State Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, authored one of two bills that pulled Georgia into the national debate over religious freedom and discrimination.
Critics say Senate Bill 377, McKoon’s legislation, and House Bill 1023, by Rep. Sam Teasley, R-Marietta, could open the door to private business owners declining on religious grounds to serve people they believe are gay, bisexual or transgender.
McKoon and Teasley have said they did not intend to target the gay community, but their bills were pulled into the political firestorm over a religious freedom bill passed in Arizona and vetoed Wednesday by that state’s governor, Jan Brewer. Major corporations that lined up against the Arizona measure voiced similar concerns about the bills by McKoon and Teasley, both of which have been given slim chances of passage heading into the final days of the General Assembly’s session.
McKoon was selling his bill, in part, by capitalizing on the backlash against the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.
He told reporters Monday that SB 377 would be “another tool in the tool kit of those who are fighting on the Obamacare front — Catholic health institutions who are being asked to provide abortion services, that sort of thing.”
Others dispute McKoon’s assessment. PolitiFact Georgia decided to take a deeper look.
McKoon said one of his intentions was to help Catholic institutions that, under the ACA, could be expected to provide services they normally find objectionable, such as making available abortion-inducing medications.