Stacey Abrams highlights event with ‘Hotlanta’ league involved in High Court fight

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Stacey Abrams delivered the welcoming address Monday at an international sports championship featuring an Atlanta league that was at the center of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case.

The Georgia Democrat gave a “special shoutout” to the 13 teams from the Hotlanta Softball League that qualified to play in the Gay Softball World Series in Columbus, Ohio this week.

“The LGBTQ community and allies are strongest when we stand together against hate and discrimination,” Abrams said in the video address. “So once you’ve won, be sure to register and vote. Use your power not just at the plate, but at the ballot box.”

Gerald Bostock’s decision to play in the gay-friendly Atlanta league wound up costing him his job with the Clayton County child welfare services department – and triggered a lengthy legal battle that delivered a major civil rights victory for the LGBTQ community.

In a 6-3 decision in June 2020, the Supreme Court concluded that federal law prohibits discrimination against gay and transgender employees at the workplace. It was the court’s first major gay rights decision since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, long the swing vote on the bench.

Hundreds of Georgians traveled to Ohio this week for the softball championship, organized by the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance. Abrams’ message was played during the opening ceremonies, ahead of the first round of games between the 235 teams on Tuesday.

Abrams embraced gay rights during her 2018 run for governor against Republican Brian Kemp. She was the first major party gubernatorial nominee in state history to march in the Atlanta Pride Parade, and she headlined the Human Rights Campaign’s Equality dinner the same year.

She also made her opposition to a “religious liberty” measure that Kemp supported a major plank in her platform. She’s expected to mount a rematch against the first-term Republican next year, though she’s said little publicly about her plans.