By GLAAD | October 10, 2022
Pictured above: Sen. Raphael Warnock (left) and Herschel Walker (right)
The deadline to register to vote in Georgia is October 11, and early voting begins October 17. The candidates for U.S. Senate will appear at their first and only debate on Friday, October 14, in Savannah.
GLAAD and Georgia Equality, the state’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, are releasing the LGBTQ and equality records of candidates in key races at the federal and state level.
Georgia’s LGBTQ voters provided the winning margin for federal pro-equality candidates in 2020, according to independent analysis. The results of Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff elections created a pro-equality majority for the chamber, which passed multiple pieces of legislation to improve the lives of LGBTQ Georgians including $2.4 billion in COVID-19 relief; infrastructure investments including $11 billion for Georgia to improve roads, airports, public transportation and broadband access; the first significant gun safety reform in 30 years; the largest climate and clean energy investments in history; veterans’ health benefits; limits to prescription drug prices; and new investments in domestic semiconductor manufacturing that included education and job investments in Georgia’s Historic Black Colleges and Universities.
The results of the midterm elections will determine control of the U.S. Senate and whether pro-equality measures, supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans, will move forward. Georgia’s LGBTQ and ally voters will help decide if the Senate will vote to codify marriage equality for same-sex couples and couples of different races, secure protections against discrimination in The Equality Act, and pass federal voting rights protections.
GLAAD is urging debate moderators and campaign correspondents to include LGBTQ people and issues in their coverage and ask the candidates about their statements, policies and proposals for LGBTQ Georgians.
Research on the candidates’ records on abortion is also included: abortion is an LGBTQ issue. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas noted in his concurrence overturning Roe that landmark decisions advancing LGBTQ equality should be reconsidered.
“Basic human rights and safety are on the ballot for every LGBTQ person in Georgia, including abortion, marriage, and voting rights,” said Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham.
“While the pro-equality majority in the U.S. Senate led by Georgia’s senators expanded rights and economic opportunity, state officials have targeted LGBTQ people, enacted an extreme abortion ban, loosened access to guns, made voting more difficult, and ignored threats to our marriages and families,” Graham continued. “This research lays out in stark detail the choices and future for LGBTQ voters and all Georgians.”
“GLAAD urges Georgia voters and reporters to review these records and press candidates to answer what they’ll do for LGBTQ citizens, how they’ll protect our right to not be discriminated against, how they’ll vote to secure our right to marry who we love, and ensure that private healthcare decisions remain between patient, family and doctor, where they belong,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
The LGBTQ and equality records of Georgia’s candidates for elected office include:
Marjorie Taylor Greene (R) Incumbent
- Record of inaccurate and harmful rhetoric and baseless policy proposals against LGBTQ Americans is tracked in the GLAAD Accountability Project, and includes absurd claims, misgendering transgender people, smearing LGBTQ people and allies with vile “groomer” rhetoric, embrace of violent QAnon conspiracy theories, and targeting colleagues who are parents of transgender children
- Removed from committee assignments after encouraging violence against her colleagues in Congress.
Marcus Flowers (D)
- Campaign website states: “He is pro-choice because he does not believe the government should be allowed into people’s bedrooms.”
- Stated support for LGBTQ people: “LGBTQ+ rights are human rights.”
- Removed from committee assignments after encouraging violence against her colleagues in Congress.
- Tweeted: Happy Pride Month! The LGBTQ+ community can always count on me as a strong and outspoken ally!
Herschel Walker (R)
- On campaign website, calls himself a “compassionate conservative who is pro-life and pro-family.” Says he would vote yes on bill proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham to ban abortion nationwide, and supports abortion bans without any exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the mother: “There’s no exception in my mind.” Allegations surfaced in early October that Walker paid for a girlfriend’s abortion, and encouraged her to have a second abortion.
- Said of marriage equality: “Gay weddings, that’s something that you have to work with the Congress. I think that each state’s gotta determine that, that’s against stuff that I believe in, so that each state can just stop all that.”
- Did not answer when reporters asked if he would sign onto federal protections of marriage equality, saying: “we need to worry about what’s happening right now.”
- Questioned whether transgender youth will get into heaven: “When I get to heaven, I want the Lord to recognize me. Because I can tell you right now, they’re telling the young kids in school, you can be a boy tomorrow even if you’re a girl… I want the young kids to know, you go to heaven. Jesus may not recognize you. Because he made you a boy. He made you a girl. Why are we talking about things like that?”
