Political Insider

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Georgia Voice: Josh McKoon was a legal contact for anti-LBGT clergyman

On the eve of a crucial House committee hearing for the surviving “religious liberty” bill before the Legislature, Patrick Saunders of the Georgia Voice reports on a relationship between state Sen. Josh McKoon, the author of S.B. 129, and a clergyman known for his anti-gay views:

McKoon [was] 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”….

McKoon was the one who filed the paper work with the Secretary of State’s office to form the nonprofit corporation in 2011 for Voorhees. As the registered agent of the ministry, McKoon represented it in all legal matters. However, for three years the ministry never paid the annual fees to the state to keep it as an active corporation.

The latest entity status date for the ministry was February 2, 2014 and it showed the corporation was to be dissolved. Voorhees has set up a new corporation, Chaplain Paul Voorhees Ministry, Inc., that became active in April 2014 and lists a different registered agent, Robert S. Poydasheff.

This evening, McKoon said the minister was one of many clients he has represented over the years.

“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.

The Columbus lawmaker said his relationship with Voorhees ended last year, in a tiff over local politics, before he introduced the previous version of his bill intended to prevent government intrusion into matters of faith. With the U.S. Supreme Court set to rule on gay marriage this year, critics have labeled the legislation as a license to discriminate against gay couples.

McKoon said he never discussed his legislation, or the topic of gay marriage, with Voorhees.

The Georgia Voice also cited Muscogee County public records indicating that Voorhees is McKoon’s landlord. The state senator said that, at one point, he did rent a Voorhees-owned piece of property with the intention of purchasing it, but that the clergyman sold the property out from under him. He no longer lives in that house.

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Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.