Marc Yeager, former president of the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans, last night sent over three sets of e-mail exchanges he had with Karen Handel – now a GOP candidate for governor — in 2002 and 2003.
“As I’ve told you, I do support domestic partner benefits, and confirm my position here, although I do have concerns about a domestic partner registry. Bottom line is that I will work with you and other GLBT leaders to develop workable legislation,” Handel wrote in July 2002, when she was a candidate for a district seat on the Fulton County Commission.
Attached to that e-mail exchange is a draft of a questionnaire to Georgia Equality, a gay rights group.
Handel spokesman Dan McLagan said that the e-mail and the draft of the questionnaire – which McLagan said was never submitted – were composed by Matt Montgomery, Handel’s campaign manager at the time.
“Karen never supported domestic partnership benefits. The one opportunity she had to vote on the issue, she voted against them. And she did not send the e-mail,” McLagan said.
Minutes later, Montgomery called to assume responsibility for the e-mail. He did not remember typing the closing phrase – “fondly, Karen.” Possibly, he said, it was an automated signature on the e-mail.
“I was going back and forth with Marc Yeager at the time,” said Montgomery. He is currently a state employee with the governor’s Office of Highway Safety, which is why — Montgomery said — he had not been drawn into the dispute until Monday.
McLagan said he could not confirm or deny the legitimacy of the other e-mail exchanges.
In Exchange No. 3, Handel wonders at then-congressman Johnny Isakson’s support for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in the United States.
“I was a little surprised since I always thought that Johnny was fairly moderate about the gay community and specific issues….has that changed???” she asked in 2003, when she was running for the chairmanship of the Fulton County Commission.
Yeager also said that he accepted a check from Handel, for membership in the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans, a GOP group for gays and lesbians.
This is from a May article in the Savannah Morning News:
Deal says she backed adoptions by gay couples and county employee benefits for gay domestic partners – and joined the pro-gay-rights Log Cabin Republicans.
If she did, that might have played well in Fulton County – but wouldn’t with most conservatives likely to vote in the July 20 GOP primary.
But she didn’t support such adoptions or benefits, said spokesman Dan McLagan. Like other Republicans, she spoke to the Log Cabin group, McLagan said, but – as far he knows – didn’t join.
My AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin just got off the phone with Yeager.
Asked if he spoke to Handel face-to-face specifically about domestic partner benefits, Yeager said, “Oh, several times.”
The issue was an important one for Log Cabin Republicans in the race for county commission.
“There were several conversations with myself and Karen, Mansell McCord, who was [former] chapter president at the time, that was a conversation that was fully vetted. There was no question as to where she stood,” Yeager said.
As for her campaign manager’s claim that it was he, and not she, who wrote the July 30, 2002 e-mail indicating support for domestic partner benefits, Yaeger is dubious.
“Clearly, in all the e-mails I have between myself and Karen, there was never, ever any thought I was e-mailing to anybody else other than Karen,” he said. “I have numerous e-mails between Karen Handel and myself unrelated to these issues. Never, ever, was I under the impression there was someone responding for her. I had her personal cell phone number. I was able to reach Karen directlyi. There was never any thought I had at the time. And I still don’t now.”
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