Speaking at the weekend with the Democratic Party of Georgia’s LGBT caucus, the newly elected chairman DuBose Porter of Dublin, spoke of his newfound support for equal marriage.
In the video, posted by the Georgia Voice, the self-dubbed “bald-headed, fat redneck”, said he thought he was the right kind of ambassador to carry the message of support for marriage equality in south Georgia.
This declaration came as a surprise, as Porter was the House speaker pro tem in 2004, when the Democrat controlled chamber, by a two-thirds majority, approved a measure to ban equal marriage in the state Constitution. He supported the measure, which went on to pass in the Senate, and was approved by voters that November.
His touching personal reasons for supporting equal marriage were detailed in the video, including the breakdown of his marriage, and members of his family who were gay.
In the video, Porter says: “All of us have personal experiences. Here, I went through a pretty messy divorce. What I thought was the perfect marriage just fell apart. So the commitment that I thought I had with someone was not nearly as strong as I thought it was.
“My first cousin, who lives in DeKalb County, has a life partner and had to go to New York to get married. The commitment they have is stronger than the one I thought I had. It is that strong and sincere. And we need to relay that.
“[Former state lawmaker] Jim Martin [of Atlanta] and I used to share offices together. Jim called me one day and said, ‘DuBose, you know our districts aren’t that different from each other.’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ [He said,] ‘You have just as many gay constituents in your area as I do. They’re just not out.’
“How do you have it so that everyone is comfortable where they live? The state Democratic party has that opportunity to have that conversation.
“It’s better to have somebody that’s from there – you know, you need a bald-headed, fat redneck. I think I can help take that message better, in a way than just having someone from Atlanta talk about it. It’s because I believe in it and I’m not afraid to talk about it.”