Publication Date

September 1, 1994

Within the context of the site selection policy adopted in January (see page 17), the AHA Council at its May meeting reviewed its decision to hold the 1996 annual meeting in Atlanta. The specific concern was whether a Georgia antisodomy law constitutes discriminatory legislation on the basis of sexual orientation and hence grounds for canceling hotel contracts and relocating the annual meeting. The Council and its legal counsel consulted with the Georgia office of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Committee on Lesbian and Gay History, and the Committee on Women Historians and decided not to relocate the meeting. The Council concluded that the city's positive record on lesbian and gay rights outweighs the problems raised by the antisodomy statute, although in other circumstances such a law might be the deciding factor. Unlike Cincinnati, Atlanta has enacted civil rights protections for lesbians and gays in areas such as public accommodations and employment, and these rights have not been, and the Council believes are unlikely to be, revoked by popular vote. Those familiar with the political climate in Atlanta have assured the Council that it is a progressive city and will welcome visitors regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation.

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