Tag Archive | "Georgia"

Commissioned For A Better Atlanta

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Joan Garner is originally from Washington D.C. but she has called Atlanta home since 1978. In fact her love for the city prompted her to become a Fulton County Commissioner in 2010 – a job she appreciates so much that she will be running for re-election this year.

In 2010, Joan Garner made history by becoming the first openly gay commissioner to serve Fulton County, GA. She has since proven her worth to the residents of Fulton County by performing official duties l like setting policy, approving the county budget and providing funding for Grady hospital. Her 2010 campaign focused strongly on building healthy communities and her 2014 re-election campaign’s focus remains overall the same: “Healthy citizens means you have a healthy county where people are able to work and create value,” Commissioner Garner explains, “I strongly endorse preventative measures that will create a strong and healthy work force and I will continue to do so in my new campaign.” In her mind, it is important to address the needs of all citizens, which for her means taking a bird’s eye perspective on things when it comes to promoting health and building a better community.

Because of her personal relationship – she is married to Judge Jane Morrison and they reside in the Old Fourth Ward – Garner also has an eye on current LGBT issues in Atlanta and Georgia as a whole.

“Discrimination is still a factor when you look at it broadly,” Joan Garner says, “There are still issues that directly target our rights as LGBT people. Gay marriage is still not legal and gay people still experience discrimination when it comes to housing and employment. The same goes for parenting and adoption where LGBT people just don’t have the same rights as others.” She also sees HIV/AIDS as a major issue for Atlanta’s gay community. Although the fight against HIV/AIDS is largely improving, it still has the power to instill fear in others and, for example, prevent people from coming out in the workplace. “It is still a group of citizens whose rights are not protected and, of course, I want to work toward changing that,” Commissioner Garner says, “The fact that I am an out lesbian provides me with a unique lens that I use when looking at legislation policy to make sure it becomes more inclusive.”

In the big picture, the U.S. has come a long way concerning gay rights, but zooming in on Georgia there are still major breakthroughs to be had. Gay marriage is still not recognized and legislation here seems to move very slow. Also, there have recently be en attempts made to approve bills that could potentially legalize discrimination against gays. Garner acknowledges that there is a long way to go: “Personally, I cannot sit still and let this happen, because I know what discrimination feels like—albeit from another arena. I’m not sure it will go away, but I do see an opportunity here. Because if there is something that needs to be protected, let’s come together and make that happen. I believe that out of push-back and out of friction comes growth.”

And how about gay marriage? When will it become legal in Georgia? Will it ever? Commissioner Garner remains optimistic here also. Being married herself (they tied the knot in Massachusetts), Garner strongly believes in the official union of two people: “I’ve been married four years now, but I don’t think Georgia is there yet. But I think we have a strong case with a lot of legislators that back it up. We have a good civil debate and also the mayor has come out in support of gay marriage—kudos to him on this action. It’s people like him and other fair-minded legislators that have voiced their support who will help turn this around for us. So maybe we won’t see legalized gay marriage this year or not even next year. But it is gaining momentum.”

The primary election for the Fulton County Board of Commissioners is May 20. Republican-led redistricting means Garner, elected to the District 6 post, is running for the District 4 seat. Garner’s re- election bid has been officially endorsed by Georgia Equality.

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Fox News Contributor To Host Atlanta Fundraiser For Anti-Gay Group

By D. David Kinney

Host of Atlanta’s Evening News on News/Talk WSB, Erick Erickson, is no stranger at right-wing events. He’s also a Fox News contributor and the editor of a conservative blog making it no wonder that Erickson gets invited to events with some extreme views. However, Erickson isn’t just reporting the news anymore. He’s now making major steps to try and actively bring more radically conservative anti-gay and anti-abortion laws to Georgia.

