June 6, 2019 - Atlanta - Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who is a candidate for the U.S. Senate, spoke with media before the session. DNC hosts its African American Leadership Council (AALC) Summit in Atlanta. . This year's featured speakers will include 2020 presidential candidates Senator Cory Booker and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

Tomlinson warns of ‘Pandora’s box of bigotry’ at gay rights gala 

We’ve made frequent note of how Democrats in last year’s gubernatorial race put LGBTQ rights at the forefront of their campaigns in a way never before seen in Georgia. The same is already happening in the U.S. Senate race. 

Former Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson, the only announced Democrat in the race against U.S. Sen. David Perdue, headlined the Georgia Equality gala over the weekend with a glimpse of what’s to come. 

She kicked off the event by describing a letter-to-the-editor she wrote to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, opposing the state constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage in Georgia -- which passed in a 2004 referendum. (It was negated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015.) Writes Patrick Saunders of Project Q:

“I didn’t care if I was ever invited to another dinner party or placed on another Christmas card list or elected to anything,” [Tomlinson] said. “And though that measure shockingly passed with 76% of the vote, they could kiss my ass if they thought I would stand down for this.”

Tomlinson, who was introduced by her lesbian sister Tonya Pike, spoke of leaving the Republican Party in her early 20s after seeing people willing to smear a political opponent’s sexuality. 

“I knew that if a person went to the Pandora’s box of bigotry in an effort to acquire power, it would be effective and addictive,” she said. “I was right, and here we are today in a pitched battle for our civic souls. We are constantly being pitted against one another so that others can acquire power.”

Saunders also reports that Tomlinson criticized “the lunacy and downright bigotry” from the Trump administration, including the ban on transgender people from serving in the military.

“We can and we must do better,” she said at the gala, which raised a record $160,000. “And it matters who we send to Washington to lead.”

Her likely opponent, Sarah Riggs Amico, was endorsed by gay rights group Georgia Equality in last year’s race for lieutenant governor and, on the campaign trail, stressed her stance as an evangelical Christian who backs LGBT equality and opposed “religious liberty” legislation. 

Insider’s note: This item was ripped from the Daily Jolt. 

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.