Sally Kern

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Sally Kern
Kern, Sally.jpg
Sally Kern
Member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives
from the 84th district
In office
January 4, 2005 – January 9, 2017
Preceded by Bill Graves[1]
Succeeded by Tammy West
Personal details
Born (1946-11-27) November 27, 1946 (age 71)
Jonesboro, Arkansas
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Steve Kern
Profession Politician, teacher

Sally Kern (born November 27, 1946) is a former Oklahoma state legislator, and former schoolteacher from Oklahoma City. Kern, a member of the Republican party, represented House District 84 — including parts of Bethany, Warr Acres, Oklahoma City, and Woodlawn Park until leaving office on November 16, 2016, after not seeking re-election in the 2016 elections. A former schoolteacher, she graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington and East Texas State University. She is known nationally for her opposition to equal rights for lesbian/gay/bisexual people.[2] She is married to Steve Kern, pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in the Oklahoma City area.[3]

Political career[edit]

Kern authored a bill, which passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives in March 2008, mandating that students who believe in Young Earth creationism still receive passing grades in Earth science classes.[4] After being passed in the House, it was voted down in a Senate committee without reaching the floor for debate.[5]

Kern co-authored the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act that included the provision "Students shall not be penalized or rewarded on account of the religious content of their work", which was vetoed by Governor Brad Henry.[6]

In 2011, she published her memoir The Stoning of Sally Kern: The Liberal Attack on Christian Conservatism – and Why We Must Take a Stand.[7]

Statements on homosexuality[edit]

In March 2008, Kern made national headlines when she stated, in part:

Studies show that no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than, you know, a few decades. So it's the death knell of this country. I honestly think it's the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam – which I think is a big threat, okay? 'Cause what's happening now is they are going after, in schools, two-year olds...And this stuff is deadly, and it's spreading, and it will destroy our young people, it will destroy this nation![8]

After receiving attention for the remarks, Kern said "I said nothing that was not true" and refused to apologize.[2][8][9] She received a standing ovation from fellow Republican legislators in a private meeting a few days later.[10] In response to Kern's comments, hundreds of gay and lesbian rights supporters protested at the Oklahoma State Capitol.[11] Over 1500 people later turned out at the Capitol to support her.[12]

Kern claimed to have received death threats that caused her to hire a bodyguard.[13][14] The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation officer who reviewed Kern's emails said, "I wouldn't characterize them as death threats."[15]

Kern authored an op-ed counterpoint piece in the June 24, 2009 issue of the Oklahoma Gazette in which she argued, "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."[16]

In late June 2009 Kern authored the "Oklahoma Citizens Proclamation for Morality" implicitly blaming gay marriage and President Barack Obama's official acknowledgment of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month (among other things) for the economic crisis which was then ongoing.

During her 2010 re-election campaign, Kern made the sexual orientation and gender of her opponent a topic of her campaign.[17]

In an interview on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, she correlated homosexuality with HIV/AIDS, and reiterated her claim that homosexuality is a greater threat to the United States than terrorism, saying "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."[18]

In January 2015, she introduced three bills in the state legislature which would permit businesses to deny goods, services, or other forms of public accommodation to lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people; prohibit the state from interfering if parents put their children through so-called "conversion therapy"; and to fire any state employee who grants (such as authorized by the district court ruling in Bishop v. Oklahoma) a same-sex marriage license.[19]

Statements on minorities and women[edit]

On April 27, 2011, while debating in favor of SJR 15, a proposed constitutional amendment that would eliminate Affirmative Action in Oklahoma, Kern said:

We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that's tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don't want to study as hard in school? I've taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn't study hard because they said the government would take care of them.[20]

During the same debate, Kern also stated that

Women usually don't want to work as hard as a man... women tend to think a little bit more about their family, wanting to be at home more time, wanting to have a little more leisure time.[21]

On May 2, 2011, The Oklahoma State House of Representatives publicly reprimanded Kern for the comments she made which some people interpreted as unflattering to blacks and women during a debate on affirmative action. Rep. Mike Shelton, D-Oklahoma City, made the motion to reprimand her. A member objected, and the House voted 76–17 to reprimand Kern.[22][23]

Election history[edit]

