Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Vote Dec. 1: Mary Norwood for Atlanta Mayor


With this year's municipal elections coming down to real issues affecting real Atlantans, GLBTATL.org endorses our community friend, Mary Norwood, for Atlanta Mayor. Though our community groups have had mixed feelings on the Atlanta mayoral race, we believe that Mary Norwood has the drive and ability to effect meaningful change at City Hall.

Mary Norwood has been an outspoken advocate of equality for all citizens, in every part of life. She has pledged not only to push for City policies and ordinances that support equal rights at the City level, but also to use the Mayor's office wisely as a voice for our community to State and Federal legislators.

The campaign has provided GLBTATL a digital copy of her detailed platform for the GLBTQ+ community (viewable at glbtatl.org/norwood-position). The position paper includes an excerpt from her interview about her daughter's coming-out in the final issue of Southern Voice, and a decisively stated stance on marriage:

Marriages make our community stronger. Gays and lesbians are our neighbors, friends and families, our police officers and our firefighters, and in these tough times all families need the added peace of mind that marriage—and only marriage—can bring.

Norwood's opponent, on the other hand, has used exclusionary personal opinion—rather than informed judgment—to defend his absolute opposition to marriage equality. His divisive personal opinions have resulted in other biased work in the Georgia legislature, such as advocating the forced inclusion of one religion's studies in Georgia public schools' curricula.

GLBTATL has always backed the position that inclusion is the better principle. Our joint effort with the Atlanta Black LGBT Coalition, to protest Rick Warren's keynote address at The King Center, brought together a group of racially, culturally, and spiritually diverse people and community groups to show that Atlantans of all kinds want inclusiveness in our institutions. We cannot, in good conscience, endorse a candidate who unwaveringly stands by outdated and inappropriate exclusionary principles in government.

Municipal elections are often regarded as mundane or incidental. This year, the GLBTQ+ community has an opportunity to put a member of our extended family, not just an ally-in-name-only, in the Atlanta Mayor's office. GLBTATL therefore believes that Mary Norwood is the best candidate for Atlanta Mayor in the December 1 runoff elections.

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