State Sen. Josh McKoon can't let go of his fixation on gay marriage, so much so that he wants to introduce another bill to make sure anti-gay conservatives like him have the protection of Georgia law to be so anti-gay.
McKoon is the daddy of "religious freedom" legislation that LGBT critics – and a host of progressive activists – argue would pave the way for anti-gay discrimination. And with gay marriage legal in Georgia, McKoon says he'll introduce a second measure for the 2016 legislative session – the First Amendment Defense Act.
Don't be fooled by the title. It's another effort from the Columbus Republican to hit back at gay marriage. Via Peach Pundit:
The federal version of the legislation would prevent the federal government from discriminating against individuals or organizations because of their belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Presumably, passage of the act would protect an organization from losing its tax exempt status or federal funds because of it’s religious or moral beliefs.
The federal version would not apply to state law. If a state version of the act were to pass, it presumably would protect a baker or florist who prefers not to participate in a same-sex marriage from a discrimination claim.
McKoon pitched it during a GOP fish fry on Saturday between campaign stops with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who was in Georgia to add McKoon and other anti-gay lawmakers to his presidential campaign. And McKoon goaded his Gold Dome colleagues about the legislation in a Monday Facebook post.
Thought for the Day: Every Republican in Georgia's Congressional Delegation has co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act. If Georgia's Supermajority Republican General Assembly fails to pass a state FADA in January, it will be clear proof that Elected State GOPers are to the left of our own U.S. Congressmen and Senators. #gapol #gagop #gasen
McKoon did promise in June that his "religious freedom" bill – which flopped after he refused to add LGBT protections to it – wouldn't be the only assault if gay marriage became legal in Georgia. It did and he's swatting back. (He also pledged to try again next year with "religious freedom.")
McKoon's bill split the Republican party during this year's legislative session. And in an attempt to avoid that in 2016, House Speaker David Ralston proposed a Pastor Protection Act in July. The powerful GOP leader wants to soothe the fears of conservatives over gay marriage, even if pastors who refuse to conduct same-sex marriages are already protected by the Constitution.
What does all of this mean for the 2016 legislative session? Nothing good for LGBT equality. Notes Peach Pundit:
Assuming Sen. McKoon follows through with his intention to introduce the First Amendment Defense Act, Speaker Ralston pushes for passage of the Pastor Protection Act, and efforts to pass the religious liberty bill continue, that will mean there are three separate bills before the legislature in an election year dealing with the aftermath of June’s Supreme Court Obergefell decision.