Something surprising happened along the way to Georgia Republicans electing a new state chair: One candidate said it's time for the GOP to stop discriminating against the gays. 

That view came from Alex Johnson (photo), a 30-year-old DeKalb attorney who wants to unseat current GOP chair John Padgett. The two will tangle for the job during the GOP convention in Athens on May 15-16. 

Via the AJC: 

I asked Johnson about his own attitude toward gay marriage. He answered as any young Republican might. Yes, he thinks that marriage should be between a man and woman. But there was more:

“I think that, in the end, the government shouldn’t be what’s dictating the definition of marriage. I think that was a religious term,” Johnson said. “I think there should be no discrimination, though, against people who are gay. In the end, everyone needs to be welcomed. I don’t think the Republican Party needs to come across as anti-homosexual or anti-gay. I think that’s not a good idea.”

Johnson also talks of "big tent principles" in a YouTube pitch for the job (watch below), which is something the current Georgia GOP leadership doesn't talk about publicly. Padgett prefers to boldly lie about the party's equality efforts. 

An added twist to the race is that Erick Erickson, the WSB host and anti-gay troll, backed Johnson. Shhh. Don't tell Erickson about Johnson's LGBT-inclusive big tent. That runs contrary to Erickson's straight, white, male tent of privilege he'd like to keep the GOP in.

I have decided to support Alex Johnson for Georgia Republican Party Chairman.  The leadership of our party has more and more shown it prefers its base to write checks, show up on election day, and otherwise shut the hell up.

Georgia's Republican base needs a representative within the Georgia GOP.  Consequently, I believe those of you going to the State Convention in May should vote for Alex Johnson for Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party.

Erickson can't ever resist taking a cheap shot at LGBT issues, so his endorsement included this dig.

In fact, gay rights activists who would not pee on David Ralston or, for that matter, Nathan Deal if either were on fire, were able to get them to quash religious liberty protections in Georgia. 

That's so Erick.