All 27 anti-LGBT bills defeated in Oklahoma


The Oklahoma State Capitol

All 27 bills filed in the Oklahoma legislative session targeting the LGBT community have been defeated, according to a Freedom Oklahoma Facebook post.

“We have seen a truly unprecedented level of community advocacy this legislative session, and fair-minded legislators — both Republicans and Democrats — have listened. There will be no anti-LGBTQ laws passed in Oklahoma this year. It is our greatest hope that going forward we will be fighting for positive change, rather than fighting back against discrimination. But no matter what, we will keep fighting until every Oklahoman is equal under the law, and in every walk of life,” the post reads.

The state’s largest LGBT advocacy group had watched the bills closely. As in many other statehouses across the country, including Texas, the bills fell into two categories: “religious freedom” bills allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBT individuals based on “sincerely held” religious beliefs and those targeting transgender individuals.

One bill filed by notoriously anti-LGBT representative Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, was particularly alarming: House Bill 3044 would have prohibited school counselors, therapists or any public school official from referring a student to information on human sexuality without first notifying the student’s parental or legal guardian.

Kern ultimately pulled the bill, as my colleague Davis Taffet wrote, after learning about its “unintended consequences that negatively affect the wonderful work of some 50 pregnancy resource centers across the state.”

The Oklahoma legislative session began Monday, Feb. 1 and ends Friday, May 27.

—  James Russell

Sally Kern protects Oklahoma LGBT youth

Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern

Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern

Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern pulled her bill from consideration that would have prevented school personnel from referring suicidal LGBT students to counseling without first contacting their parents. The effect of the legislation could have been outing students to their parents, possibly triggering a suicide.

Kern insisted pulling the bill had nothing to do with protecting the lives of LGBT students. The way the bill is worded, no student with questions about sexuality could be referred to a counselor without notifying the parent first.

Kern found out the bill would have the “unintended consequences that negatively affect the wonderful work of some 50 pregnancy resource centers across the state.”

So-called pregnancy resource centers main purpose is talking pregnant women out of having an abortion. Most provide little or no medical care and none give any assistance to mothers to care for a child after it’s born. Most will refer or arrange an adoption.

Apparently it’s better to prevent parents from knowing their daughters are pregnant, but more important is preventing the threat of parents arranging for their young teens to have abortions, which are so prevalent throughout the state with its massive network of abortion clinics — there are four including, well, none in Oklahoma City, the state’s capital and largest city.

And suicidal LGBT kids? Well, maybe Kern can reword her bill before the session deadline so she can narrow the harm she’s doing just to them.

Note: While we rarely cover out-of-state legislators as carefully as we cover Kern, this particular piece of work in the Oklahoma legislature gets our love because she referred to Dallas Voice as a source of evil in her book, The Stoning of Sally Kern, available from Amazon in hardcover, Kindle or Audio CD, and we love her for that. And why did we word the headline the way we did? Because it would piss her off. The alternative headline choice: Sally Kern really, really wants LGBT kids to commit suicide, but first she needs to prevent some abortions.

—  David Taffet

MORONS MAKE LAWS: Okla. bill protects the sanctity of reparative therapy


Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern

If today feels like pick on Oklahoma day, it’s only because they’re competing for the title, “most homophobic bills filed in a single session.” And how could we overlook our favorite Oklahoma legislator Sally Kern!?

While other states are banning reparative therapy for minors, a bill written by our buddy Sally Kern to protect the practice passed an Oklahoma House committee, 5-3. Kern called Dallas Voice “a source of evil” in her brilliant book.

Kern has dubbed her gay torture bill The Parental and Family Rights in Counseling Protection Act.

Her bill clearly described the torture she expects gay and lesbian youth to endure in order to change to her preferred sexual orientation:

“Aversion therapy” means any counseling by a mental health provider that exposes or asks a client or patient to undergo physical pain, such as electroshock or electroconvulsive therapy, touch therapy, pornography exposure or vomit-induction therapy, in order to change sexual behaviors or gender identity expressions and/or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.

Kern said that even though nothing in Oklahoma law prevents conversion therapy, the practice is under attack by every medical and psychological organization in the country and has been declared illegal in a growing number of states. The bill has been declared an emergency meaning it would go into effect immediately after passage and signing and not wait the standard period after the legislative session before becoming law.