- Criticized transgender youth access to school sports; has no record of advocating for women’s and girls’ athletics. Described “women’s issues” as “grocery prices” and “gas prices.”
- Divorce records reveal Walker’s ex-wife accused him of being physically abusive and threatening to murder her. She claims he pointed a gun at her and said, “I’m going to blow your… brains out.” In 2001, Walker’s therapist called Texas police describing Walker as armed and “volatile.” Walker reportedly talked about having a shoot-out with police. Officers confiscated his gun and put him on a “caution list” because of his “violent tendencies.”
- Endorsed by former president Donald Trump, whose administration led more than 200 attacks in policy and rhetoric against LGBTQ Americans and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who refused to bring The Equality Act to a vote in the Senate.
Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) Incumbent
- “Proud ally of the LGBTQ+ community” per campaign website
- Tweeted: I’ve long been an ally of the LGBTQ+ community. There is no such thing as equal rights for some—I believe all people should be treated with dignity, respect, and humanity as we are all created in the image of God. Happy Pride Weekend Atlanta!
- Co-sponsor of the Refund Equality Act offering same-sex couples the right to amend tax returns to file as married filing jointly for returns outside of the statute of limitations.
- Urged passage of the Equality Act: “the fierce urgency in the voices of LGBTQ people who have waited too long for equal justice under the law demands that we act now. It’s time that the U.S. Senate joined the U.S. House of Representatives in heeding the call of Americans across the nation for our Congress to pass legislation like the Equality Act to ensure that the ideals of liberty and justice enshrined in the Constitution truly extend to every citizen.”
- Supported LGBTQ people against religious exemption efforts and “those who will abuse the name of God to frame their perceived right to discriminate. They present a false choice between religious freedom and LGBTQ people. Here’s what I know from over 20 years as a Baptist pastor –– while faith at its best can heal and bring us closer together, too often, I have witnessed it used to justify injustice against women, minorities, and especially LGBTQ people.”
- Stated in interview with ProjectQ Atlanta: “Transgender women of color deserve equal justice under the law and federal protections for their health and livelihoods.”
- Promised to “work to make prescription drugs, including PrEP, accessible and affordable and support increased funding for HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and research.”
- Urged expansion of voting rights protections, called for filibuster reform to pass voting rights, and criticized voter suppression bills.
- Voted to impeach Pres. Trump for his role in the deadly insurrection on January 6th, stating: “If Donald Trump’s actions were not impeachable, then nothing is. My vote today reflects that deeply-held conviction. We witnessed firsthand a vile attempt to disenfranchise millions of voters, and an egregious interruption of the peaceful transfer of power by the President of the United States. Accountability is critical to our nation moving forward and addressing the challenges so many families and communities face. And as a voice for the people of Georgia in the Senate, I take seriously my duty to defend our Constitution and uphold the values of our democracy.”
- Tweets 6/1/2022: Happy #Pride Month, Georgia! As we reflect on how far we have come, let’s remember how far we have to go to create a world where we *all* feel safe to be our authentic selves. Every human being has inherent dignity, and I’ll always be an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community.
- Tweets 3/27/2022: As a pastor, I deeply believe in the sacred worth of all human beings, which is why I’ll always fight to protect the dignity and worth of our trans loved ones. #ProtectTransKids
- Tweets 2/26/2021: Wonderful to see the Equality Act pass the House and I hope we can see bipartisan support for this long overdue legislation in the Senate. It’s past time to protect our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
Stacey Abrams (D) Former House Democratic Leader Georgia General Assembly
- Reiterated support for marriage equality: “As governor, I will champion protecting these basic rights and codify marriage equality into our state’s laws.”
- Tweeted on the first day of Pride 2022: “This month – and always – I join as an ally of our LGBTQ+ community in celebrating the unapologetic love, joy & triumph that have built a better state and world for us all. Whether you’re able to openly celebrate or don’t feel safe to do so – you are loved. I am an LGBTQ+ ally and a woman of faith. My parents raised me to know that my faith should never be used as a sword to strike down others but instead as a shield to protect. To our LGBTQ+ community: I will fight to build One Georgia — a state of safety and belonging.”
- Pledged: “An effective government must protect civil rights and fight discrimination. From supporting marriage equality and comprehensive workplace protections to opposing any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, I am ready to build a stronger, brighter state where the gates of opportunity are open to every Georgian.”
