Media group boycotts Georgia over voter suppression law
by Fred Kuhr
The National LGBT Media Association, composed of 12 of the largest LGBTQ publications in the country, passed a resolution last month banning meeting in the state of Georgia. The move comes as a reaction to the recent passage of what the group calls “draconian voter suppression laws which primarily affect communities of color.”
“We in the LGBT community built a movement fighting for equality, and we stand with those who fight this ‘Jim Crow, Part 2’ legislation in order to make their voice heard and their vote count,” the resolution states. “Too many people in power wish to keep marginalized communities invisible and without proper representation in government, and we must be vigilant in fighting against their unjust and unfair discrimination.”
“With these laws, it is now easier to get a gun in Georgia than to vote,” added Leo Cusimano, cochair of the group as well as publisher of the Dallas Voice. Members, including Atlanta-based Georgia Voice, will be boycotting all future meetings in the state until it “creates fair election laws that ensure all people have equal and fair access to vote.”
San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter, another association member, published a longer-than-usual editorial on April 21 citing a New York Times analysis about the new Georgia law.
“While much has been made of the law’s provision that offering food or water to people waiting in line to vote could result in misdemeanor charges, the law is far more chilling,” the BAR editorial board wrote. These changes include less time to request absentee ballots, strict new ID requirements, a prohibition on the state mailing out absentee ballot applications to all registered voters, severely limiting drop boxes, not expanding early voting in large urban districts while expanding such voting in small rural districts, and when counting ballots giving power to the Republican-controlled legislature over the secretary of state.
“It’s for all these reasons and more that the National LGBT Media Association took the position it did,” wrote BAR.
In Georgia Voice’s reporting, the newspaper noted other organizations that have reacted to the new law, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP Legal Defence and Education Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Major League Baseball. Film director James Mangold and actor Mark Hamill have also called on a boycott of filming in Georgia. Will Smith’s new film has already moved production to Louisiana from the Peach State.
Aside from Bay Area Reporter, Dallas Voice and Georgia Voice, National LGBT Media Association members include Boston’s Bay Windows, Michigan’s Between The Lines, New York’s Gay City News, Philadelphia Gay News, Los Angeles Blade, South Florida Gay News, Washington Blade, Orlando’s Watermark and Chicago’s Windy City Times.
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