment in government where everyone, no matter who they love, can come to work from 8 to 5:30 and do their job and then go home without fear of being discriminated against."

The Times argues that if Cochran “were an adherent of a religion that avowed the inferiority of white people, and that he distributed literature to that effect...he would not have lasted another day in a job that requires him to manage and protect the well-being of a large and diverse work force.”

“It should not matter that the investigation found no evidence that Mr. Cochran had mistreated gays or lesbians. His position as a high-level public servant makes his remarks especially problematic, and requires that he be held to a different standard.

“The First Amendment already protects religious freedom. Nobody can tell Mr. Cochran what he can or cannot believe. If he wants to work as a public official, however, he may not foist his religious views on other city employees who have the right to a boss who does not speak of them as second-class citizens.”

Watch a January 6th press conference in which Reed announces his decision, AFTER THE JUMP...

Update: NOM's Brian Brown isn't happy with the paper's position on the matter, writing:

But the biggest and most dangerous lie the New York Times put forward is that Christians (and those of other faiths) who actually have the temerity to speak up on their beliefs (you know, don’t hide their light under a bushel) on marriage and sexuality, should be fired.

Yes, the New York Times actually states that employees "have the right to a boss who does not speak of them as second class citizens." When the Times says that we are speaking of employees as second class citizens, it lies again—of course we don't believe that—we just know that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. And even though the Times acknowledged that there is absolutely no evidence that Mr. Cochran discriminated against gays or lesbians, it still argues that he should be fired because he had the temerity to publicly acknowledge his beliefs in this book.

The Times has just declared war on Christians and members of other faith communities that serve in government position. It is open season, according to the New York Times, to make sure that we lose our jobs. The new authoritarians now state openly that we can have our beliefs—we simply can’t talk about them. And then they are going to actually have the gall to say that "this is not about free speech or religious freedom."

Continue reading "New York Times Defends Firing Of Anti-gay Atlanta Fire Chief: VIDEO" »


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