- Released plan for reproductive healthcare: “My plan will support safe pregnancies, invest in maternal healthcare, fund rural hospitals and recruit and retain physicians statewide—especially in under-served areas and the 82 counties that have no OB-GYN. We will also work to repeal Brian Kemp’s extreme and dangerous ban on abortion after six weeks.”
- Appeared at the 2017 Lesbians Who Tech conference to discuss the relationship between the queer community and allies in politics.
- Sponsored Georgia’s Fair Employment Practices Act in 2015 to prohibit discrimination against state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, alongside the first out member of the Georgia legislature, Rep. Karla Drenner.
- Campaigned against 2018 effort by state lawmakers to ban LGBTQ couples from adopting
Brian Kemp, (R) Incumbent
- Featured speaker at event hosted by the Family Research Council, a designated anti-LGBTQ hate group according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. FRC has a decades-long record of advocating against LGBTQ people, including opposing marriage equality, falsely and harmfully comparing LGBTQ people to child abusers, and promoting the practice of so-called “conversion therapy” which has been discredited and outlawed in 22 states
- Appeared at gala for Frontline Policy Action, which endorsed Kemp and falsely characterizes LGBTQ Americans as “those who want to embrace evil, groom our children, and seek to pass their warped distortion of human sexuality as normal.”
- Reiterated his claim that marriage is solely between a man and a woman, 7 years after marriage equality was legalized nationwide, now with record-high public support.
- Signed one of the country’s most restrictive abortion bans in 2019; law now in effect with the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe in June. According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll, more than half of Georgia voters oppose the law.
- Campaigned with Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, who is rolling back protections for transgender students in Virginia. Kemp signed a measure creating a committee to determine whether transgender girls can participate in school sports. Kemp baselessly claimed at his rally on Sept. 27: “we’re going to make sure that we have fairness in girls’ sports.”
- Rejected expanding Medicaid eligibility for lower income Georgians living with HIV. More than 10,000 uninsured people are living with HIV in Georgia, which had the highest rate of new HIV diagnoses among states in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Chris Carr (R) Incumbent
- Defended the state’s restrictive ban on abortion
- Defended the state’s extreme voting restrictions in 2020 and in 2021. The new laws include restricting access to drop boxes in counties that used them the most, which also have the highest number of voters of color and Democrats, according to an analysis by NPR, WABE and Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) of drop box locations, voter registration and other data
- Joined 20 other Republican attorneys general to sue the Biden administration over a Department of Agriculture school meal program that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
- Declined to say whether he supported marriage equality, only that he would defend the state’s constitution
- Joined lawsuit of 23 states in 2016 arguing the federal government had no authority to direct the nation’s public school districts to permit students to use the restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
Jen Jordan (D) State Senator
- Tweeted: The BEST day celebrating #ATLPride! For public servants, it’s not just a parade— it’s a commitment to keep showing up and fighting for Georgia’s LGBTQ+ community. That’s my promise as your next Attorney General.
- Vowed to not defend the state’s six week abortion ban against court challenges: “As attorney general, I will swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States and of Georgia. I will make it my highest priority to serve the people of the state of Georgia, and I will not defend any law that infringes upon their rights.”
- Shared details in 2019 about pregnancy struggles in dissent against bill to ban abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy: “It is not for the government or the men in this chamber to insert themselves into the most personal and most private wrenching decisions.”
- Pledged to establish a voting rights division in the attorney general’s office
- Criticized state Senate bill restricting adoption for LGBTQ couples: “Why in the world do we need this statute? The language of the statute … tends to put these adoption agencies before the best interests of the child.
Nearly a half-million LGBTQ people live in Georgia, and 27% of LGBTQ people in Georgia are raising children. Georgia has no statewide protections against discrimination in housing, access to credit and public accommodations.
“We must continue the incredible momentum from flipping our state forward in 2020, and demand leaders who will keep moving Georgia and the entire country closer to equality and prosperity for all,” Georgia Equality’s Jeff Graham said.
Added GLAAD’s Sarah Kate Ellis: “Georgia voters must use their voices and votes to hold elected leaders accountable to a future where all of us can be more free.”
Go to glaad.org/vote to check your voter registration status and make a plan to vote.
About Georgia Equality:
Georgia Equality is the state’s largest advocacy organization working to advance fairness, safety and opportunity for Georgia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender communities and our allies. For more information, please visit www.GeorgiaEquality.org or connect with Georgia Equality on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love.