• Lawmaker Reveals He Is Gay, Denies Lobbyist Gifts For Sex

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    ATLANTA,None - The man who sent emails to dozens of lawmakers accusing a southwest Atlanta legislator of sexual misconduct now admits he has no proof.

    Jermaine Callahan confirmed he wrote the email accusing State Rep. Rashad Taylor, D-southwest Atlanta, of trading state funds and lobbyist gifts for sexual favors from men. But, Callahan later admitted he had no direct evidence of the misconduct and was only repeating secondhand stories.

    The email did prompt Taylor to hold a news conference confirming he is gay.

    "I am a gay man," said Taylor. "This is not the way I wanted to come out, but I feel lucky for all the support from those who are closest to me."

    Taylor said Callahan was his boyfriend's former partner and may have had an ulterior motive for sending the emails.

    "The gentleman who wrote the email was the former partner of the person I'm now seeing," said Taylor. "He hoped he would humiliate and embarrass me by sending this email."

    Taylor made his announcement at the Georgia Equality offices, a supporter of the LBGT community. Many in the LBGT community applauded his decision to come out and now feel they have a voice in the Georgia General Assembly.

    "I could not be more proud of Taylor," said Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham. "He has made the right decision. He already expressed that he has begun to feel that the burden of hiding in the closet has lifted from him."

    Taylor was very critical of Callahan's decision to send the email.

    "I find it absolutely reprehensible and disgusting that another member of this community would use these types of tactics of fear and intimidation and would embrace this backward and frankly hurtful attitude that to be gay is to have a horrible secret," said Taylor.

    A source in the House of Representatives said Callahan contacted the Ethics Commission last week with the allegations, but never filed a formal complaint, so there is no investigation into the charges.

    State Rep. Ralph Long's district is right next to Taylor's. He offered his support and said he hopes Taylor's constituents will judge him on his work not on his sexuality.

    "I know I am judged by the work and product I put out," said Long. "I think he'll be held to those same standards. He's been working and I think his constituents will hold him to that and judge him by that."

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