If it wasn't for her penchant for bombastic homophobia, racism, and misogyny, Republican Sally Kern would probably be little known outside her Oklahoma House district. But for the past decade, Kern — the wife of a Baptist pastor and a former schoolteacher — has made a name for herself broadcasting horrifically hateful views, including her belief that gays are worse than terrorists, black people like to leech off the government, and women don't really like to work all that much. After winning reelection six times (!), Kern is finally getting the boot from the Oklahoma legislature this year. Local LGBT organization Freedom Oklahoma was so overjoyed about her departure it recently held a fundraiser to honor the end of her abysmal political career. As Kern prepares to close out her time terrorizing the minorities of Oklahoma, let's look back at her hall of shame.
King & King Is Satan's Work!
Sally first made a name for herself as a homophobe to watch out for in 2005 when she pushed for the removal of the gay-positive children's book King & King from Oklahoma library shelves. Kern, along with a fellow right-wing Republican, kicked up a hornet's nest of opposition to Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland's book. Even though library officials took offense at the censorship, Kern pushed and passed a nonbinding resolution that helped keep the book away from children. Oklahoma, by the way, came in 48th in a recent educational quality ranking. Bravo, Sal!
You're Worse Than a Terrorist
King & King was a blip compared to Sally's star-making 2008 turn, where she was caught saying gay people are worse than terrorists and that we were going to bring about the end of society. How rude. Sally was speaking to a group of constituents, and someone recorded it and blasted it online. The enlightened world — including Ellen DeGeneres — was furious, but Sally refused to apologize. She also got a boatload of love from Oklahoma voters who came to her defense. Listen to her speech below and look out for this now-classic line, "[Homosexuality is] our biggest threat, even more so than terrorism and Islam":
I Ain't Sorry
Even though Sal didn't intend for her "Gays=Terrorists" monologue to go viral, she stood by it. After the media picked up the story, S.K. said she wasn't about to apologize to no dang gay boy or lady.
"I said nothing that was not true, I said nothing out of hate, and I don't believe my colleagues will censure me," Kern said. "I was speaking about the homosexual activists who are aggressively funding pro-homosexual candidates against conservative Republicans," she added. "In 2006, they targeted conservatives across the nation, mostly at the state and local levels. They took out 50 of them."
I'm the Victim!
After Kern insulted every sane person in the country, she received a lot of angry emails (go figure). After first claiming there were no death threats, Kern insinuated there were threats and hired a bodyguard. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation looked into the matter. A representative said of the missives, "I wouldn’t characterize them as death threats."
I Wrote a Letter to the Paper!
Ol' Sal kept it rockin' and rollin' in 2009, penning a memorable letter to the Oklahoma Gazette railing against same-sex marriage. In it, she discussed anatomy (boy and boy parts don't go together!) and listed Norway as an example of marriage equality's failure. Leave Oslo alone, Sally! The best line might be this:
"Granting marriage status to homosexuals who comprise little more than 3 percent of the population would be like granting all applicants admission to a prestigious college just because a few meet the qualifications. That school’s status would fall. Likewise, the status of marriage will fall if same-sex marriage is legalized."
Sally's eventful 2008 only inspired her to become more of a raving loon. Around the time she shared her wingnut thoughts in the Oklahoma Gazette, she also authored her own antigay, anti-everything manifesto, titled "Oklahoma Citizens Proclamation for Morality." Read this thoughtful take on humanity below, which includes blasting President Obama for acknowledging Pride Month:
We the People of Oklahoma, Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessing of Liberty; to secure just and rightful Government; to promote our mutual Welfare and Happiness, do establish this proclamation and call upon the people of the great State of Oklahoma, and our fellow Patriots in these United States of America who look to the Lord for guidance, to acknowledge the need for a national awakening of righteousness in our land.
WHEREAS, "It is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand" (John Adams); and
WHEREAS, "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by Religion and Morality" (John Adams); and
WHEREAS, "Our Constitution was made only for a Moral and Religious people" (John Adams); and
WHEREAS, "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government...but upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God" (James Madison); and
WHEREAS, "Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God (Benjamin Franklin); and
WHEREAS, "God who gave us life gave us liberty and can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God" (Thomas Jefferson); and
WHEREAS, "Whether any free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of Religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state" (Joseph Story); and
WHEREAS, "We hold sacred the rights of conscience, and promise to the people...the free and undisturbed exercise of their religion" (Roger Sherman); and
WHEREAS, "This great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians" (Patrick Henry); and
WHEREAS, "When you...exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed upon your mind that God commands you to choose just men who will rule in the fear of God" (Noah Webster); and
WHEREAS, "The principles of genuine Liberty and of wise laws and administrations are to be drawn from the Bible" (Noah Webster); and
WHEREAS, the people of Oklahoma have a strong tradition of reliance upon the Creator of the Universe; and
WHEREAS, we believe our economic woes are consequences of our greater national moral crisis; and
WHEREAS, this nation has become a world leader in promoting abortion, pornography, same sex marriage, sex trafficking, divorce, illegitimate births, child abuse, and many other forms of debauchery; and
WHEREAS, alarmed that the Government of the United States of America is forsaking the rich Christian heritage upon which this nation was built; and
WHEREAS, grieved that the Office of the president of these United States has refused to uphold the long held tradition of past presidents in giving recognition to our National Day of Prayer; and
WHEREAS, deeply disturbed that the Office of the president of these United States disregards the biblical admonitions to live clean and pure lives by proclaiming an entire month to an immoral behavior;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we the undersigned elected officials of the people of Oklahoma, religious leaders and citizens of the State of Oklahoma, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world, solemnly declare that the HOPE of the great State of Oklahoma and of these United States, rests upon the Principles of Religion and Morality as put forth in the HOLY BIBLE; and
BE IT RESOLVED that we, the undersigned, believers in the One True God and His only Son, call upon all to join with us in recognizing that "Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord," and humbly implore all who love Truth and Virtue to live above reproach in the sight of God and man with a firm reliance on the leadership and protection of Almighty God; and
BE IT RESOLVED that we, the undersigned, humbly call upon Holy God, our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer, to have mercy on this nation, to stay His hand of judgment, and grant a national awakening of righteousness and Christian renewal as we repent of our great sin.
