It was a newsworthy week for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community in and around Midtown.
On Monday, five same-sex couples tried to obtain marriage licenses at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Decatur in a campaign designed to draw attention to Georgia's laws prohibiting marriage between people of the same gender.
One after the other, five couples stepped up to the counter of the DeKalb Probate Court office and said they wanted marriage licenses.
Reporters were on hand to document the five couples' efforts, having been alerted by We Do, an effort of the Campaign for Southern Equality.
After the couples were turned down, they walked out of the courthouse to be greeted with cheers from an estimated 75 supporters waiting outside.
Then on Wednesday, The Advocate released its annual list of the “Gayest Cities in America” and Atlanta, which had topped the list just three years ago, retained its 2012 ranking as the ninth gayest city in the country.
In citing Midtown as one of the city’s “hot gayborhoods,” the LGBT-interest magazine wrote, “It’s no wonder that half of the residents have moved to Hotlanta from somewhere else.”
But the real LGBT controversy was sparked the following day when the Rev. Louie Giglio of Passion City Church, located just south of Midtown in Buckhead, chose to remove himself from President Barack Obama's inauguration program. Giglio had been selected to deliver the benediction at the event on Jan. 21.
Obama had come under fire for selecting Giglio, who advocated "ex-gay" therapy and fighting the LGBT movement's "aggressive agenda," according to Think Progress. Members and supporters of the LGBT community did not want Giglio to deliver the benediction and started a White House petition to have him removed.
Giglio issued the following statement about his decision to withdraw from the inaugural program:
I am honored to be invited by the President to give the benediction at the upcoming inaugural on January 21. Though the President and I do not agree on every issue, we have fashioned a friendship around common goals and ideals, most notably, ending slavery in all its forms.
Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration. Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ.
Neither I, nor our team, feel it best serves the core message and goals we are seeking to accomplish to be in a fight on an issue not of our choosing, thus I respectfully withdraw my acceptance of the President's invitation. I will continue to pray regularly for the President, and urge the nation to do so. I will most certainly pray for him on Inauguration Day.
Our nation is deeply divided and hurting, and more than ever need God's grace and mercy in our time of need.
Presidential Inaugural Committee Spokeswoman Addie Whisenant said the committee chose Giglio for his commitment to ending human trafficking, but were unaware of his past comments when they invited him to deliver the benediction.
In her statement, Whisenant said: "We were not aware of Pastor Giglio's past comments at the time of his selection and they don't reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural. Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part for his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world. As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration's vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans."
So, what are your thoughts on the week that was within the LGBT community?
- Patch Editors Kiri Walton and Ralph Ellis contributed to this story