Oklahoma Legislator Can’t Believe People Think Her Anti-LGBT Bills Mean She Hates Anyone

Following a federal judge’s decision overruling the state’s ban on gay marriage, over a half a dozen anti-gay bills have been proposed by members of Oklahoma’s state legislature.

Three of these bills were proposed by Rep. Sally Kern, who once described homosexuality as being “more dangerous” than terrorism. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

First up, is a bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT people, which states that “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.

This is of course a totally different thing from, say, the Jim Crow days when people wanted to be able to refuse goods and services to black people. We should certainly not be comparing Sally Kern to Lester Maddox or anything like that. No Siree Bob! Because this time, people like Sally Kern have a totally good reason for wanting to be able to refuse goods and services to a minority group. The Bible! Which, sure, was the exact same explanation people had for wanting to refuse goods and services to black people, but those people were mistaken, and Sally Kern is not.

Kern’s second bill, the rather audaciously titled “Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act,” will make it illegal for any state funds to “go toward” state marriage. Which means that the state workers who issue marriage licenses and perform weddings will not be allowed to perform these services for gay people. Clerks who issue licenses will lose their salaries, and judges who perform gay marriages will be removed from office.

Her third bill, the “Freedom To Obtain Conversion Therapy Act” will protect the rights of parents to send their kids to “conversion therapy” in hopes of changing their sexual orientation.

However, Representative Kern, and other proposing similar bills in Oklahoma don’t want you to think that they proposed them because they hate gay people or anything. They are totally nice people who don’t hate anyone, OK? They’re nice. They just want to protect the right of people to discriminate against gay people, and to live in a state where there aren’t gay married people running around mucking up all of the heterosexual marriages, and to attempt to prevent their kids from catching the gay. And whatnot.


“If they want to live that way, let them, but see that’s not enough for them, right now. What they want is to force their lifestyle upon the rest of us,” Rep. Sally Kern says in response to the LGBT advocates who call her bills “hate-filled.”

“I don’t hate anybody; it means you look at an issue and decide what’s right,” Kern said.

Kern says what’s “right” is following Christian principles, which is the basis of her bill aimed at stopping youth from being attracted to the same sex.

“The LGBT people want to limit someone’s freedom to come to understand something, because their mantra is ‘well you’re born gay and you can’t change’ and there’s no credible scientific research to prove that,” Kern said.

“They are on the wrong side of the moral issue, so yes they are going to seem like they are attacked,” Kern said.

Here is where Sally Kern is deeply confused–this is not about her feelings. Her feelings are not the point. This is not about whether these people making these legislative decisions like or dislike gay people. This is not about “what’s in their heart” as they are always so fond of saying. This is not even about “acceptance.” This is about actions.

If you are standing on my foot, I don’t actually care if you are standing on my foot because you hate me, or because you’re hungry, or because daffodils are your favorite flower. I just want you get off my damned foot.

What Kern and others are trying to do is make this a conversation not about what they are actually doing, or what harm they are causing, and make it about their feelings. We see this time and again. Paula Deen saying racist bullshit, and then trying to explain that she doesn’t hate black people. Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty saying both homophobic and racist bullshit, and then saying that he doesn’t “hate” anyone. People who support the Redskins team name insist that it is unfair to call them racists because they don’t hate Native Americans.

It’s a common refrain when people are accused of bigotry or discrimination. They say “But I don’t hate gay people” or “But I don’t hate black people”–so how can I possibly be a bigot? You don’t know what’s in my heart!” And that’s true. Which is why it is the perfect excuse for crap behavior and crap legislation.

Personally, I don’t care who anyone hates. Sally Kern could “hate” gay people all day long. I have literally no interest in going into her head and changing who she likes and does not like. What I do care about is the legislation she is trying to pass. That is the issue at hand, and that is what matters.

Kern’s colleague, State Sen. Joseph Silk, in discussing his own legislation allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBT people, stated “What this is doing is protecting freedom, that’s what it is, and that’s what this homosexual movement, that’s what they don’t want, they don’t want that at all. What they want is for everyone to be forced to accept them and forced to provide services.”

The latter? Sure. Yeah. That’s kind of how we do things here in America, or how we are supposed to, anyway. We have laws preventing people from discriminating against entire groups of people–not to punish the people who wish to discriminate–but because we believe that every American citizen deserves equal access. In fact, it pretty much has nothing to do with them or their “feelings” or “beliefs” whatsoever.

But I, for one, certainly do not care if Sen. Joseph Silk personally wants to “accept” LGBT people. I am not going to require Sen. Joseph Silk or Rep. Sally Kern to have any gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans people over for dinner in their private homes if they do not wish. I am not going to require them to have any LGBT friends. As far as I’m concerned, Sen. Joseph Silk and Rep. Sally Kern never even have to watch a single episode of Ellen if they would prefer not to. I also do not care what their favorite color is or what kind of shampoo they like to use.

But– they must learn to accept, as we all do, that when we go out in public, and when we do business in public, we have to make some concessions for the rights of others. And I’m sorry, but the right of people not to be discriminated against outweighs someone else’s “right” to discriminate. That’s it. That’s all that’s going on here. Which is why, hopefully, these bills will never actually get passed–and I look forward to the day when elected officials will stop wasting time and energy on trying.