—  David Taffet

Sally Kern withdraws anti-gay bill


Sally Kern

Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern, a Republican, withdrew a bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to LGBT people, according to Tulsa World.

Her bill, “the Business Protection Act,” read:

“No business entity shall be required to provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges related to any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person, group or association.”

She said the bill wouldn’t have done what she intended for it to do, and she’s right. Instead, it would have been declared unconstitutional and, in its ruling, any court would have said the law was based on animus and turned sexual orientation and gender identity into protected classes.

Oklahoma state Sen. Kay Floyd, a Democrat, who is lesbian, said, “This is great news. Your letters, emails, and calls are already making a difference. The sooner we defeat the rest of these divisive and unconstitutional bills, the sooner we can get back to working for everyday Oklahomans.”

Kern submitted two other anti-gay bills so far this session. One prevents taxpayer money and government salaries from licensing or supporting same-sex marriage. The other is called the “Freedom to Obtain Conversion Therapy Act.”

—  David Taffet

Rep. Kern dislikes Judge Kern’s Oklahoma decision

Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern

Rep. Sally Kern

Here’s what Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern has to say about the Judge Terence Kern’s decision declaring the state’s marriage amendment unconstitutional.

Rep. Kern assures us that she’s not related to the judge, and I took the entire quote from her Facebook page because she’s accused me of taking her quotes out of context when I’ve quoted her verbatim. So here’s her remarks, in their entirety:

Just watched channel news 9 interview about the “marriage equality” decision by Judge Kern (remember–no relation). Very disappointed in what they chose to show but can’t say that is a surprise because even our media here in Oklahoma is left leaning. Media is focusing on this as equal rights for homosexuals and seeking to make those of faith look like bigots. Thomas Jefferson talked of “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” in the Declaration of Independence. Homosexuality and same sex marriage is not a civil right but a human wrong because it is against the laws of nature and nature’s God. Our founding fathers understood this. America has a rich heritage of legal principles of equality (yes, our nation was wrong on slavery but, thankfully, we finally got it right because race is an innate characteristic, not a choice), and GOVERNMENT BY CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED. How in the world can a decision by one judge throw out the votes of 75% of the voters in Oklahoma? The Constitution protects our rights but homosexuality and same sex marriage are not protected rights. They are behavior. Which behavior is going to seek to be legitimized next? Polygamy? Polyamory? Oh, guess what? They are already starting to push for acceptance. Time to speak the truth in love, folks, or those who hold to moral absolutes (think Christians) will lose our rights.

According to contacts in Oklahoma, while Kern is upset about the decision, the sky hasn’t actually fallen and Kern’s head hasn’t exploded.

In Friday’s paper, we explain the judge’s decision.

—  David Taffet

OKC theater company loses funds for presenting gay play by Paul Rudnick

Oklahoma State Rep. Sally KernAn Oklahoma City theater company is under attack because it will present a play by gay playwright Paul Rudnick in December.

State Rep. Dan Fisher belongs to a group called “Patriot Pastors.” As a result of his efforts, the theater company has already lost $5,000 in funding from the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Another member of the group is Steve Kern, husband of state Rep. Sally Kern, the notorious homophobe in the Oklahoma House who blamed this paper for “bashing” her.

Despite the loss of funding, the Oklahoma City Theatre Company plans to present The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told at the Civic Center. The Civic Center said it does not censor shows and will host the production.

And if you haven’t already had enough of Sally Kern in Oklahoma state government, her husband has announced that he is running for state Senate.

—  David Taffet

Oklahoma House panel hears bill to reinstate ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ for state’s National Guard

Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City

Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern once called gays a bigger to America threat than terrorists, and Oklahoma certainly wouldn’t want terrorists in its National Guard. So according to Kern’s logic, that must mean the state shouldn’t allow gays and lesbians in its National Guard, either.

In January, State Rep. Mike Reynolds introduced a bill that would allow anyone eligible to serve in the military on Jan. 1, 2009 — 20 days before Barack Obama was inaugurated as president — to serve in the Oklahoma National Guard.

The bill would put the state at odds with military policy — which has allowed gays to serve openly since the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” last year.

Last week, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis wrote to Gen. Craig R. McKinley, the National Guard Bureau Chief, and asked him to come out against the bill.

“If a state National Guard ‘fails to comply with a requirement of this title, or a regulation prescribed under this title, the National Guard of that State is barred, in whole or in part, as the President may prescribe, from receiving money or any other aid, benefit, or privilege authorized by law,’” Sarvis warned McKinley.

