Kern and foes talk, but keep differing views

By Michael McNutt Modified: March 28, 2008 at 12:49 am •  Published: March 28, 2008
The president of a group supporting gay and lesbian rights said Thursday she is backing off calling for Rep. Sally Kern to resign for her anti-gay remarks after the Oklahoma City lawmaker met with her and others.

The Rev. Loyce Newton-Edwards, president of the Oklahoma City chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, said she and two othersmet for nearly 40 minutes Thursday in the lawmaker's state Capitol office.

"We think today was a really, really important step,” she said. "She was very cordial. It was a very productive conversation, no shouting, no name calling.”

Kern said, "This is what democracy is all about, free exchange of ideas.”

She hasn't given any speeches since excerpts of her speech were posted on the YouTube Internet site, but she said she would talk again if asked about the strategy that backers of gay rights are using to defeat conservatives.

Kern didn't apologize for comments she made during a speech in January to an Oklahoma City Republican club, Newton-Edwards said. At that meeting Kern called homosexuality "the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam.”

"We didn't even ask her to,” Newton-Edwards said. "What we said to her was that we were coming in a spirit of healing and reconciliation and we just wanted to talk and speak heart-to-heart.”

Kern's House of Representatives district has the largest number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender constituents in the state, according to a study by the Williams Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles, Newton-Edwards said.

"I have not heard them ask her to resign, I have not heard the people of her district ask her to resign,” Newton-Edwards said.

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