Axios Atlanta

Picture of the Atlanta skyline.

It's Wednesday. Let's get at it.

⛈ Today's weather: Chance of storms with a high of 83, low of 68.

Situational awareness: Rudy Giuliani, former president Trump’s one-time lawyer, is expected at the Fulton County Courthouse today to testify to a grand jury panel investigating efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election.

  • Giuliani has been named a target in the investigation.

Today's newsletter is 889 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Georgia Republicans divided on same-sex marriage

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

In the wake of the Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade, the LGBTQ+ community is warily watching for impacts on other Supreme Court decisions, including the right to same-sex marriage guaranteed by the Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision in 2015.

  • In his brief supporting the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the court should also revisit other decisions, including Obergefell.

Why it matters: Georgia voters approved a constitutional ban on same sex-marriage in 2004, which remains on the books. Should Obergefell be overturned as Roe v. Wade was, that provision would take effect.

Threat level: In the wake of the reversal of Roe v. Wade and what implications it might have, there's "a lot of concern among the LGBTQ community," Jeff Graham, director of Georgia Equality told Axios.

  • Georgia's provision, Graham said, both prohibit future marriages and prohibit the court from recognizing existing marriages, civil unions or domestic partnerships.
  • He's heard from LGBTQ people who have moved up their wedding dates to try to avoid a Supreme Court decision getting in the way.

Driving the news: While all top statewide Democratic candidates in Georgia support protections for same-sex marriage and would support a repeal of the constitutional ban, Axios found differing positions on the Republican ticket:

  • Senate candidate Herschel Walker declined to answer several questions about the issue.
  • Incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp said his personal position is that marriage is between a man and a woman.
  • Lieutenant Governor nominee State Sen. Burt Jones said he supports same-sex marriage.
  • Incumbent Attorney General Chris Carr declined to provide his own position on the issue but vowed to continue defending the state's constitution.

State of play: No case to challenge Obergefell has been presented yet, but the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments over a case that could overturn precedent protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination by business owners.

  • Given the impending case, Graham said Georgia advocates are immediately focused on a state-level non-discrimination law.

Context: This summer, the U.S. House passed a measure to codify federal protections for same-sex marriage with broad bipartisan support, and Senators are negotiating to craft a bipartisan version.

Be smart: A federal law would trump any state provision.

Full story: Axios Atlanta asked the top candidates running in 2022 to explain their positions on the issue

2. Mayor introduces affordable housing proposals

The former Atlanta Constitution building

The former Georgia Power Atlanta Division Building once housed the Atlanta Constitution could be redeveloped into affordable housing units. Credit: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

Mayor Andre Dickens has introduced a slew of projects as part of his plan to create 20,000 affordable housing units over the next eight years.

Why it matters: Home prices and rents have soared across Atlanta over the last several years, making the city unaffordable for many longtime residents.

Driving the news: Dickens introduced five proposals on Tuesday for the City Council to consider:

  • Buying two parcels of land at 143 Alabama Street (the Georgia Power Atlanta Division Building that housed the Atlanta Constitution) so Invest Atlanta can move ahead with a partnership to build affordable housing units.
  • Developing a city-owned parking lot at 181 Forsyth Street into a transit-oriented housing project.
  • Placing $400,000 into the Metro Atlanta Land Bank Authority to clear titles and redevelop vacant properties.
  • Transferring single-family residential properties in Grove Park to the Land Bank Authority. This will give the authority the ability to partner with an organization to create a larger multi-family development.

What they're saying: Dickens said Tuesday in a press release that "expediting" development on public properties will help his administration reach the 20,000 goal.

  • The proposals were created in collaboration with the Affordable Housing Strike Force, which was formed to identify the obstacles and needs relating to developing affordable homes for city residents.

Of note: 1,240 affordable housing units have been created since Dickens took office in January and another 4,044 are under construction, the city said.

Go deeper: Affordable housing stock shrinks across metro Atlanta

3. Good bites: Mushi Ni in Little Trouble

A basket of three bao sandwiches with plant-based “meats” with Tokyo fries in the background

Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

😎 Hello! Thomas here.

Are you a sucker for pillowy steamed bao, grain bowls and chicken gyoza dumplings tossed with chimichurri and chili oil?

  • Do tempura fried Oreos dipped in vegan chocolate also make you smile?

Then head to Mushi Ni on the Westside for lunch.

State of play: Yesterday, Kristal, Emma and I met up to celebrate someone’s birthday (mine) at the Asian American fusion restaurant in Little Trouble, the Blade Runner-themed bar.

  • Your scribes each ordered three bao. I bought plant-based options that include a tofu katsu that packed just the right amount of crispy, Beyond teriyaki patty and cauliflower bang bang.

There's also coconut shrimp, bo kho brisket, duck confit and much more. Also, Tokyo fries with umami spices.

Catch up quick: Owned by husband and wife team Michael Le and Tanya Jimenez, Mushi Ni built a following at EAV’s Global Grub Collective and started serving lunch and dinner at Little Trouble in 2020.

What's next: Next year, the couple hopes to open the doors on their brick-and-mortar space Mushi Ni — Japanese for "braise" — in Inman Park along the Beltline.

Verdict: What are your lunch plans?

4. Five Points: Try eating alone

Illustration of a neon sign on a metal tower reading 5ish Points.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

💸 Gov. Brian Kemp is distributing more than $1 billion in federal COVID relief funds via one-time $350 payments to Georgia enrollees in Medicaid, SNAP, and/or TANF benefit programs. (Georgia.gov)

⚖️ Former president Trump’s one-time legal advisor was ordered to appear before the Fulton DA's special grand jury. (Axios)

🍔 Need some peace and quiet? 20 places to eat alone in Atlanta. (Eater)

📜 Atlanta leaders approved a controversial agreement to house Fulton County detainees at the City Detention Center on Monday. (Axios)

💉Georgia opened a new, centralized monkeypox vaccine scheduling portal. (WABE)

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👂🏼Emma recommends this talk by Atlanta’s own Bill Barrow to anyone interested in the state of political journalism today.

🦟 Kristal hates mosquitoes. That is all.

🤝 Thomas wants to know the most convenient spot for Axios readers to gather for a meet-and-greet.