Signed on the second day of July in the year of our Lord Christ Two Thousand and Nine.
Aw, Didn't You Know I'm a Hypocrite?
Back in 2010, Kern was challenged for her House seat by transgender candidate Brittany Novotny. While Kern's supporters spit venom at Novotny — one called her a "confused it" — Sally made a statement on her website about playing nice. Thankfully, Novotny was there to clear up the fact that Sal is anything but kind — and is kind of a lying hypocrite.
"This year in the 2010 election I have a really interesting race," Kern said at the Wake Up America! Conference in August of 2010. "I have an individual who was born a man, he's had a sex change operation and now considers himself to be a woman. So if you live in my district and know anybody who does, please get the word out."
Said Novotny at the time: "[Kern] didn't tell her support[ers], 'Don't say anything about my opponent. Let's talk issues.' She said 'Go get the word out because I can't do it, if I do it looks like I'm smearing."
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"We have heard tonight already that in prison there’s more black people. Yes, there are, and that’s tragic, it’s tragic that our prisons here in Oklahoma, what are they, 99 percent occupancy? But the other side of the story, perhaps this is something we need to consider: Is this just because they are black that they’re in prison or because they don’t want to work hard in school? White people oftentimes don’t want to work hard in school, or Asians, oftentimes. A lot of times, that’s what happens. I’ve taught school for 20 years, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t want to work as hard, they wanted it given to them. As a matter of fact I had one student who said, 'I don’t need to study, you know why? Because the government is gonna care of me.' That’s kind of revealing there. Equal opportunity, not equal results."
Now, on women:
"You see, women usually don’t want to work as hard as a man, because, now I mean, now get me, wait a minute, now listen to me, women, hang on, women tend to think a little bit more about their family, wanting to be at home more time, want to have a little more leisure time, that’s all I mean. I’m not saying women don’t work hard. I think women work very hard, so don’t take that the wrong way. But that’s fact as you have to keep in mind, okay? Women like to be willing to have a moderate work life with plenty of time for spouse and children and other things like that, that’s all I meant, okay. They work very hard. But sometimes they aren’t willing to commit all their life to a job like a lot of men do. That’s all I meant by that. All right."
Under intense pressure from national groups, including the NAACP, Kern would later apologize for these remarks. Nope, we don't forgive ya, Sal.
As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approached, Sally Kern was on the PR circuit pushing her book, The Stoning of Sally Kern. Talking with homophobe Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Kern doubled down on her "Gays=Terrorism" comments from six years prior. In her rant, Kern blames gay people for starting AIDS, which she says is more lethal than terrorist attacks.
"You know if you just look at it in practical terms, which has destroyed and ended the life of more people? Terrorism attack here in America or HIV/AIDS? In the last 20 years, 15 to 20 years, we’ve had maybe three terrorist attacks on our soil with a little over 5,000 people regrettably losing their lives. In the same time frame, there have been hundreds of thousands who have died because of having AIDS. So which one’s the biggest threat? And you know, every day our young people, adults too, but especially our young people, are bombarded at school, in movies, in music, on TV, in the mall, in magazines, they’re bombarded with ‘homosexuality is normal and natural.’ It’s something they have to deal with every day. Fortunately we don’t have to deal with a terrorist attack every day, and that’s what I mean. … It’s more dangerous, and yes, I think that it’s also more dangerous because it will tear down the moral fiber of this nation. We were founded as a nation upon the principles of religion and morality, if we take those out from under our society we will lose what has made us a great nation, we will no longer be a virtuous people, which we see happening already. And without virtue this nation will not survive."
Time has not mellowed S.K. Last year, Sal introduced three terrible antigay bills. We'll break them down — one bill would make it illegal for any Oklahoma official to grant a marriage license to a same-sex couple (this was after a court ruling legalized same-sex marriage in the state); another piece of legislation would prevent the state from limiting so-called conversion or ex-gay therapy; a third would have allowed businesses to refuse service to LGBT people. Ain't she sweet? Luckily all three bills failed. More recently, Sally tried to pass another hateful bill. This one would make it so school officials had to out LGBT children to their parents. "HB 3044 would prohibit school personnel, including counselors, therapists, social workers, administrators, teachers, etc., from providing guidance or information about human sexuality without notifying the minor’s parents at least 24 hours in advance," according to The New Civil Rights Movement. Kern would pull the proposed legislation earlier this year, only because she thought it might harm straight or cisgender (nontrans) youth.
Just Get Out
After embarassing Oklahoma for over a decade, proud Islamophobe, homophobe, transphobe, and racist Sally Kern will soon be term-limited out of the office. But this month, before leaving office, she delivered one of the homophobic, transphobic rants she's well-known for. Speaking uninterrupted on the Oklahoma House floor, Kern said she stands by her 2008 remarks claiming that homosexuality was more of a threat than terrorism. Nothing like a little perspective.