In which House Democrats in Oklahoma walk out of the chamber rather than dignify an anti-marriage-equality bill with a vote. Marriage equality has been illegal in Oklahoma since voters passed a constitutional amendment 2004; this bill, which passed 84-0, only reaffirmed the state’s commitment to discrimination. (via The Advocate)
The Human Rights Campaign helped spark a campaign that has sent 200,000 emails to Oklahoma state legislators and the governor calling on them to condemn hateful remarks by antigay state representative Sally Kern.
Kern has steadfastly stood behind her 2008 remarks where she said gays were more dangerous than terrorists. She most recently made similar statements on August 31 to Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality:
“Every day our young people, adults too, but especially our young people, are bombarded at school, in movies, in music, on TV, in the mall, in magazines, they’re bombarded with ‘homosexuality is normal and natural.’ It’s something they have to deal with every day. Fortunately we don’t have to deal with a terrorist attack every day, and that’s what I mean.”
The HRC is calling upon Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin and other state leaders to make a public statement condemning Kern’s remarks — so far no one has taken the offer. In the interim, their in-boxes are getting flooded.
In the past eight hours alone, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) members and supporters have generated 145,000 emails to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and state legislative leaders calling on them to denounce State Rep. Sally Kern’s dangerous anti-LGBT remarks. In a recent interview with the hate group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Kern said young people learn that homosexuality is “normal and natural” because they’re “bombarded” with it every day. As a result, Kern claims, homosexuality presents a bigger threat to the United States than terrorism. She also implied gay Americans were responsible for the HIV/AIDS crisis.
“Americans are sending a message loud and clear to Oklahoma’s leadership – Sally Kern’s brand of bigotry is entirely unacceptable,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Her dangerous remarks stand to incite violence against LGBT Americans, and are so far out of the mainstream that they cannot go unnoticed. At a time when the majority of the nation is showing support for a wide array of equality issues, Sally Kern is spreading a false message of hate that must be stopped.”
Kern made similar remarks in 2008 comparing homosexuality to terrorism. Her statements last week come at a time when a number of extremist political figures and candidates are adopting anti-gay messaging.
HRC is calling on its members and supporters to keep the pressure up on Governor Fallin and the state’s legislative leaders, and to rally friends and family to join in taking action. For the latest, visit www.hrc.org/callitout.
Kern recently told a talk show host that AIDS and homosexuality is a bigger threat than terrorism in America, and that it is more dangerous because, “it will tear down the moral fiber of this nation.”
She also said that it the problem in America is: “Every day our young people are bombarded at school, in movies, in music, on TV, in the mall, in magazines…with homosexuality as normal and natural…fortunately we don’t have to deal with a terrorist attack every day.” Therefore, she concluded that our “great nation founded on the principles of religion and morality” will not survive with any homosexual presence.
An Oklahoma lawmaker who gained national notoriety with an anti-homosexual rant in 2008 disparaged blacks and women during a debate this week on an affirmative action bill, prompting the head of the state NAACP chapter to demand her resignation. Republican state Rep. Sally Kern, of Oklahoma City, said Thursday she was sorry for remarks she made on the floor of the House and that she had “misspoke.”
During a legislative debate late Wednesday, Kern questioned whether there were disproportionately high numbers of blacks in state prisons because “they didn’t want to work hard in school.” Kern also said women don’t work as hard as men because they “tend to think a little bit more about their families.”
The president of the Oklahoma State Conference of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People rejected Kern’s apology.
“Her constituents in her district should call for her to step down unless they support her in what she said,” Anthony Douglas said. “Let’s send a message out that in Oklahoma we will not tolerate racism at its ugliest level.”
Kern, a retired teacher, is serving her fourth two-year term in the House after being easily re-elected in November from a district that has traditionally supported socially conservative candidates.
“Women are some of the hardest workers in the world,” she said in her statement Thursday. She also said her husband “is a pastor of a diverse inner-city church and the way that my words came out last night is certainly not my true spirit.”
In 2008, Kern was criticized after saying at a political forum that gay people posed a greater threat to the U.S. than terrorists. In 2009, she campaigned for a proclamation criticizing the government for drifting from traditional Christian values.
Kern’s remarks Wednesday came during a debate on a proposed constitutional amendment to end discrimination and preferential treatment in state government hiring and contracting based on race, color, sex, ethnicity or national origin. It passed the House 59-14 and now goes to voters next year.
“It kind of seems to me that the premise here tonight is that color and sex is the sole factor that determines whether or not you get ahead or whether or not you don’t get ahead,” Kern said during the debate.
“It’s character that ought to count, not whether or not you’re black, whether you’re white, whether you’re purple, whether you’re whatever. It should be your character. It should be your willingness to say I’m going to become everything I can become,” she said.
Updates on Oklahoma’s anti-bullying bill and two bills that threaten civil rights.
Downloadable document from Scribd.
A 19-year-old gay man from Oklahoma has taken his own life, and his parents say a hate-filled recent City Council meeting he attended may have driven him over the edge.
Zach Harrington was a talented musician who’d endured years of struggles due to his sexual orientation in high school in conservative Norman, Okla.
On Sept. 28, Harrington attended a three-hour public hearing on a proposal to declare October gay history month in the city. Although the council ultimately approved the proposal, Harrington’s parents described the meeting as potentially “toxic” for their son, a private person who internalized his feelings.
From The Norman Transcript:
Nikki Harrington, Zach’s older sister, said her brother likely took all of the negative things said about members of the GLBT community straight to heart.
“When he was sitting there, I’m sure he was internalizing everything and analyzing everything … that’s the kind of person he was,” she said. “I’m sure he took it personally. Everything that was said.”
Harrington’s father, Van, said he wasn’t sure why his son went to the meeting, especially after his experiences in Norman once he revealed that he was gay as a teenager. He said he feels his son may have glimpsed a hard reality at the Sept. 28 council meeting, a place where the same sentiments that quietly tormented him in high school were being shouted out and applauded by adults the same age as his own parents.
“I don’t think it was a place where he would hear something to make him feel more accepted by the community,” he said. “For somebody like Zach, it (the meeting) was probably very hard to sit through.”
Zach Harrington committed suicide at his family’s home in Norman seven days after the meeting, yet another apparent victim of anti-gay hate. His parents say they hope the story of his death will make people think twice before they say certain things about their friends and neighbors in public. We’re hoping it will also prompt them to reflect upon the hatred in their hearts.
Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern is back comparing gays to terrorists again — saying gays are actually worse because they’re everywhere, “bombarding” the nation with homosexuality — while the country has only had three terrorist attacks.
When you mention the name Sally Kern, most people think of the now-infamous speech she gave two years ago, declaring homosexuals more dangerous to America than terrorists. But that is the first of many misconceptions Kern says she wants to clear up.
“Here in America we’ve had what maybe three known real big terrorist attacks on our nation,” Kern said. “But every day our young people especially, all of us, but our young people especially are in a sense bombarded with the message that homosexuality is normal and natural.”
Watch the video HERE.
Yes, even in the land of virulently anti-gay Sally ‘Get Your Gun’ Kern, some municipalities in the Sooner state are moving forward to offer protections against discrimination for it’s LGBT citizens.
On Thursday, the Tulsa City Council voted 6-3 to add sexual orientation to the list of protected classes for its city employees.
The city’s discrimination policy now reads:
“The city of Tulsa provides that there shall be no discrimination against any individual because of race, color, sex, age, religion, political beliefs, national origin, ancestry, age or disability or sexual orientation.”