Hundreds of gay and lesbian rights advocates gathered Tuesday March 17th at the Oklahoma State Capitol to protest a recently revealed anti-gay speech by Oklahoma City Representative Sally Kern.

The speech given to a group of about 50 Republicans in Oklahoma was posted on the video sharing website YouTube on March 7th by The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a gay advocacy group that works to elect openly GLBT people. In the speech, the Republican representative asserts that gays are dangerous to America, are indoctrinating young children to accept the homosexual lifestyle, and are infiltrating city councils. Kern was unaware that she was being recorded.

“I honestly think it's [homosexuality] the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam,” Kern tells her audience.

The rally was organized by Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), a group devoted to supporting GLBT family members. Several area church leaders spoke at the event.

In an email to On Top Magazine, PFLAG Director of Communications Steve Ralls said, “What Representative Kern said was not just offensive to the LGBT community, but to the thousands of Oklahoma families with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender loved ones, too.”

Tuesday's rally was just another visible sign of the mounting pressure gathering for Kern to resign. As of Tuesday, her office was reporting she had received over 26,000 emails, some threatening her life. The Internet response has been swift with hundreds of blogs and video responses posted, most condemning her speech. Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund President Chuck Wolfe called for an apology in an editorial published on the Huffington Post website.

Kern, a Baptist minister's wife, remains unapologetic and is receiving support from Christian groups.

Concerned Women for America, a group that works for the advancement of Christian values in policy making, recently posted an interview with Kern on the CWA website. In that interview CWA's Matt Barber is joined by Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth, a group devoted to “exposing and countering the homosexual activist agenda.” Both Barber and LaBarbera congratulate Kern on her courage to stand up to the “homosexual bullies.”

On Wednesday the Christian based Thomas More Law Center announced they had agreed to represent Kern free of charge in any legal action. TMLC describes themselves as a “public interest firm dedicated to the defense and promotion of the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of life.”

In making the announcement Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel, said his client had been threatened with legal action for expressing her First Amendment right to free speech. “Representative Kern will not back down, regardless of the attempted hate-mongering intimidation by these national homosexual advocacy groups. Their actions are right out of a play-book developed by radical homosexual activist in the 1980s to manipulate and intimidate the majority of Americans into accepting the normalcy of the homosexual life style...In effect, their goal is to criminalize Christians and Christian beliefs,” Thompson said on the group's website.

Tuesday's PFLAG rally was brief, lasting approximately forty minutes. Neither Kern nor a representative from her office attended the event. PFLAG's Steve Ralls said the group's Oklahoma City chapter had requested a meeting with Kern through her scheduler and that prior to the rally, on Tuesday, an additional hand written meeting request was left at her office.

“PFLAG families put a very real face on the constituents Kern targeted with her remarks. Tuesday's rally included mothers, fathers, pastors and friends of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Oklahomans. Their presence at the Capitol was a visible, and poignant, message to Kern. There is nothing more American, and more patriotic, than having our voices heard as part of the dialogue of our democracy. And, whether Kern was physically in the Capitol or not, there is no question that she heard from those who attended. As the lawmaker elected to represent those constituents, she should also respond, meet with and answer them,” Steve Ralls said.

Photo provided by John T. Walters.