Next month Erickson will be hosting “An Evening With Erick Erickson” at the Hilton Atlanta Northeast for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). “As the go-to legal organization for social conservatives, ADF has compiled a record of extreme anti-gay activism,” Media Matters For America wrote on Friday. ADF is same group that helped write the religious freedom bills (HB 1023 and SB 377) that were considered by the Georgia Senate and House but were eventually stalled.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center reported in July 2013 that [ADF] has worked to help criminalize gay sex in Belize,” Media Matters wrote, “Benjamin Bull, the executive director of ADF Global, has applauded the criminalization of homosexuality in India and has traveled to Russia to meet with Yelena Mizulina, one of the authors of that country’s notorious ‘gay propaganda’ law.”

Think being anti-gay is enough for Erickson? No. He’s ramping up his anti-abortion efforts in Georgia, too. On Thursday, the AJC reported that “talk radio provocateur Erick Erickson has fessed up to being part of the effort to persuade the National Right to Life organization to disassociate itself from Georgia Right to Life.” Georgia Right to Life is an organization that fights abortion rights here in the peach state. Erickson is essentially trying to kill Georgia’s “most powerful anti-abortion force in the [Georgia] state Capitol,” the AJC explained.

Why is a conservative talk show host and Fox News contributor trying to take down a major conservative organization? Erickson is furious that the group isn’t extreme enough. He wants to create a new group, the Georgia Life Alliance, and has announced that he will be on its board.

Want to learn more about how to combat anti-gay efforts like Erickson’s self-titled fundraiser? Georgia Equality works tirelessly to advance fairness, safety and opportunity for our community. They do great work but it takes money. Consider making a donation to Georgia Equality so they can continue to defend gay rights. You can also become a sponsor for their 10th annual Evening For Equality. This year it will be at the Twelve Hotel at Atlantic Station on June 21, 2014.

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Is SB 1062 Discriminatory?

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Right now Arizona is considering passing a so-called religious freedom bill. The bill, which goes by SB 1062, is designed to allow business owners to refuse service to gays or other groups that offend their religious beliefs. And Georgia is right behind Arizona’s lead vying to pass the same legislation, earning Georgia a significant spot in the national debate about a similar bill named HB 1023.

These bills, that are nothing but profoundly discriminatory, are perhaps born out of fear or even worse bigotry, but the underlying truth is that they are some kind of counterreaction to how rapidly this country has changed within the past few years, where especially the topic of gay rights has been on the forefront of massive national change. The cultural hotspot is for many equal to the undermining of the freedom and ability of individuals of faith to act according to their religious beliefs. Many people of faith even feel that liberty of religion is in decline in this country.

The proposed  bill gives business owners the right to refuse service to people that offend their religious beliefs. But as it is pointed out in the embedded Anderson Cooper interview with Arizona Republican State Senator Al Melvin, the same legislation could be used to refuse service to a pregnant unmarried woman, because she, according to the Bible, is sinful. A fact that is adamantly denied by the senator, because ‘ who would refuse service to a pregnant woman?’ only underlining the absurdity of this bill.

As things stand now The LGBT status is not a protected category under federal law (although maybe it should be?), so in effect, there is nothing prohibiting business from refusing to serve any customer, including gays, in the first place. These newly proposed laws are simply codifying a right that already exists, so this is basically institutionalizing discrimination.

The supporters claim they are protecting their religious freedom, which is already protected under Civil Rights. So, these new laws are by no means providing any additional protection to people of faith, but are in fact formalizing the right of religious people to discriminate against others based on their supposed religious beliefs. And for now the main target seems to be gays!

So yes, SB 1062 is profoundly discriminatory and if the bill gets passed in Arizona and/or Georgia (with HB 1023) we have so far only seen the tip of the iceberg of the legal, social, and political absurdity of these laws.

The deadline to sign this anti-gay bill into law is this Friday.

For a more in-depth look and opinion on SB 1062 and HB 1023 please look for a full article on the subject in our upcoming Law & Politics Isuue out on March 13th.


