Mayor’s Office of Communications
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 2500 • Atlanta, Georgia 30303
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/14/13
Mayor Kasim Reed Names City of Atlanta Chief Counsel Robin Shahar as
Mayor’s Advisor on LGBT Issues
ATLANTA – Mayor Kasim Reed named Robin Shahar as the Mayor’s Advisor on LGBT Issues on Monday. In this role, she will counsel the Mayor on LGBT issues arising on the local, state and national levels and she will work with community groups to identify strategies for achieving equal protection and treatment for Atlanta’s LGBT residents, workers and visitors.
Robin Shahar is a Chief Counsel in the City of Atlanta’s Department of Law. A Woodruff Fellow at Emory University School of Law, she began her tenure with the Law Department in 1993. Among many legal victories, Shahar successfully represented the city against then-Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine in 1999 when he refused to approve the city’s plan to provide insurance benefits to domestic partners. At the time, the City of Atlanta was the first government in Georgia to provide insurance benefits for domestic partners. The victory cleared the way for employers across Georgia to grant domestic partnership benefits.
“I am pleased that Robin Shahar will assume this vital role in my administration,” said Mayor Reed. “In addition to her keen legal mind, she is well-respected in the community and will be an effective ambassador. My administration and I are dedicated to eliminating barriers to equality, fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and engaging the LGBT community across the city.”
Mayor Reed has been a long-time advocate on behalf of LGBT issues. During his terms in the Georgia House of Representatives and Georgia State Senate, he sponsored the only hate crimes bill ever to pass the General Assembly and defended the LGBT community’s right to adopt children. As a co-sponsor for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Mayor Reed proposed a measure that would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by civilian and nonreligious employers. In 2004, Mayor Reed also voted against the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Georgia. In 2012, Mayor Reed announced his support for marriage equality.
“I am honored and privileged to work with a Mayor who cares deeply about LGBT equality, and who values diversity as integral to Atlanta’s strength and vibrancy,” said Robin Shahar.
In keeping with Atlanta’s rank as one of the highest LGBT populations in the country based on U.S. Census and other data, Atlanta’s city government has long been a leader on LGBT issues, including numerous provisions that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity by businesses, stores, hotels, restaurants and other public accommodations, and in housing sales and rentals. Atlanta’s City Code also prohibits sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the city’s employment decisions, and the city offers its employees the ability to enroll a domestic partner for health insurance coverage and to name a domestic partner as a pension beneficiary. In addition to Ms. Shahar’s role as Mayor’s Advisor on LGBT Issues, the Atlanta Police Department’s LGBT Liaison Unit is comprised of two sworn officers and an advisory board whose goal is to improve the relationship between the LGBT community and the Atlanta Police Department.
For more information about the City of Atlanta, please visit http://www.atlantaga.gov or watch City Channel 26. Follow the City of Atlanta on Facebook and Twitter @CityofAtlanta. Follow Mayor Reed on Facebook and Twitter @Kasim Reed