In other words, if Reynolds’ bill passes, Oklahoma could lose $300 million from the federal government.

Sarvis also wondered what will happen to service personnel in the Oklahoma Guard who have come out since the repeal of DADT.

“Would those who have come out since the repeal of DADT be discharged?” he asked. “And if the Oklahoma National Guard mobilizes into federal service, will gay and lesbian guard members from Oklahoma be allowed to serve openly while deployed in accordance with DOD and National Guard Bureau policy, only to be demobilized and discharged under Oklahoma’s DADT law?”

The Oklahoma Daily weighed in with its opinion: “A ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ rule for Oklahoma National Guard is wasteful and disrespectful to guardsmen.” John Aravosis of AmericaBlog has a different idea — call their bluff and let them hang themselves.

The Oklahoma House Veteran and Military Affairs Committee is scheduled to hear arguments about the bill this afternoon, according to the Oklahoma LGBT group The Equality Network.

UPDATE: Oklahoma Sen. Al McAffrey reports that the bill has been sent to a different committee where it will die.

“The bill reinstating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the Oklahoma National Guard is dead!” McAffrey wrote. “It was pulled from the Veterans Committee and reassigned to the Rules Committee, where the Chairman will not hear the bill. It’s good for our state that this bad piece of legislation will not proceed.”

—  David Taffet

Openly gay candidate Al McAffrey elected to Oklahoma Senate in special election

Sen. Al McAffrey

Oklahoma has its first openly gay state senator after Al McAffrey, 63, was elected Tuesday in a special election.

McAffrey was first elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2006 and easily won reelection in 2008 and 2010. In the Tuesday election, he won with more than 66 percent of the vote, according to the Daily Oklahoman. He will be sworn into office next week.

He was endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

During his time in office, McAffrey was a leader on legislation supporting senior citizens, education issues and access to affordable health care. He was also one of the state House’s most vocal critics against Republican Rep. Sally Kern and her anti-gay agenda.

McAffrey’s district includes much of Oklahoma City. With his election, Democrats have 16 seats in the state Senate and Republicans have a 32-seat super-majority.

—  David Taffet

HRC wonders why Oklahoma leaders haven’t condemned Sally Kern’s latest anti-gay remarks

Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern

Last week we told you about Republican Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern’s latest anti-gay rant, in which she repeated her infamous three-year-old claim that homosexuality is a bigger threat to the U.S. than terrorism (listen to the audio below).

In response to Kern’s rant, the Human Rights Campaign is asking people to send emails to Oklahoma legislative leaders calling on them to denounce Kern’s statements. So far, the campaign has generated more than 200,000 emails, according to HRC. However, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and House Speaker Kris Steele — both also Republicans, naturally — have remained silent.

“The silence of Governor Fallin and Oklahoma’s legislative leadership is deafening, particularly given the number of people we now see calling on them to speak out,” HRC President Joe Solmonese said in a press release today. “Enough is enough. Sally Kern has a long track record of outrageously slandering LGBT Americans, ethnic and religious groups, and women. It’s time for Oklahoma’s leaders to stand up to her bigotry and hold her accountable for her remarks.”

Don’t hold your breath, Joe.

—  John Wright

With 9/11 anniversary approaching, Sally Kern reminds us that homosexuality is the real threat

Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern

Right Wing Watch reports that Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern has doubled down on her claim, first made in 2008, that homosexuality poses a greater threat to the U.S. than terrorism. Here’s RWW’s transcript of Kern’s remarks during an Aug. 31 interview with Peter LaBarbera of the hate group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality:

You know if you just look at it in practical terms, which has destroyed and ended the life of more people? Terrorism attack here in America or HIV/AIDS? In the last twenty years, fifteen to twenty years, we’ve had maybe three terrorist attacks on our soil with a little over 5,000 people regrettably losing their lives. In the same time frame, there have been hundreds of thousands who have died because of having AIDS. So which one’s the biggest threat? And you know, 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. …

It’s more dangerous, and yes I think that it’s also more dangerous because it will tear down the moral fiber of this nation. We were founded as a nation upon the principles of religion and morality, if we take those out from under our society we will lose what has made us a great nation, we will no longer be a virtuous people, which we see happening already. And without virtue this nation will not survive.

The audio is here.

—  John Wright