Tomorrow in Oklahoma City, families from across the state will converge on the capitol rotunda and call on Representative Sally Kern to come out from her office and meet the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender loved ones of her constituents. In conjunction with the Oklahoma City chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), these families will send Kern a powerful message that her recent anti-gay tirade wasn't just offensive, but was personally hurtful to Oklahomans who believe in full equality for everyone.
Whether Kern will agree to meet with these families, and hear their stories, is anyone's guess, but what is certain is this: If Representative Kern had doubts about whether her district includes GLBT Oklahomans, this will put those doubts to rest. And if Kern declines to meet with the very people she has been elected to represent, she, too, will send a strong message . . . that she doesn't intend to even consider, or hear from, the very people she is sworn to serve.
Tuesday's rally will begin at noon, and PFLAG's Oklahoma City chapter president - Rev. Loyce Newton-Edwards - will be among those calling on Kern to sit down with Oklahoma families and apologize for - or, at the very least, explain - her comments.
As Rev. Newton-Edwards recently said, "As a person of faith, and a member of the clergy, I am concerned that Representative Kern has forgotten the adage of 'love thy neighbor as thyself.' As a citizen of Oklahoma, I am troubled that she has seemingly prioritized attacking our families over tackling the many challenges our state faces."
In a statement to be read at tomorrow's rally, PFLAG says that, "Representative Kern's remarks undermine our nation's commitment to 'liberty and justice for all,' and do a great disservice to our families and communities. Every Oklahoman, and every American, deserves a public servant who believes in the dignity of all our children and who refuses to take part in divisive and counter-productive attacks on our families. Words matter, and Representative Kern's statement sent a clear message that she condones second-class citizenship for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Her remarks disrespect our GLBT loved ones, dishonor the service of nearly 10,000 lesbian and gay veterans in Oklahoma and disregard her duty to uphold our country's most noble values. Representative Kern owes her constituents an explanation, and our families an apology."
There's no doubt that the most powerful motivator in getting that apology - and that opportunity for Representative Kern to meet her GLBT constituents and their loved ones - is to have families in her district stand up and speak out. If Kern won't meet with them, she has even more explaining to do.
If you are in the Oklahoma City area, please join PFLAG's local chapter tomorrow, from noon until 1pm, at the State Capitol 1st Floor Rotunda.
Together, we can all make sure Representative Kern understands how harmful - and far-reaching - her comments really were.