Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit
OLYMPIC PROTEST IN ANTI-GAY GEORGIA SUBURB
By Jimmy Raynor
Cobb County's blatant discrimination against the gay and lesbian
community has aroused a protest that reaches as far as the
The county is just northwest of Atlanta. In 1993 the three-person
commission that runs Cobb County passed an anti-gay resolution it
described as "pro-family."
This was just after the Atlanta government passed a law
recognizing domestic partners. The anti-gay bill was a preemptive
strike designed to make sure domestic partnership would never
come up in Cobb County. This bill condemned the "gay lifestyle."
As a result of this provocation, the first lesbian and gay
organization in Cobb was formed--- the Cobb Citizens Coalition.
This group held demonstrations outside the county office building
in Marietta. It called for a boycott of Cobb, causing at least
two conventions to announce plans to meet elsewhere.
That's where the struggle was when the Atlanta Committee on the
Games--- the local organizers of the International Olympics---
announced that the volleyball finals for the 1996 Olympics would
be held in Cobb County.
In response, local activists organized the Olympics Out Of Cobb
to force ACOG to change the venue of the volleyball games. ACOG
refused, claiming that the facility there was the only one within
50 miles suitable for their purposes.
Cobb County has long had a reputation as a center of racism and
anti-gay bigotry. The population there grew rapidly during the
period when the more racist elements of Atlanta's white
population left the city during the 1960s as Atlanta's Black
During the 1970s and the early 1980s Larry McDonald--- president
of the neofascist John Birch Society--- held the congressional
seat there. Now Newt Gingrich, darling of the so-called Christian
Right, holds the seat.
A number of prominent Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi leaders,
including J.B. Stoner and Ed Fields, have their headquarters
On May 10, International Olympics President Juan Samaranch
visited Atlanta to check on the preparation for the 1996 summer
games. Protests met him everywhere he went.
Olympics Out Of Cobb held a rolling traffic jam on the Larry
McDonald freeway between Atlanta and Cobb County. The group also
sponsored a candlelight vigil and demonstration the next night in
Central City Park. It drew over 500.
Demonstrators also picketed a lunch given in Samaranch's honor at
an exclusive Atlanta private club. And they maintained a picket
line outside the ACOG offices the whole time Samaranch was in
ACOG was shaken by the protests, even though Samaranch tried to
dismiss them by calling them "purely local."
What has ACOG clearly worried is the promise Olympics Out Of Cobb
made to bring tens of thousands of gay and lesbian people here
during the games to demonstrate and disrupt. This is why ACOG has
yet to sign the contract with Cobb County.
And this is why the Cobb Commission has asked for a meeting with
the Cobb Citizens Coalition--the lesbian and gay group.
(Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint granted
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