Newly-Elected Senators Warnock and Ossoff and LGBTQ People

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday January 7, 2021

Jon Ossoff, left, and Raphael Warnock exchange elbow bumps during a campaign rally in Augusta, Ga., Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.
Jon Ossoff, left, and Raphael Warnock exchange elbow bumps during a campaign rally in Augusta, Ga., Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.  (Source:Associated Press)

Newly-elected Democratic Senators Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff have a established themselves as strong supporters of the LGBTQ community.

Endorsed by both The Georgia Voice and the Human Rights Commission, both Warnock and Ossoff vowed to support and vote for the Equality Act, legislation which would amend already-existing civil rights laws with protections specifically for LGBTQ people.

In November, HRC President Alphonso David said:

"Both Ossoff and Warnock will prioritize the passage of the Equality Act if elected, and their historic races will be our highest priority in the coming weeks and months. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are anti-LGBTQ extremists who will undermine the rights and well-being for all LGBTQ people. We will continue mobilizing voters to help Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock across the finish line to ensure a pro-equality Congress that will fight to pass the Equality Act and enshrine nondiscrimination protections for all LGBTQ people."

Ossoff, the youngest person elected to the Senate, campaigned to defend marriage equality and the right of same-sex couples to adopt, as well as opposing any attempt to reinstate a ban on LGBTQ people from serving in the military. He has also vowed to support anti-bullying campaigns so that younger LGBTQ people can not only feel safe but grow and flourish.

Ossoff's support of the LGBTQ community isn't particularly surprising, as his mentor, the late Rep. John Lewis, also advocated on behalf of the LGBTQ community, having said "My first exposure to public service was working as a very, very young man with Congressman John Lewis, and his philosophy of human rights and building the beloved community where we recognize and respect and uphold and protect the fundamental dignity of every person is essential to my own world view."

Rev. Warnock often advocated for and spoke on behalf of the LGBTQ community from the pulpit, celebrating SCOTUS's Obergefell v. Hodges ruling for marriage equality in 2015 and mourning the unnecessary loss of lives in the 2016 shootings at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Addressing these, and other, LGBTQ-related issues from his platform as a minister represents a desire to lead in the arena of policymaking. In addition to the issues Ossoff supports, Rev. Warnock has also vowed to support legislation assisting homeless and at-risk LGBTQ youth.

After the recent appointment of conservative Justice Amy Cony Barrett to SCOTUS, replacing the late and much more progressive Ruth Bader Ginsburg; and with Warnock and Ossoff cementing a Democratic majority in the Senate, LGBTQ people might be able to breathe a little easier where rights and protections are concerned.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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