Democrats Debate: Jim Martin Opposes Gay Marriage

With three weeks left before Democratic voters head to the polls to pick a nominee to face off against Republican Saxby Chambliss in November, the five candidates running in the July 15th Democratic primary participated in a 60-minute debate sponsored by Fox 5 Atlanta (WAGA-TV).

The debate touched on a variety issues from money in politics to troop withdrawal out of Iraq. And while there was a lot of agreement among the five Democrats on stage, there were also some disagreements as well.

Former U.S. Senate staffer Josh Lanier took on Jim Martin asking if the Democrats’ 2006 Lt. Governor nominee should lead by example and stop accepting money from political action committees and special interest groups. Martin, in response, seemed to suggest that he would not refuse money from high dollar contributors.

“I play by the rules that all candidates play by…rules that Saxby Chambliss plays by,” Martin said.

Lanier’s question came after Martin said he had spent his career standing up to the special interests.

Rand Knight had his environmental credentials questioned by DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones after Knight implied that Jones had done little to preserve the environment in DeKalb County.

[Rand Knight] has talked the talk but not walked the walk,” Jones said. “You call yourself ‘Mr. Environment’…you have not preserved land,” Jones retorted to the political newcomer.

Jones went on to tout his environmental record as chief executive office of DeKalb County saying the county was working with Georgia Natural Gas to capture methane gas from landfills. He also said that he has a track record of investing in renewable energy and that he worked with people of Dekalb to give rebates for those who installed low flowing toilets in their homes and businesses.

Dale Cardwell, running on his record as an investigative journalist for WSB-TV, asked voters if they trusted him.

“I have worked very very hard to tell you the truth,” Cardwell said. For twenty-three years, you have trusted me to tell you the truth. I have been all over this state and [people are saying they would like] one chance to vote for an honest person. I’m that candidate,” Cardwell continued.

On the subject of same-sex marriages, Vernon Jones, Dale Cardwell and Jim Martin were all in agreement. They all were against gays and lesbians having the right to marry. Only two candidates publicly said they were for same-sex marriages; Rand Knight and Josh Lanier.

The Democratic U.S. Senate debate was moderated by Amanda Davis with questions from Morse Diggs and Paul Yates all of Fox 5 news.


  1. Decaturguy says:

    Has anyone found a transcript or even full length video of this debate. Can’t find it on the Fox website.

  2. Decaturguy says:

    That article you cited Grassroots mentions that Jim opposes gay marriage, but supports civil unions.

  3. ChuckEaton says:

    “Wasn’t his idea to offer county employees benefits for same sex partners in Dekalb County?”

    Gay marriage when running for office in a Dekalb Democrat Primary = maybe a good idea.

    Gay marriage when running for office statewide = not good idea.

  4. Behonest says:

    Yes ChuckEaton, I think you’re right. It was Vernon’s idea to offer county employees benefits for same sex marriages in Dekalb County. He’s against same sex MARRIAGES because it’s against his religious beliefs, but not human rights.

    If you knew of the challenges that same sex couples face and had any compassion you would understand. I don’t consider it flip flopping or being opportunistic at all. I look at his decision as fair and see him as someone who is actually using his brain to make decisions.

    While he doesn’t support gay marriages my guess is he thinks it is fair for me to have access to healthcare and share the benefits with the one I love just like another human being.

  5. Game Fan says:

    There’s at least one liberal group that’s opposed to gay marriage. It’s headed by Cindy Lauper. I think they’re called “Gays just wanna have fun”.

  6. atlantaman says:

    Yes, because Vernon is a deeply religious man. Worships services held Sundays at 9:30 am and 11:00 am at the Mattress King.

  7. ChuckEaton says:

    I’m guessing there has been Senate candidate questionnaires asking a question like, “If elected would you support healthcare benefits for domestic partners of federal employees?” If there hasn’t been any surveys then somebody from the Gay and Lesbian lobby hasn’t been doing their job.

    If Jones answers “no” or refuses to answer the question then my cynicism is validated. If Jones affirms his support for gay partner healthcare benefits for Federal employees, then I stand corrected and apologize.

  8. lancellotto says:

    Any debate moderator who injects the term “gay marriage” into a statewide political debate is just tossing in a wedge issue; the AJC took the bait and put it in their headline even though it accounted for barely a full sentence in their coverage. Nice job, media.

    What’s really at stake is marriage equality, and for a state like Georgia, it’s going to start with a Congressional repeal of some of the worst parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. I have no doubt Jim would be a yes vote on something like that.

    In the meantime, having already run statewide just two years ago, I think Jim deserves credit for knowing which issues are political non-starters in Georgia, where 76% of the population of this state voted against ANY recognition of same-sex relationships just 4 yrs ago.

    Jim’s been a principled ally to the LGBT community since the 1980’s, when sex between people of the same sex was essentially outlawed in Georgia, and when leaders in more “liberal” states still hadn’t stepped up on the issue of AIDS in the face of massive denial by a president who couldn’t bring himself to utter the word “AIDS” in public until after 25,000 people had already died.

    Meanwhile, Jim was fighting for our right to love who we love, and he was a stakeholder in the early HIV/AIDS efforts in Atlanta and Georgia.

    Jim then went on to become the author of the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Act, which created the right for people to designate loved ones to make end-of-life decisions for them. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the state House, he built consensus on hate crimes legislation to protect LGBT Georgians and secured its passage out of committee. As Commissioner of Human Resources, Jim directed state officials to treat adoptions by same-sex couples no differently than other adoptions.

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