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06 August 2010

Barnes, Deal & Handel Agree: No Gay Marriages in Georgia

Following a federal judge's ruling that the California gay marriage ban is unconstitutional, several gay Georgians gathered in midtown Atlanta to celebrate the victory.

Smiles were evident everywhere as people cheered the decision, holding up signs that said “NO H8,” “Honk for Equality,” and even “Will you marry me?”

Why is this important to me as a gay Georgian? Each victory should be celebrated,” [Paul] Schappaugh said Wednesday while standing in front of Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse.

“This is a long road and this is just one more victory in a long road to the Supreme Court,” he added. “Georgia does not have a clear path to victory, so we gay Georgians know it’s the federal government that is going to have to tell our citizens of Georgia to give us equality.”

Bagby, Dyana (2010-8-4). Gay Atlanta celebrates federal victory in favor of gay marriage after Prop 8 ruled unconstitutional. Georgia Voice. Retrieved on 2010-8-6.

For GLBT Georgians like Paul Schappaugh, their only hope for marriage equality now lies with the federal government after the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor all spoke in favor of maintaining Georgia's gay marriage ban in spite of the federal court's ruling on the issue [McCaffrey, Shannon (2010-8-5). Ga. gov candidates oppose gay marriage ruling. Macon Telegraph. Retrieved on 2010-8-6.].

The anti-gay marriage positions of Republicans Nathan Deal and Karen Handel are not surprising. A Republican candidate supporting same-sex marriages is political suicide in a primary dominated by socially conservative voters.

However, Democrat Roy Barnes may face some repercussions from the GLBT community for his opposition to same-sex marriages.

Barnes was endorsed by the gay publication The Georgia Voice shortly after his July 20th Democratic primary win [Douglas-Brown, Laura (2010-7-23). Editorial: Roy Barnes for governor. The Georgia Voice. Retrieved on 2010-8-6.]. Barnes also won a straw poll conducted by the GLBT-oriented Atlanta Stonewall Democrats [Project Q Atlanta (2010-2-23). Gay Dems: We want Barnes as Georgia governor. Project Q Atlanta. Retrieved on 2010-8-6.].

If Barnes' support of Georgia's gay marriage ban is seen as evidence of him turning his back on the GLBT community, Barnes could suffer a backlash not unlike the one against 2006 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cathy Cox [Associated Press (2006-5-29). Gay Voters May Boycott Primary, Hurt Cox Campaign. First Coast News. Retrieved on 2010-8-6.].