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South Carolina gets its first openly gay lawmaker

Bobby Rae February 7, 2017

Did you know South Carolina gained its first openly gay lawmaker this year?

Jason Elliot, a Republican who represents the 22nd District, defeated four-term incumbent Wendy Nanny, a graduate of the state’s ultra-conservative Bob Jones University.

She claimed he never told voters about his sexual orientation, something he denied.

Representing one of the most conservative parts of the state – Mr Elliot said his sexuality was never an issue during the campaign and if he was hiding it, it was one of the “worst-kept secrets I’ve ever known”.

Electing the 46-year-old former attorney makes South Carolina the 43rd state to have an openly gay legislator.

Having been married with children, the new representative is now divorced and said his focus is on improving education, increasing jobs and repairing the state’s crumbling roads and bridges.

As a member of the GOP in an ultra-conservative area, it’s no surprise he is a “pro-life advocate”.

“As a Christian and a father, I stand firm that life begins at conception and will defend this stance against any liberal attacks,” he said on his website.

Although it’s unclear what his position is in regards to LGBT rights, he is in favour of protecting religious freedom.

In an interview with South Carolina’s Post and Courier, he said: “Every South Carolinian has equal rights, not special rights, and I believe each part of the constitution is equally important.

“In South Carolina, that means respecting other people’s viewpoints and protecting religious freedom.”

Some have suggested voting attitudes have changed in the area due to people moving there for work, though some suggest there is little change in the conservative attitudes.

It’s unclear if he supports Donald Trump but he did praise the appointment of former South Carolina Nikki Haley to the role of UN Ambassador.

Last year, a local police chief hoped to make history as the first female lesbian sheriff in her county.

More: Donald Trump, elections, gop, Jason Ellliott, Republican, South Carolina, ultra-conservative, US

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