Gay attorney and Korean-American Sam Park made history on Tuesday by defeating incumbent state Rep. Valerie Clark, a Republican, in a squeaker with 445 votes to win the House District 101 seat in Gwinnett. He received 51.07 percent to 48.93 percent of the vote.
Park had coalition of LGBT groups and activists backing him to defeat his opponents Republican support.
Georgia Equality, which endorsed Park, applauded his historic election.
“The election of an openly gay man to the Georgia General Assembly represents just one more step on the road to full equality for LGBT people in Georgia,” Jeff Graham, Georgia Equality’s executive director, said in a statement late Tuesday. “Sam Park will join a growing number of elected officials who will fight for the rights of LGBT people as we push for full state-wide nondiscrimination laws in the coming legislative session.”
Graham also noted that Park’s win ousts a Republican who voted for controversial anti-LGBT “religious freedom” legislation in March.
“Not only is the election of Sam important for the LGBT and Asian-American communities, it is also an acknowledgement that Georgia voters are rejecting the politics of discrimination,” Graham said.
Sam Park told Project Q Atlanta last week.
“It would be an honor to win as the first openly gay man elected to the state legislature, and I hope it gives young, gay kids hope that there is a brighter future, that there is nothing that stands in their way just because of who they are,”