Architects of anti-LGBTQ ‘religious freedom’ push nab state jobs

The main forces behind Georgia’s “religious freedom” fight couldn’t convince voters they deserved to stay in office, so now they’re joining the staffs of incoming statewide officeholders instead.

State Sen. Josh McKoon (photo left) — the face of the state’s “religious freedom” fight for the last five years — will be the top aide to Jim Beck when he takes over as insurance commissioner, according to the AJC.

“As one of my key goals is to increase transparency in our operations,” Beck said, “I am excited to have a dynamic leader who has been at the forefront of ethics and transparency in state government as part of my team.”  

McKoon lost a bid for secretary of state in the Republican primary in May. He was slated to become executive director of the Georgia chapter of the Faith & Freedom Coalition — an anti-LGBTQ group that opposes marriage equality — but those plans are on hold.

Brad Raffensperger outlasted McKoon and others in the Republican primary for secretary of state before defeating Democrat John Barrow in the general election in November. Raffensperger has now hired state Rep. Sam Teasley (photo right) as his external affairs director, according to the AJC.

Teasley pushed anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” bills for years with little success. He tried it in 2014, then he paired up with state McKoon but failed again in 2015. He co-sponsored another one in 2016 that went nowhere, and he continued voting for the legislation throughout his remaining time in office.

Democrat Mary Frances Williams narrowly beat Teasley to take over his House District 37 seat.

Beck and Raffensperger take office on Jan. 14.