Carter to Lead Discussion on Georgia Flag

Former President Carter will help lead a public discussion of whether Georgia should again enlarge the Confederate emblem on its state flag, Gov. Sonny Perdue said Friday.

Details of such a meeting had not been worked out, said Perdue, who campaigned last fall on a promise to let residents vote on the flag's design. The ballot would not be binding.

The flag issue has been brewing in Georgia for years. The banner had included a big Confederate emblem until two years ago, when the Legislature reduced it to a tiny square.

Supporters of the emblem say it reflects Southern heritage, while opponents -- many of whom are black -- say it represents racism and slavery.

The question heated up during the gubernatorial campaign, when Perdue, a poorly funded, unknown Republican from rural Georgia, defeated Democratic incumbent Roy Barnes, who had supported the flag change.

Perdue's referendum proposal needs approval of the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-controlled House. The Legislature could then use the results to decide whether it would consider making a change.

Perdue said he and Carter, a Democrat who was once Georgia's governor himself, did not discuss their individual positions on the flag.

Perdue said he suggested the Carter Center as a site. A phone call Friday to the Carter Center was not immediately returned.