Atlanta mayoral candidates fight for gay vote

The mayoral race between a white women and a black man has spurred a new debate: which candidate is more pro-gay?
Former state Sen. Kasim Reed, left, has emphasized his gay-rights record, including a hate crimes bill. Councilwoman Mary Norwood attended an anti-Prop. 8 rally and features a rainbow flag on her website. (John Amis and John Bazemore / AP)
Former state Sen. Kasim Reed, left, has emphasized his gay-rights record, including a hate crimes bill. Councilwoman Mary Norwood attended an anti-Prop. 8 rally and features a rainbow flag on her website. (John Amis and John Bazemore / AP)

ATLANTA — The mayoral race between a white women and a black man has spurred a new debate: which candidate is more pro-gay?

“All of a sudden, overnight, it’s like an unbelievable push [to prove] who’s gayer,” said Glen Paul Freedman, chief of staff for City Council President.

Mary Norwood, a city council and if elected mayor would be the first white mayor since 1970, claims herself as the only mayoral candidate to support full marriage equality.  Her rival Kasim Reed, a former state senator supports civil unions, not gay marriage. However Reed still considers himself a friend to gays and lesbians for his effort in passing legislation in Georgia that extended hate crimes to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Unlike the bible belt state of Georgia, which banned gay marriage in 2004 by a 76% vote, Atlanta is known for its live-and-let-live attitude. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered individuals make up 12.8 percent of the city’s population according to a 2006 report by the UCLA law school’s Williams Institute.

To read more about this story visit the Los Angelos Times.

– Simon Husted

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