Saturday, August 01, 2009

Victory Fund Endorses Ga.’s First Openly Gay GOP Elected Official

Jul 24, 2009

National LGBT group will stay out of crowded District 6 race for now

Brian Bates won endorsement from the national Victory Fund in his bid to return to his seat on the Doraville City Council this week.

Bates, who announced his reelection bid Tuesday and received the endorsement the same day, is the third openly gay Georgian candidate to win an endorsement from the Victory Fund, a non-partisan organization which funds and trains viable LGBT candidates. ...

Georgia’s only openly gay Republican, Bates won his seat in 2007 to fill a term left open when a city councilman ran for mayor. He is currently unopposed, and, if elected, Bates said he finds himself in an enviable position of not having to fight battles to defend or expand gay rights in Doraville.

“I don’t know what else there is to do; we’ve got domestic partnership benefits for city employees, we have protection for sexual orientation and gender identity in our anti-discrimination policy. We can’t marry people. So if there is anything else we can do I would certainly consider it,” he said.

Bates’ focus is on redevelopment and business issues; he would like to see Doraville become friendlier to business and he wants to have a hand in developing the shuttered General Motors plant just south of Interstate 285 near the Doraville MARTA station. While some have suggested creating a development along the lines of Atlantic Station, Bates would like to see something different. ...

The Victory Fund is holding off making any endorsements for Atlanta City Council District 6, where three gay men are running to succeed Ann Fauver in what could be the highest profile race involving gay candidates this year.

“It’s unlikely [there will be an endorsement] because there are so many gay candidates running,” Victory Fund spokesperson Denis Dison told Southern Voice. “We typically do not endorse, well, I will say we generally do not endorse, in races where there is more than one gay candidate.”

Dison later sent an email explaining, “I also want to correct myself on one item. We could still make an endorsement in the District 6 race before it is final.”

District 6 currently pits three gay men, Steve Brodie, Alex Wan and Miguel Gallegos against Elizabeth Coyle, Bahareh Azizi and Tad Christian, as they vie to replace Fauver, who will step down at the end of her current term. ...