Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle embraced a war on gay marriage in December. Now that it's exploded in his face, the Republican is trying to head off a national backlash by lying. But his actions speak louder than his words.
It was just Friday when Cagle presided over a Senate that voted 38-14 to approve an anti-gay bill that hijacked the harmless Pastor Protection Act from Rep. Kevin Tanner by tacking on all that is bad from Sen. Greg Kirk's First Amendment Defense Act.
A giddy Cagle couldn't contain himself on Facebook. That's where he expressed victory over “radical Atheist groups.”
“Together, we successfully fought back against radical Atheist groups in Georgia. Yesterday, the Senate passed legislation that will protect religious liberties of all of our public school student athletes. This sends a clear message that Georgia is still God's country.”
His office later told the AJC that Cagle was referring to a different “religious freedom” bill and not the hybrid House Bill 757 that is generating a national backlash. But you don't have to imagine too hard to see the response working for either bill. After all, this is the same Cagle that fired off a fundraising letter in December trying to get cash for supporters to fight gay marriage as a “threat to our values.”
And it's also from the same public official who snuck on the bus of Rev. Franklin Graham after the anti-gay pastor attacked transgender people during a Feb. 10 rally across the street from Cagle's office at the State Capitol. The gay-led progressive group Better Georgia captured video of Cagle stepping onto the bus to kiss Graham's ring.
But faced with a backlash over the new hybrid “religious freedom” bill – which LGBT and progressive activists call “state-sanctioned discrimination” – Cagle lies about what the bill really does and parrots the “live and let live” slogan of the bill's Republican backers. Via the AJC:
“It in no way interferes with our world-class tourism or business communities whatsoever,” Cagle said. “We are simply ensuring that no Georgian suffers at the hand of our government for their view on marriage.”
Ignore Cagle's words and study his actions: He's cozying up to Graham, inviting another anti-gay pastor to speak at the Capitol and coming up on the losing end of a federal lawsuit over the firing of a transgender employee at the General Assembly. It's clear that Cagle wants anyone who doesn't support his definition of marriage to suffer.