DeKalb Judge Mike Jacobs, a former state representative who helped to form his home city of Brookhaven, has come out as bisexual.
Jacobs made the announcement at the Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia event on April 19, according to Project Q Atlanta. He also confirmed the announcement in a posting about the story on his Twitter account, @judgejacobs.
The Stonewall Bar is a professional organization made up of attorneys, judges and others in the legal profession who support equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Jacobs made the announcement at the public event with his wife, Evan, at his side. They have three children.
“Evan and I have made this decision for the benefit of the DeKalb County citizens I serve, for our kids, and for others like me,” Jacobs said on Twitter. “Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported this choice to come out.”
In his statement to Project Q, he added that DeKalb has a large LGBT population and that he sees LGBT people in his courtroom, including as prospective jurors.
“DeKalb County has never had a trial judge who openly identifies as LGBTQ,” Jacobs said in the statement quoted by Project Q. “This is something I can change simply by sharing this part of who I am with the public. Of course, my identity has no effect on my work as a judge. It is my solemn and absolute duty to deliver fair and impartial justice for every citizen. However, this decision to come out does help show the broader community the diversity of our bench.”
Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Jacobs to the state judgeship in 2015. The appointment was made after Jacobs successfully killed a “religious freedom” bill in a General Assembly committee by adding an amendment that would have prohibited discrimination against LGBT people.
As a state representative for the Brookhaven/Sandy Springs House District 80, Jacobs drafted the legislation to incorporate Brookhaven as a city. He also authored legislation in 2010 to report bullying in schools following the suicide of 11-year-old Jaheem Herrara, whose parents said he was bullied extensively at school, including being called “gay.”
Jacobs, who previously worked in Sandy Springs as an attorney, was first elected to the Georgia legislature as a Democrat in 2004, narrowly beating Republican J. Max Davis. Davis was elected as Brookhaven’s first mayor in 2010. When Jacobs was appointed to be a judge in 2015, Davis again ran for the open House District 80 seat in a special election, but lost to Taylor Bennett, a Democrat. Bennett, whose mother is lesbian, campaigned on being LGBT friendly and against any “religious freedom” bills, and LGBT rights have been a political issue for the office’s holder since then.
Hanson faces a challenge from openly gay Democrat Matthew Wilson on the November ballot.