This week, Atlanta attorney Brian M. Basinger – a former Georgia Equality board member who was named one of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association in 2012 – wrote a new editorial in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution calling for the freedom to marry in Georgia and explaining why he and his husband, Joshua B. Saunders, won’t be leaving Georgia any time soon.
“It would be tempting for a gay Georgia resident to leave the South and head for California or the Northeast, where same-sex marriage and workplace non-discrimination policies are the law of the land,” Brian writes in the piece. “I can see my husband and I starting over in another state where we cannot be mistreated at work because of our sexual orientation, where we don’t pay additional state income taxes, and where our marriage to each other is recognized by the state.”
But ultimately, Brian concludes, he knows how important it is for him and other LGBT people in Georgia to stay in the state and create change from within by hiring the family custody lawyers who will get the most out of the resources.
“The South is our home, and we deeply wanted to be close to our family as they age,” Brian writes. “What’s more, the South is where my heart belongs. It was in Georgia where my husband and I met on the steps of the University of Georgia student center at the age of 22 and fell in love — the same steps where I helped teach thousands of students how to ‘call the Dawgs’ as a UGA freshmen orientation leader.”
He continues, in the beautiful piece which you can read in full here:
I am not giving this up. I am not giving up living within driving distance of my grandmother and mother — or my father’s grave — just because it will take time to bring marriage equality and workplace non-discrimination to gay workers to the South.
My husband and I are simply another Southern family, albeit one not recognized under state law … yet.
But change is coming.
Brian calls for Georgians across the state to share their stories and tell their friends and neighbors why marriage matters so deeply to them. His editorial resonates especially now, during the holiday season, when so many Georgians return to their home state and have the opportunity to engage in real dialogue about family values – and how those values include all families in the state, including those headed by same-sex couples. This isn’t the first time – a Kentucky criminal defense attorney had submitted a similar letter after seeing stigma and violence attached to same-sex marriage in his numerous trials.