Josh McKoon – the Republican state senator who wants to save Christians in Georgia from baking gay wedding cakes – is a loser. LGBT activists have long known it. But now it’s official. Even the AJC says so.
The pouty, pudgy sponsor of an anti-gay “religious freedom” bill that came a little to close to becoming actual law last month had a tough legislative session. He fought LGBT activists, national criticism and even a few leaders in his own party for the bill. While he maintained that it wouldn’t open the floodgates of discrimination on the state’s LGBT residents and gut non-discrimination ordinances in nearly 60 places, McKoon steadfastly opposed any efforts to include LGBT protections in the bill.
And for that, the measure died in the House Judiciary Committee, at least until its resurrection next January. For his legislative flop – the second one in as many years on the bill – the AJC dubbed him a loser right up there with feral hogs.
LOSER: Josh McKoon. The Columbus lawmaker sponsored one of Georgia's “religious liberty” bills. The effort was eventually stalled and amended to the point where supporters tabled it before it came up for a full vote in the House. However, the issue is expected to resurface in 2016.
McKoon’s legislative antics were enough for Creative Loafing to include him among its Golden Sleaze Awards.
THE IT'S HARD TO BE A WHITE, STRAIGHT, CHRISTIAN MALE IN GEORGIA” AWARD
Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus
Months before the legislative session, McKoon planned to reintroduce his controversial “religious freedom” legislation, despite opponents’ fears that it could give business owners a license to discriminate on religious grounds. Gay people denied services? Sure. Women denied access to birth control? Possibly. He could have added language into this unnecessary bill to quell those fears. But the Columbus senator demanded his bill remain intact. The bill, which 20 other states have passed and 12 other states have legal precedents providing similar protection, gained Senate approval but was tabled by House lawmakers. Following President Barack Obama's executive order protecting some undocumented immigrants from deportation, McKoon pushed to make it harder for them to obtain a driver's license. The bill's name — “Georgia Road Safety and Driver's License Integrity Act” — sounds like it should be an insurance policy offering low rates. Instead it denies some minority Georgians given legal protection to stay in the United States a way to get to work.
The flap over the “religious freedom” bill may even earn McKoon an opponent in the 2016 election. Gay activist Jeremy Hobbs is considering jumping into the race to dethrone him, according to the GA Voice.
“Honestly, he’s not listening to the peoples’ voice,” Hobbs tells the Georgia Voice in reference to McKoon’s plans to reintroduce such a bill during the next legislative session. “You’ve got people sitting here telling him it’s bad for Georgia and it’s bad for business when we have so many other issues we need to take care of.”