Name Votes Percent Outcome
Sally Kern, Rep. 8,815   67.65%    Won
Ronald E. Wasson, Dem. 4,215   32.35%    Lost
Name Outcome
Sally Kern, Rep.      Won (Unopposed at filing)   
Name Votes Percent Outcome
Sally Kern, Rep. 7,230   57.95%    Won
Ron Marlett, Dem. 5,247   42.05%    Lost
Name Votes Percent Outcome
Sally Kern, Rep. 5,717   65.90%    Won
Brittany M. Novotny, Dem. 2,958   34.10%    Lost

In 2012, she was opposed in the Republican primary by small business owner Curtis Moore, but defeated him by 1500 votes to 507 for Moore; she was unopposed in the general election.[27]

In 2014 she was unopposed in both the primary and general elections.[28]

In 2016 she did not seek re-election.[29]


  1. ^ "General Election November 5, 2002 Summary Results" (PDF). Oklahoma State Election Board. Retrieved March 12, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b McNutt, Michael (March 10, 2008). "Kern vows not to apologize for remarks against homosexuality". Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  3. ^ Oklahoma House of Representatives – Sally Kern.
  4. ^ "Legislative: HB 2211 Passes House Education Committee. Help Defeat this Very Bad Bill!". Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education. Retrieved March 11, 2008. 
  5. ^ "House Bill 2211 (Kern's 'Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act') Dies In Committee". Retrieved April 16, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Henry vetoes 'Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act'". Tulsa World. Retrieved June 10, 2008. 
  7. ^ McNutt, Michael (March 5, 2011). "Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern writes book on national outcry". NewsOK. Retrieved April 2, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Oklahoma State Rep.: Gays "Biggest Threat" to US". March 11, 2008. Retrieved March 14, 2008. 
  9. ^ Paul ColichmanChief Executive Officer (October 23, 2013). "PlanetOut online news". Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  10. ^ Hinton, Mick (March 11, 2008). "Kern cites support from GOP". Tulsa World. Retrieved March 13, 2008. 
  11. ^ Branson, Hailey (March 19, 2008). "Oklahoma: Lawmaker's Comments Bring Protest". The New York Times. New York. p. A17. 
  12. ^ McNutt, Michael (April 3, 2008). "Amid Controversy, Kern Gets Support". The Oklahoman. Retrieved April 3, 2008. 
  13. ^ "State Representative Under Attack by Anti-Christian Homosexual Hate Groups". Concerned Women for America. March 14, 2008. Archived from the original on April 12, 2008. Retrieved March 16, 2008. 
  14. ^ Phan, Katherine T. (March 15, 2008). "Lawmaker Threatened for Comparing Gay Lifestyle to Terrorism". Christian Post Reporter. The Christian Post. Retrieved May 10, 2018. 
  15. ^ Hinton, Mick (March 28, 2008). "Gay-Bashing State Rep Exaggerated Death Threats". Tulsa World. Retrieved January 29, 2016. 
  16. ^ Kern, Sally (June 24, 2009). "Counterpoint: Preserving Traditional Marriage". Oklahoma Gazette. 
  17. ^ McNutt, Michael (September 14, 2010). "Oklahoma lawmaker Sally Kern supporter calls transgender opponent a 'confused it'". The Oklahoman. 
  18. ^ ""LISTEN: AFTAH Interview with Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern – Part One" Americans for Truth About Homosexuality; recorded August 31, 2011". Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  19. ^ Hemant Mehta (January 23, 2015). "Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern Files Three of Most Bigoted Anti-Gay Bills You'll Ever See". Friendly Atheist. 
  20. ^ Jillian Rayfield – April 28, 2011, 4:20 PM EDT (April 28, 2011). "Oklahoma GOPer: It's A Fact That 'Blacks' Don't Work As Hard". Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  21. ^ McNutt, Michael (April 29, 2011). "Kern apologizes for comments on minorities and women; NAACP says it's not enough". The Oklahoman. 
  22. ^ McNutt, Michael (May 3, 2011). "Oklahoma House reprimands Rep. Sally Kern". The Oklahoman. 
  23. ^ "Oklahoma House Votes To Reprimand Sally Kern". KWTV-DT. May 2, 2011. 
  24. ^ "General Election November 4, 2004 Summary Results". Oklahoma State Election Board. Archived from the original on March 5, 2008. Retrieved March 12, 2008. 
  25. ^ "Unopposed Candidates Elected" (PDF). Oklahoma State Election Board. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 19, 2008. Retrieved March 26, 2008. 
  26. ^ a b "Kern foe files; Terrill, Cargill draw opponents". The Oklahoman. Retrieved June 10, 2008. 
  27. ^ "Official election results for primary". Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  28. ^ Ballotpedia
  29. ^ Ballotpedia

External links[edit]