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Okla. career anti-gay lawmaker introduces three bills targeting LGBT community

Okla. career anti-gay lawmaker introduces three bills targeting LGBT community

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma state lawmaker Sally Kern, who once called homosexuality “the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam,” has introduced three new measures targeting the LGBT community.

Sally Kern
Sally Kern

The Tulsa World reports that Kern’s proposals aim to circumvent the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, advocate gay-to-straight conversion therapy, and allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT Oklahomans.

House Bill 1599, dubbed the “Preservation and Sovereignty of Marriage Act” is nearly identical to a bill filed in Texas that says that no taxpayer funds or governmental salaries can be used for the licensing or support of same-sex marriage.

“No employee of this state and no employee of any local governmental entity shall officially recognize, grant or enforce a same-sex marriage license and continue to receive a salary, pension or other employee benefit at the expense of taxpayers of this state,” the measure says.

The measure directs state courts to dismiss any challenge to the measure and award costs and attorney fees to the defendant. A judge who violates the act shall be removed from office, according to the bill.

A second measure, House Bill 1597, would allow businesses to refuse service “to any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person, group or association,” and be immune from civil liability.

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“This is the same bill introduced in Arizona, and Arizona lawmakers were embarrassed to even consider it,” said Toby Jenkins, executive director of advocacy group Oklahomans for Equality. “The outrage over that bill was going to hurt the Arizona economy, and the business community was furious a legislator would even consider that bill.”

The third measure, House Bill 1598, would allow parents to seek counseling and therapy to change a gay child’s sexual orientation without interference from the state.

Kern (R-Oklahoma City) blasted last year’s ruling by a federal judge that legalized same-sex marriage in Oklahoma. “Homosexuality is not a civil right, it’s a human wrong,” she said.

A separate bill, introduced by state Rep. Todd Russ (R-Cordell), would put an end to marriage licenses in the state altogether. Under Russ’ plan, only a religious official would sign a couple’s marriage certificate, which would then be filed with the court clerk.

Russ says he wants to protect court clerks from having to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

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