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Bisexual Woman in Georgia Talks Family Acceptance and Strengthening Southern Advocacy Efforts Beth Sherouse ~ Atlanta
New Coalition Puts Georgia Mayors at the Forefront of A Nationwide Effort to Expand LGBT Non-discrimination Protections January 23, 2017

Just a week after the release of our landmark report on the need for non-discrimination protections, a new national coalition has launched to promote local action on LGBT non-discrimination protections—and Georgia mayors are at the forefront.

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Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination is a bipartisan coalition of municipal leaders from across the country dedicated to securing inclusive non-discrimination protections, including for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. As of its unveiling this morning, the coalition includes 175 mayors from 42 states, including Patricia Garrett of Decatur, Janquell Peters of East Point City, Ted Terry of Clarkson, and Kasim Reed of Atlanta.

The group was formed in recognition of the unique role mayors play in protecting LGBT people from discrimination. Mayors can be champions of local efforts to enact LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances, efforts that fill the gap left by a lack of statewide protections.

Last week’s kickoff of Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination dovetails with the release of our new report showing that Georgia has some of the most lax non-discrimination laws in the country.

According to the report, Liberty & Justice in Georgia: Protecting Our Heritage & Growing Our Competitive Future, Georgia is one of a handful of states that have no statewide laws prohibiting discrimination based on race or religion, as well as sexual orientation and gender identity. Without protections, almost half of LGBT Georgians report having faced discrimination at work.

And Georgia’s economy suffers for it: The Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau have estimated that passing discriminatory bills statewide could cost Georgia $1 to $2 billion in economic investment.

But in cities like Atlanta—which has a local LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance—the economy is booming. Atlanta managed to exceed a 100% rating on this year’s Municipal Equality Index, and the city’s attention to inclusivity has been instrumental in its ability to attract major tourist events, like the 2019 Super Bowl, and major companies, like GE.

This year, Georgia must commit to expanding non-discrimination protections for LGBT people. Our economy and so many people’s lives depend on it. The rising tide of local support for these protections nationwide is an important first-step to eliminating discrimination—but it is critical that state lawmakers work advance statewide protections, too, and ensure all Georgians are explicitly protected from discrimination under the law. If you agree, click here to sign our pledge urging lawmakers to pass LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination laws in Georgia.

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