For Immediate Release
April 9, 2008
Contact: Rev. Loyce Newton-Edwards
(405) 642-0124 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Ralls, PFLAG National
(202) 467-8180, ext. 214 / email@example.com
PFLAG RELEASES NEW AUDIO RECORDING OF MEETING WITH OKLAHOMA REPRESENTATIVE SALLY KERN
40 MINUTE RECORDING CLEARLY CONTRADICTS KERN’S VERSION OF EVENT
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has released the full 40-minute audio of a recent meeting between Oklahoma PFLAG supporters and State Representative Sally Kern. The un-edited audio, released exclusively at www.pflag.org, was made public after Kern insisted the organization had misrepresented her statements to reporters following the sit-down. Kern, who referred to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans as a “cancer” that “is just destroying this nation,” and said gays were “the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism,” met with PFLAG supporters at the state capitol on March 27. She subsequently denied that, during the meeting, she spoke out against job discrimination against gays or that she agreed to consider an ongoing dialogue with PFLAG families.
On the recording released today, Kern twice agrees with PFLAG supporters that gay Americans should not be fired from their jobs simply because of their sexual orientation. She goes on to say that “maybe” she would consider a follow-up meeting with PFLAG families in her district and agrees to a dinner invitation from a PFLAG supporter in the meeting. Near the end of the conversation, Kern is asked, in recapping the conversation, if she does indeed oppose anti-gay job discrimination; she responds affirmatively that she does.
“Representative Kern’s words speak for themselves,” said Rev. Loyce Newton-Edwards, president of PFLAG’s Oklahoma City chapter. “The recording, which we made with her staff’s consent, is irrefutable evidence that she did agree with us on employment non-discrimination; that she did agree to consider an ongoing dialogue with us; and that she did agree on some basic principles of fairness and equality. It is beyond disappointing that she has now stepped away from those comments, and it is disheartening that she, as an elected leader, has attempted to disavow her own words.”
Loyce-Edwards, along with PFLAG supporters Rev. Dr. Kathy McCallie and Rev. Jim Shields, are heard in the recording engaging Kern on issues ranging from GLBT demographics in Kern’s district to issues of faith and family. Kern later tells the group that they have been “deceived” by the “homosexual agenda,” but also expresses gratitude for the opportunity to talk with them.
“Sally Kern has, to our disappointment, now slammed the door shut on our families, allies and loved ones in Oklahoma and across the country,” said Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of PFLAG. “As the PFLAG recording attests, we approached her with a willingness to talk and a commitment to work together for our families. In response, she has denied that she said what she did and walked away from her duty to hear from her constituents. Kern’s return to shrill rhetoric is a disservice to everyone. She clearly does not intend to represent all of the families in her district.”
The full audio recording of PFLAG’s meeting with Kern is available online at www.pflag.org.
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PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity. For more information, visit www.pflag.org.