Source: AJC, CNN, NPR

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Atlantans Frozen In Place

By D. David Kinney

It’s been a tough 24 hours since the snow first started to fall in Atlanta. Hundreds (if not thousands) of motorists became trapped on icy roads throughout Georgia yesterday. Some abandoned their vehicles and sought shelter in drug stores and Home Depot stores. Others stayed in their cars hoping they had enough gas to last until help arrived or the ice thawed. According to CNN and local news reports there are some motorists still stuck in their cars. This is what traffic looked like this morning according to Google Traffic:

Atlanta Traffic Map Snow

The roads in Atlanta continue to improve as the city and state throws ice at them; however, the danger of icy roads is not over. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed continue to urge Atlantans to stay off the roads, if possible. This is what traffic looked like on Google Traffic when this article was updated on Wednesday at 5 p.m.:

Atlanta Snow Traffic Google Map

The snow certainly caused a lot of headaches, but it has left our city draped in a blanket of white we don’t often see. Here are some shots of Midtown taken Wednesday afternoon:

Atlanta Snow Traffic Peachtree Midtown

Ten Atlanta, Table at Ten, Henry's Midtown Tavern, Campagnolo, Atlanta

FENUXE Gay Atlanta Skyline Snow Traffic

Piedmont Park Atlanta Snow Traffic  

Snowy 10th & Piedmont Intersection Atlanta Midtown Gay

Ten Atlanta Gay Bar Restaurant Snow

Ten Atlanta Snow Day

Got any great snow pics? Send them to us here and we’ll add them!

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Transgender Day Of Remembrance

 By D. David Kinney

Toady the Atlana LGBT community is coming together for the national Transgender Day of Remembrance. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, who murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder–like most anti-transgender murder cases–has yet to be solved,” the Transgender Day of Remembrance website explains.

In addition to honoring the victims of transphobia, “the event provides a forum for transgender communities and allies to raise awareness of the threat of violence faced by gender variant people and the persistence of prejudice felt by the transgender community,” HRC explains on their Transgender Day of Remembrance webpage.

If you’d like to join others in observing the Transgender Day of Remembrance in Atlanta meet on the steps of the State Capitol (206 Washignton St SW, Atlanta, GA 30334) November 20th at 6 p.m.

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American Idol Singers Line Up In Midtown

By D. David Kinney

American Idol has apparently returned to Atlanta. On Tuesday singers lined up outside of the W Hotel Midtown and now they’re lined up again this morning. A representative from the hotel said, “American Idol isn’t here. This is a private event and there are no open auditions.” Well… the giant signs that say “American Idol” out front beg to differ.

With scores of people lined up outside practicing their scales this is definitely the Atlanta callbacks taking place. Selected singers, from auditions that took place earlier this summer in Gwinnett, will finally have the opportunity to get in front of this year’s judges: Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick, Jr.

Audition American Idol FENUXE Gay

I’m not sure why the W Hotel Midtown acted like this is some giant secret. Even American Idol’s Facebook page spilled the beans:


W Atlanta Midtown’s Marketing Manager, Angel Brown Touwsma, confirmed to FENUXE this afternoon that American Idol was indeed filming at the hotel this week. Touwsma also confirmed the auditions were for callbacks and were not publicized. She credited the hotel’s Operational and Security Teams for keeping the event running smoothly and remaining low key. 

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Three States Want Gay Marriage For Christmas

By D. David Kinney

Legalizing gay marriage would be a wonderful Christmas present for Georgia, but we don’t stand a chance of getting it so soon. However, there are three states that could see gay marriage legalized by Christmas: New Mexico, Hawaii, and Illinois.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is arguing a case today before the New Mexico Supreme Court regarding marriage certificates issued to gay couples earlier this year. Eight county clerks in New Mexico took it upon themselves to issue marriage certificates to gay couples and now the ACLU is asking New Mexico’s highest court if their unions are legal. 

New Mexico is a state to watch because it doesn’t have a constitutional gay marriage ban and “its the only state where laws regulating marriages don’t have references to specific genders,” the Washington Post reported. Marriage equality advocates believe that this unique set of circumstances will allow them to soon realize success.

So, what is New Mexico’s chance for success? They’ve got a good chance of getting a positive court decision; however, their chances aren’t quite as good as Hawaii’s. 

