Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Atlanta Mayoral Race Building Steam

The race to be the next mayor of Atlanta is heating up. The latest move appears to be pitting the gay and lesbian community against the African-American community.

First, let me explain the players. There are no Republicans, and the mayoral race is supposedly non-partisan, meaning that they do not declare party affiliation, but both candidates are Democrats. I think it is illegal to be Republican in Atlanta proper.

On one side is Mary Norwood, the white woman, whom drew a lot of fire during the primary for being, well, white.

On the other side is Kasim Reed, an African-American man.

The gay and lesbian community are not real happy with Mr. Reed's stand on the whole gay marriage issue and are bucking the endorsements he is getting from several prominent Democrats and the Democrat party itself. Atlanta has a large gay/lesbian community. They fight for space next to the wannabe aspiring rap performers.
Kasim Reed’s anti-marriage equality position is not only an insult to the thousands of tax-paying gay and lesbian Atlantans, his position represents a step backwards for a city which is currently led by Shirley Franklin, who favors marriage equality. Like many of you, we are disappointed in this year’s race, and not just for Senator Reed’s position, the party’s intervention, and the lock step support from party faithful.

The Democratic Party of Georgia asks gays and lesbians to compromise on marriage equality in voting for Reed this year, while doing nothing elsewhere to improve the discriminatory treatment we feel from state government. No member of the Democratic caucus has introduced legislation to repeal the 2004 anti-marriage equality amendment; nor to create a parallel structure of civil unions, nor domestic partnerships, nor any other advance.

Is it any wonder gays and lesbians are – for the first time in memory – ignoring the party’s candidate endorsement to support the pro marriage equality, Mary Norwood?
During the primary the Reed camp managed to successfully paint Norwood as a Republican. Nothing could be further from the truth, but the label has stuck and too many people around here are clueless as to the truth.

I know this is all about local events, but having a front row seat I am enjoying the class warfare being waged by the Democrats, pitting various factions of their base against each other. The commercials are priceless, and most of them try to tiptoe around the pink elephant in the room, which is race. They have done everything but come right out and accuse the other side of being racists, but sitting on the outside and watching the news I think at this point even Helen Keller could figure out what this all about.

Earlier this week a local news station captured video of some Kasim Reed supporters removing Mary Norwood signs from people's lawns and elsewhere and taking them to one of Reed's campaign offices and getting paid for them.

I really enjoy watching Dems eat their own.

Anyway, with one more week to go it could get more interesting and it appears this election will revolve around which side gets out their voters more then it will be about any issue.

And, of course, if you are a gay/lesbian African-American, you are really in a bind.

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