Will the Eddie Long Scandal Cost Barnes Support in Georgia's GLBT Community?

Prominent Georgia evangelist, Bishop Eddie Long (pictured at left), is on the defensive this week after three former parishioners filed a lawsuit alleging that Long "utilized his spiritual authority as Bishop [. . .] to coerce certain young male members into engaging in sexual acts and relationships for his own personal sexual gratification." [Matteucci, Megan and Boone, Christian (2010-9-22). Bishop Eddie Long | Third sexual coercion lawsuit filed. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved on 2010-9-22.]

The allegations, which Long "adamantly denies," resulted in Democratic gubernatorial nominee Roy Barnes cancelling a fundraiser where Long was to serve as a co-host.

Before these claims of sexual misconduct came to light, though, Barnes touted Eddie Long's endorsement of his candidacy to the press [Metro Atlanta faith leaders back Roy Barnes for governor. Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved on 2010-9-22.].

"Roy is the only candidate in this race who has consistently been a friend to our community," Long said in a press release announcing his endorsement of Barnes. "He is the only one I trust to guide our state in a better direction."

Bishop Eddie Long and his wife also put their money where their mouths were, donating a total of $11,100 to the Barnes gubernatorial campaign [SOURCE: State Ethics Commission].

What's interesting about this situation is that Roy Barnes was also endorsed by a leading GLBT newspaper [Douglas-Brown, Laura (2010-7-23). Editorial: Roy Barnes for governor. The Georgia Voice. Retrieved on 2010-9-23.].

The Georgia Voice is one of the largest and most widely read GLBT publications in the Peach State. And Bishop Eddie Long hasn't had the best relationship with Georgia's GLBT community.

In 2004, Long led a march through the streets of Atlanta (pictured at right) in support of the federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. The march was roundly criticized by GLBT advocates across the state [Barry, Ellen (2004-12-11). March Clouded by Stand on Gay Unions. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2010-9-23.].

Long defended the march saying, "A strong segment of society wants to go back to basic, fundamental moral beliefs."

The 2010 Georgia gubernatorial election is expected to be close, with both Democrats and Republicans doing everything they can to turn out their base.

Four years ago, Democrat Cathy Cox lost a close primary to Mark Taylor due in part to a backlash in the GLBT community after Cox flip-flopped on her opposition to Georgia's gay marriage ban [Associated Press (2006-5-29). Gay Voters May Boycott Primary, Hurt Cox Campaign. First Coast News (Jacksonville, FL). Retrieved on 2010-9-23.].

In a tight election, where every vote will count, will Barnes' association with Bishop Eddie Long --hardly a friend to the gay community-- cost him support among GLBT voters?

We'll just have to wait and see.

Tags: Georgia, GLBT Issues, Election 2010 (all tags)

Comments

1 Comment

Short answer, No.

This person is just an individual donor, one of thousands. Barnes' campaign War Chest is deep. He's got alot of supporters from all over the state of Georgia. Long is not linked to Barnes in any meangingful way.

The long answer is ,  that Barnes has not been aggressive in his campaign and in his approach in any way shape or form. He needs to embrace social media, the blogosphere, and he also needs to get out the vote - he needs to start hitting the demographics that line up with independents, and republicans.

There's a secret to the southern strategy - that the GOP uses so well down in the south. Or I should say - has used - to completely demolish the democrats here. The democratic brand is tarnished here. And that is, that they like to identify their party as something cool -  it's identity politics. Which is why it's going to be so important to the GOP to try to identify all democrats in Georgia, as either black, or hippie. Or whatever. Anything they can do to brand the democrats. To identify them. Before the Democrats, identify themselves. That's huge on their priority list.

The GOP can be seen as hatemongers in this area - they lied about Max Cleland's record - painted him and Osama Bin Laden as if they were friends. They've done outrageous things here.

But in the end, as Otto Von Bismarck says - the art of the lawmaker is to listen for the footsteps of God, and swing himself up by the hem of his robe as he walks past.

And the lessons of Otto Von Bismarck - whom history would rightly see as a Democrat, are apt for Barnes. He's doomed , right now. Dead in the water.

Because he's not coming out with both fists flying. Here's a checklist.

 

1. Does he really care about guys like Eddie Long. No.

2. Is his opponent incapable of seeing a good deal? Yes.

3. Does he have the support of his base. Yep.

4. Can he energize them. Maybe. Key is +how+

5. Will he hit harder than they've ever hit? No. But he has to.

 

And where are all the flaggers?

Hmm..

 

by Trey Rentz 2010-09-23 10:43AM | 0 recs

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