FENUXE Gay Atlanta Neil Abercrombie

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie

Further west in Hawaii a special legislative session is planned so legislators can debate and actually vote on a same-sex marriage bill. The special session was called by Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie and starts next Monday. Hawaii’s Governor is a Democrat and its House and Senate are controlled by the Democrats. Governor Abercrombie supports the legislation and gay marriage advocates believe Hawaii will be the 15th state to legalize gay marriage. Michael Golojuch, president of the GLBT Caucus of the Hawaii Democratic Party told Hawaii News Now, “It’s not if we win — it’s how big we win.”

Hawaii’s chances? They’re great! This is a state to watch closely next week.

Marriage equality supporters back East in Illinois are once again urging lawmakers to approve gay marriage. Advocates this week marched around the Capitol in Springfield and rallied with speeches from U. S. Senator Dick Durbin and Illinois’ Governor Pat Quinn. The Illinois Senate previously passed legislation legalizing gay marriage; however, the bill failed in its House. Marriage equality advocates hope that enough representatives in the House will support the legislation during their fall session. 

Pat Quinn FENUXE Gay Atlanta

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn

Giving hope to Illinois’ marriage equality supporters is Governor Pat Quinn who not only rallied in support of gay marriage, but also publicly promised to sign the legislation if passed by the House and Senate. Yet, the success of gay marriage legislation in Illinois is completely dependent on timing. “Lawmakers will start filing re-election paperwork at the end of November, so casting a vote for gay marriage now would leave a month or so for challengers opposed to it to gather enough signatures to get on the March primary election ballot. That’s left some lawmakers pushing to delay a vote until after January, when they will know who they are running against,” the Chicago Tribune explained.

Will Illinois see marriage equality before Christmas? Probably not. 

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Married Out Of State? IRS Will Recognize Your Marriage In Georgia!

By D. David Kinney

In a joint announcement today the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS has announced that all legally-married gay couples will be recognized for federal tax purposes whether the couples lives in a state with gay marriage or not. That means that if you go to P-Town and get married with your partner, when you get back to Georgia you can file taxes as a married couple! This is big news!

HRC President Chad Griffin said, “With today’s ruling, committed and loving gay and lesbian married couples will now be treated equally under our nation’s federal tax laws, regardless of the state they call home. These families finally have access to crucial tax benefits and protections previously denied to them under the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.”

For more information from HRC about federal taxes click here.

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Governor Replacing DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal will announce today at a press conference that he is replacing DeKalb County’s CEO. Burrell Ellis is currently the CEO; however, he has been named in a 15-count felony indictment.

According to WSBTV, the indictment says that Ellis, “assigned staff members to create vendor lists, which he allegedly used to solicit contributions. Ellis then threatened to withhold county business from companies that didn’t contribute.”

Governor Deal’s announcement comes only a day after, “a special three-person panel made a unanimous recommendation that DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis be suspended from office,” according to WXIA



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Upgrade Your Skin Care Products

Mikkel Hyldebrandt, Fashion Director

It is easy to fall in love with British brand Molton Brown. Not only because it has a certain air of British nobility, but also because it will undoubtedly upgrade your bathroom shelves by at least a couple of double digits.

Nowadays the brand has expanded into female skin care and perfumery, but in the very beginning it was strictly a men’s brand with products that seemed harvested from the rest rooms of a large British country estate. Masculine design, no pinks in sight and a no-nonsense product line enforced Molton Brown’s image of being strictly for men of good taste. Their male-centric focus is still very much alive today and has even been updated and expanded to include a full skin care and shaving range.

We suggest trying the Bracing Silverbirch Body Wash, Re-charge Black Pepper Body Hydrator or Naran Ji Fine Liquid Hand Wash. Immerse yourself in a little piece of Britannia and it may have you happily singing Cheerio Ol’ Chap the next time you’re at the bathroom sink!

Silver Birch Wash

Bracing Silverbirch Bodywash, 10 fl. oz, $30

Black Pepper Recharge

Re-charge Black Pepper Body Hydrator, 6.6 fl.oz. $30

Hand Wash

Naran Ji Fine Liquid Hand Wash, 10 fl. oz, $28

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