GOP House members take aim at gay pastor

Posted on 13 Feb 2009 at 11:37am
By Associated Press

Openly gay lawmaker McAffrey invited COH/OKC minister to deliver opening prayer

OKLAHOMA CITY — In a rare move in the Oklahoma House, a group of Republicans voted unsuccessfully to exclude a gay pastor’s prayer from becoming a part of the House journal.

Before offering his daily prayer in the House on Wednesday, the Rev. Scott Jones acknowledged several people in the gallery — "dear friends, my wonderful parents, and my loving partner and fiance, Michael."

Jones, the guest of state Rep. Al McAffrey, is the pastor of the Cathedral of Hope in Oklahoma City.

When McAffrey, D-Oklahoma City, asked in the session’s closing minutes that Jones’ prayer be made part of the House journal, the chamber’s official record, Rep. John Wright objected and called for a vote.

With 16 members having already left, the House voted 64-20 to include Jones’ prayer in the House journal.

Among those voting no was Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, who a year ago called homosexuality the biggest threat facing the United States.

"I’m sure that because most of Scott’s congregation are gay people and Scott is gay himself, I’m sure that’s the reason why there were negative votes on it," McAffrey said.

Contacted later, Wright, R-Broken Arrow, said the practice of including a minister’s prayer in the House journal usually is reserved for Thursdays, the last workday for legislators. But Wright acknowledged that he didn’t concur with comments made by Jones and said his actions were motivated by "the faith."

"I don’t know if it’s important to create an inflammatory issue out of something because that is not my intent," he said.

McAffrey, the Legislature’s only openly gay member, said he’s never heard a legislator object to a prayer being made part of the House journal during his three years there.

"I’ve been around here long enough already that you just let things roll off your sleeve sometimes. If they want to show that they are against prayer by a minister, that’s their option."

Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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