Kern: It’s ’Hateful’ to Say Gays Are Born That Way
Time has done little to mellow Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern, judging by her latest comments about gays.
The 64-year-old lawmaker has offended African Americans and been caught entering the state capitol with a gun on two occasions. But one of her biggest headline moments took place in 2008, when she addressed the College Republicans club at the University of Central Oklahoma.
Kern called gays and lesbians a "cancer," and warned that they would bring civilization to an end if granted legal and social equality. Kern claimed that societies that have accepted homosexuality in the past "lasted [no] more than a few decades," and declared that America's tolerance of homosexuals constituted a "death knell of our country."
Kern also claimed that gays and lesbians were "the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism of Islam," and said that "gays are infiltrating city councils.... They are winning elections."
"[Homosexuality] has deadly consequences for those people involved in it," declared Kern, who cited dubious "studies" purporting to show that being gay leads to shorter life spans.
When a recording of her comments was leaked, Kern found herself at the center of a firestorm. She refused to apologize for her comments, however, stating that had she known her remarks were being recorded, she would not have changed them.
"I will not back down from what I believe the Bible teaches," Kern said. She also claimed not to have been "bashing" anyone with her comments.
A July 29 On Top Magazine article reported that Kern has now written a book. "The Stoning of Sally Kern," about her experiences following the media uproar that took place after her comments. Kern put in an appearance at American Family Radio to plug the book, and bantered with another high-profile anti-gay figure, Tim Wildmon, the head of the American Family Association.
The two joked about the Christian tradition of compassion, before Kern offered the notion that to acknowledge homosexuality as an innate and natural characteristic was "hateful" because it suggests that gays cannot be "cured."
"To me what is hateful is when those people who say, 'You're born this way. There's no hope in change. You're stuck in this, deal with it,' that is hate," Kern said. "There's no hope in that."
It is a point of contention among anti-gay religious traditions that gay people "choose" to be sexually and romantically attracted to members of their own gender. Some such faith traditions offer "reparative therapy" or even exorcisms as a means to "curing" gays and making them heterosexual.
Mental health professionals reject such claims, and warn that attempts to "convert" or "cure" gays do not work. When such treatments do not work, they can enhance feelings of shame and even drive gays toward suicide, health experts say.
A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that homosexuality is rooted in physiology and is probably determined in the womb.
Kern did not explain why she thought simply being gay made for a hopeless situation. But she did go on to accuse gays of oppressing Christians and denying them their civil rights while promoting sexual anarchy.
"We're losing our freedom of conscience," Kern declared, going on to call "the homosexual movement... the tip of the spear" in terms of sexual immorality. "They're the ones who right now are beating down the door, have their foot in the door, trying to tear down the moral fiber of America," Kern added. "We have to stand up to that. The reason it's the tip of the spear you don't see 'Adulterers Victory Fund' out there trying to promote adultery. God's people got to stand up to this."
Kern did not explain why she seemingly thought gays motivate married heterosexuals to cheat on their spouses. However, a common accusation from the anti-gay Christian element is that granting gay individuals and families equal rights and protections before the law would automatically erode the First Amendment rights of people who condemn and denounce gays as a matter of their faith.
Kern has also offended the African American community, declaring to her fellow state representatives that the reason more black Americans are poorer than white Americans is because blacks are lazy.
"We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that's tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don't want to study as hard in school?" Kern said last April, during a House debate on doing away with Affirmative Action in the state of Oklahoma, reported The Fifth Column on April 28.
"I've taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn't study hard because they said the government would take care of them," added Kern.
After Kern's anti-gay outburst, rumors circulated that her son, Jesse Kern, was gay. Jesse Kern denied those rumors and said that he was celibate, but not homosexual.
When Kern was found to be carrying a gun as she tried to enter the state capitol on two occasions, she said that she had simply forgotten she had the firearm.
In 2009, a transgender lawyer sought to win Kern's seat, but was defeated.