The Republican state senator aggressively pushing an anti-gay “religious freedom” proposal has deep ties to an anti-gay ministry that now exposed, he hopes you'll ignore.
On Monday, the Georgia Voice published a detailed account of McKoon's ties to Chaplain Paul Voorhees Ministries, an anti-gay ministry in McKoon's Columbus district. McKoon provided legal services, was once listed as the registered agent for the group and its anti-gay leader was also McKoon's landlord.
McKoon is listed as the registered agent for Chaplain Paul Voorhees Ministries, Inc. Voorhees, the host of “Ranger Joe’s God & Country” radio show in Columbus, routinely posts racist and homophobic messages on his Facebook page, including an image of him with fellow speakers at a north Georgia college holding homophobic signs, another image of a heterosexual couple holding hands with the words “Straight Pride” and Voorhees commenting “gay life is like an acting role with a used barf bag,” and an image of the atomic bomb that the United States dropped over the Japanese city of Nagasaki in 1945 with Voorhees calling the victims “rice krispies.”
Hours later, McKoon (photo) attempted to downplay his ties to the group and its founder.
“If we’re going to examine every client that every lawyer in the Legislature has represented, we’re not going to have any lawyers,” McKoon said this evening.
But McKoon's anti-gay ties can't be pushed aside so easily.
McKoon, who did not return a message left for comment Monday evening, and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle invited Voorhees to the Georgia State Capitol to be the chaplain of the day in 2011.
“I am proud to have introduced him to my colleagues, and his poignant words reminded me of the challenging, yet rewarding, days we have ahead of us,” McKoon said on the day Voorhees came to the Capitol. Voorhees was also chaplain of the day in 2012, but it is not clear if he was invited by McKoon.
Beyond detailing McKoon's anti-gay ties, the impact of the relationship further undercuts McKoon's repeated insistence that his RFRA wannabe legislation won't open the door to anti-gay discrimination. That's what LGBT and progressive activists have argued and McKoon tries to swat down. Yet he fought an amendment to his bill to clear up that point and likes to ignore that supporters of his legislation include this anti-gay religious wing-nut, this niece of MLK and a bunch of anti-gay religious groups.
Battle lines will be drawn again on Tuesday as McKoon's bill receives a hearing before a House committee. Tensions flared on Monday when a handful of activists were arrested as they occupied McKoon's office.
On Tuesday, former Georgia Attorney General Michael Bowers is expected to testify. The Republican with an anti-gay track record came out against McKoon's bill last month. Also expected to testify against the measure is Merwin Peake, according to the AJC. He just happens to be the brother of Republican state Rep. Allen Peake, who is a co-sponsor of a “religious freedom” measure from Rep. Sam Teasley. That House measure was dropped after Teasley ran afoul of House Speaker David Ralston, who remains skeptical of the bills.