‘Not all Christians feel the same way,’ one participant declares
OKLAHOMA CITY — More than 350 people lined Classen Boulevard in Oklahoma City on Friday, March 14, as part of a "Shame on Sally Rally" organized by the Oklahoma Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus.
The rally was part of an extended community response to the comments made by state Rep. Sally Kern, an Oklahoma City Republican, who was secretly recorded saying that gays and lesbians were a "bigger threat than terrorism or Islam."
Rally participants held homemade signs and waved rainbow flags as rush hour traffic went by. Drivers were mostly supportive and affirmed the protestors with the occasional honk of their horns.
"I am Southern Baptist Christian, and I just want to make sure that people understand that not all Christians feel the same way as Rep. Kern. I just don’t agree with what she said and how she said it," Darla Thompson said while standing on the grassy median. "To point out a single group of people and say that they are not worthy of love and understanding, I just don’t believe in that. I am confused about where she got her information. I spent some time researching her claims and I just can’t find anything that would indicate that her statements were true."
Kern’s statements have brought national attention to the Sooner State and have garnered condemnation from almost every major LGBT rights organization. She has refused to apologize, although on Wednesday, March 19, she told The Oklahoman that while her message would stay the same, she might use different analogies.
Kern did not return phone calls seeking comment for this story.
Rachel Morse was one of those who turned out March 14. Holding a sign that read, "I am proud of my gay dad," Morse said she wasn’t really surprised by the lawmaker’s comments.
"I am out here to stand with my community," Morse said. "I can’t say that I am necessarily shocked, but I am certainly disappointed. It is important once again for the community to come together and say that this isn’t right.
"I grew up with a gay dad," she continued. "He is no longer with us, but he taught me right from wrong. He taught me to be proud of who I am and who he was. No matter if you identify as LGBT or not, we are all part of the same family."
While the majority of the supporters lining the streets identified as LGBT, many of those flanking them were allies and family members, including Victor Samsalone.
"I have two gay children. I am just here to support this because I really do not agree with Sally Kern," Samsolane said.
"To compare gay people with being terrorists is so stupid," he continued.
"I have a son and a daughter and they are both in other cities, and I happen to live here in Oklahoma. Neither one of them want to come here," he said.
"One lives in Washington, D.C., and the other in Seattle, and they are much more gay friendly cities. To think that these folks who claim to be Christian and then they spew out hate is just contrary to anything that I believe."
Jon Horinek is a staff writer for HNOKC.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 21, 2008