The Democratic Party’s LGBTQ Caucus — which advocates on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer constituents — issued a similar statement.
“Rep. Vernon Jones’s words to Councilwoman Stephe Koontz were hateful, and we call upon him to apologize publicly and to meet with the caucus,” vice chair Patricia Lassiter said. “There is no place for transphobia or homophobia in our party. Our big tent is a place for growth and the opportunity to practice true Democratic values. Rep. Jones, this is your chance to be the Democrat you were elected to be.”
Transgender people are those whose gender identity does not match the sex they were identified as having at birth. When she won a seat on the Doraville City Council in 2017, Koontz became Georgia's only transgender elected official.
Koontz said the encounter with Jones started when she asked him about his support for a piece of legislation targeting so-called "sanctuary cities." She said Jones eventually started shouting "about how LGBTQ rights are not civil rights."
Asked Wednesday about the calls for him to apologize, Jones referred to the statement he issued Tuesday.
In addition to taking issue with Koontz’ characterization of their conversation, Jones’ statement said he “believe[s] and stand[s] for equality of every citizen, regardless of their race, party, gender or orientation.”