Oklahoma legislators try to block gay pastor’s prayer from record

mcaffreyA group of 20 Republican lawmakers in the Oklahoma House of Representatives tried to block gay pastor Scott Jones’ prayer from becoming part of the official House record.

The move came after openly gay Oklahoma state Rep. Al McAffrey (right) asked to make the prayer part of the record, including a mention of the pastor’s “loving partner and fiance, Michael.”

The House finally voted 64-20 to keep the prayer.

The Dallas Voice reports:

Jones reportedly had been invited to give the prayer by openly gay Oklahoma State Rep. Al McAffrey. At the close of the day’s business, McAffrey made a motion to have Jones’ remarks recorded in the House Journal. Because a Republican legislator objected to the motion, a roll call vote was taken, and 20 representatives, including the infamous Sally Kern, voted against recording the prayer. Sixty-seven legislators voted in favor of the motion, and another 17 were reported absent.

“It was an interesting moment, and rather chaotic,”” Jones wrote on MyQuest. “One legislator commented, ‘We always enter the remarks.’ Others wanted to read what I had said, and came over to where I was and read my hard copy and kept saying, ‘What are they objecting to?’ Others came over to apologize. One legislator made a point of order to remind colleagues that if they were in the room, they had to vote, at which some of them fled … “

Oklahoma representative plans to introduce hate crimes legislation

mcaffrey.jpgOpenly gay Oklahoma Rep. Al McAffrey announced that he plans to introduce legislation that would expand his state’s hate crimes law to include sexual orientation. Fellow Democrat Richard Morrissette will also sponsor similar legislation.

Victory endorsee McAffrey, who recently secured a second term in office, said he will introduce the bill in the next legislative session. According to Tulsa World, McAffrey was one of five state representatives to propose new hate crimes bills last year. Three of them included clauses regarding sexual orientation and gender identity and all of the proposals were rejected before the reached committee.

Tulsa World reports:

Morrissette, who also proposed a hate-crimes law change last year, said Friday that he doesn’t want to duplicate McAffrey’s effort but will support his plan to include sexual orientation in the state’s hate-crimes law.

He considers it a human-rights issue, he said.

“If we are going to treat people fairly and equally under the Constitution, this
should be included,” Morrissette said.

McAffrey said that “we should have a bill that protects everybody, and that includes sexual orientation.”

Both representatives addressed why no hate-crimes bill, especially those that covered sexual orientation, had enough support to be voted on by the House or even heard in committee last year.

Ruling assures second term for Oklahoma state Rep. Al McAffrey

mcaffrey.jpgVictory endorsee Al McAffrey will serve a second term in the Oklahoma state House of Representatives thanks to a court ruling removing his only opponent.

McAffrey challenged the candidacy of independent Dominque DaMon Block of Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma State Election Board disqualified Block from running for the House District 88 seat because Block had not been registered as an independent for the six-month period preceding the first day of the filing period.

McAffrey first won a seat to the Oklahoma state House of Representatives in 2006, becoming the first openly gay person ever elected to the state legislature. In his first term in office, he sought the addition of sexual orientation to the state’s existing hate crimes laws.