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
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
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
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
“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.