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.

Oklahoma governor vetoes Kern bill

henrypic.jpgOklahoma Governor Brad Henry has vetoed a bill co-sponsored by infamous state Rep. Sally Kern. Proponents of the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act claim that it would allow students to express their religious beliefs in homework, artwork and other assignments without penalty.

Critics of the legislation claimed that the bill would enable students to disregard science and history based on the conflicting teachings of religion.

In his veto message, Henry offered a different rationale, saying that the bill may “trigger a number of unintended consequences that actually impede rather than enhance such expression.”

According to Tulsa World, he claimed that schools could be forced to accommodate fringe groups that masquerade as religions. These groups could support hate speech.

“Additionally, this bill would presumably require school officials to determine what constitutes legitimate religious expression, subjecting them to an explosion of costly and protracted litigation that would have to be defended at the taxpayers’ expense,” Henry said.

Father of gay son places ad in Daily Oklahoman

Bob Lemon — lawyer, former political candidate and the father of a gay son — recently placed an ad in the Daily Oklahoman condemning the comments made by state Rep. Sally Kern.

I am disappointed when I learn of anti-gay speech by public officials. There is no doubt that such speech leads to hate crimes and creates an environment of fear in the LGBT community. These officials do not set good examples.

When my wife Mary Lou and I learned in 1993 that we were parents of a gay child, we decided to get acquainted with as many gays as possible, attend their events and join gay organizations, trying to learn all we could about homosexuality and what anti-gay people mant when they talked about the “gay agenda.” We never got the same answer twice from anti-gays, nor could they ever give us any logical reason for their animosity against gays.

I am also disappointed that anti-gays use the Christian faith to support their arguments. What did Jesus say against gays? Nothing. The Christian faith, as I understand it, teaches that we should love, honor and respect one another. It also teaches kindness and tolerance, and teaches against prejudice, hatred bigotry and violence.

Read the full text of the ad here.

Kern notoriety may scare off financial services company relocation

In the wake of the Sally Kern YouTube controversy, a San Francisco-area financial service company is rumored to be reconsidering its office’s move to Oklahoma City.

While the official word won’t come for another three or four weeks, a lesbian top executive at the Staubach Co. is said to have expressed concern over the relocation because of Kern’s comments equating gays with terrorism.

The Journal Record reports that Roy Williams, president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, confirmed that he is trying to address the issue after a Staubach relocation consultant mentioned the troubling nature of Kern’s comments.

“He told us straight up . ‘I cannot recommend to any of my clients that they should consider Oklahoma City because of that,’” Williams told the paper. “When you have one of the nation’s premier relocation experts making those statements, you should pay attention to that and not dismiss it.”

The paper reports:

Williams confirmed a Staubach representative was invited to Oklahoma shortly thereafter, but it was not directly related to Kern. He said the state Department of Commerce was seeking consultants to meet with Gov. Brad Henry’s economic development team to discuss a wide range of issues. Williams did not attend the meeting, but the chamber was one of the sponsors of the dinner event so he received a lot of feedback.

“He was here as a guest, to pick his brain,” Williams said. “It was just an unbelievable coincidence that it happened like that.”

At the Commerce Department, Business Services Deputy Director Sandy Pratt said it’s not unusual to bring business placement consultants such as Staubach to the state for feedback. Of the new businesses looking to come into Oklahoma, 40 percent to 50 percent are represented by site relocation specialists, she said.

But she said Kern’s comments have not been raised as a concern: “It did not come up in any of the governor’s economic development team meetings with consultants or discussions we’ve had with consultants,” Pratt said.

“We really try to focus on the positive attributes of the state. . We work with clients, and from time to time there always challenges and issues related to specific sites or incentives or other things around the state,” she said.

The significance of the Staubach visit to Oklahoma has grown with e-mail rumors. A representative of a national gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender (GLBT) organization said notes are being circulated that the unidentified company is actually a motorist group – skewing references to the company’s triple-A credit rating – that 6,000 jobs are involved, and that the executive stormed out of the meeting in anger.

Editorial in The Oklahoman tells Kern to do something constructive

In an article published today, The Oklahoman made reference to Rep. Sally Kern’s “tiresome personal agenda” of targeting gays and said that she should “work to do something constructive.

The article comes after Kern’s meeting with PFLAG, where the pro-gay family organization left with the impression that Kern opposed anti-gay job discrimination. Kern later denied the assertion, much to PFLAG’s chagrin.

The editorial reads, in part:

Kern said the group had taken her remarks from the meeting “and spun them to make it appear that I am backing off my comments that homosexuality is a sin … and that I am in favor of sexual orientation laws.” She said neither could be further from the truth, and that the group had shown a “lack of integrity” by twisting her words to fit its purposes. Oh, and she won’t meet again with members.

That’s disappointing, but hardly surprising. Kern’s main focus in the Legislature has been on anti-gay initiatives, such as trying to determine where libraries should place books with homosexual themes. “God’s Word does not change. … Therefore, my opinion also will not change,” she said last week.

Kern will be shown a little love today when the American Family Association holds a rally in her support at the Capitol. Perhaps constituents ought to hold a rally of their own, urging this one-trick pony to put her tiresome personal agenda aside and work to do something constructive.