Lawton_The controversy surrounding an Oklahoma City lawmaker's anti-gay comments is continuing to grow. As we first told you Saturday night on 7News the recording of Oklahoma City Representative Sally Kern's comments spread quickly across the internet after a gay rights activist group posted her voice on You-Tube -- along with commentary and pictures of people who don't agree with her statements.
Religious groups say while they aren't as extreme in their opinions, they do share her stance that the gay culture is negatively affecting our country. But gay rights activists call it hate speech.
"I'm not gay bashing," Kern said in the recording, "but according to God's word, that is not the right kind of lifestyle. It has deadly consequences."
In the recording Representative Kern says "The homosexual agenda is destroying our country."
"Studies show that no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than a few decades," she said.
Although kern would not talk to us this weekend, she did tell one TV station that she stands by her comments. "I honestly think it's the biggest threat even that our nation has," she said. "Even more so than terrorists or Islam, which I think is a big threat."
Matt Smith is a local gay rights activist. "Somebody in power like that, that actually represents Oklahoma, I wonder how bad we look compared to the other states," Smith said. "Or to the other countries that are watching that, and seeing that on the internet or on TV or whatever. It's sad. I mean, we're like back in the stone age now."
Lawton Pastor Gary Bender says Kern is right about homosexuality being forbidden in the bible, but he says so are the actions of many other people in society. "We need to be intolerant against adultery, and be just as strong against drinking and lying and cheating and back biting," Bender said. "And I think we have to be careful that we're not too judgmental on all of this but realize that all of us are in need of god's help."
Saturday at 5:00 p.m. that video had been viewed 20,000 times. By that same time Sunday the count was above 165,000. We checked the count one more time while the story was running -- and it was already above 220,000.
Oklahoma City Representative Sally Kern has issued the following statement in response to activist critics of her controversial comments:
"To put this simply, as a Christian I believe homosexuality is not moral. Obviously, you have the right as an American to choose that lifestyle, but I also have the right to express my views and my fellow Oklahomans have the right to debate these issues.
"In recent years homosexual activists have begun to aggressively promote their agenda through the political process, often providing substantial financing to candidates who agree with their views, including many running for state legislative races. National publications such as Time, The Atlantic and USA Today have noted that trend. That is their right, just as it is my right to voice opposition to their agenda, which I have been asked to do at several public forums in recent months. That's what democracy is all about. It appears some homosexual activists believe only one group is allowed a voice in this debate. I disagree.
"A vigorous debate on an issue is not ‘hate speech' - it's free speech. I have made clear my opposition to the agenda of homosexual activists, but I have never endorsed or supported any hateful action targeting individuals on the other side of this debate and never will. The fact that many gay rights activists claim anyone opposing their agenda is engaging in ‘hate speech' says more about them than me.
"Most Oklahomans are socially conservative and believe marriage is a sacred institution, the union of one man and one woman, and that the traditional family is worth protecting and preserving. When I campaigned for office, I promised my constituents to stand up for those values, and I do not apologize for keeping my word."
The Human Rights Campaign has called for Governor Brad Henry to condemn Kern's remarks.
You can reach Representative Kern at: Capitol Address: