More than 1,000 people crowded into the state Capitol today to show their support for Rep. Sally Kern and for her freedom-of-speech right to call homosexuality the biggest threat facing America.
Kern and several others, including a man who said he was gay until he found Jesus Christ, often quoted Scriptures while speaking to the crowd.
Kern, R-Oklahoma City, said after the rally she was humbled by the turnout.
"This is not about me," Kern told those at the rally. "It's about the church having the right to speak out about the redeeming love of Jesus Christ Who died to set us all free from our sins."
Kern's husband, the Rev. Steve Kern, said it wasn't the purpose of the rally to bash homosexuals.
"We love them," said Rev. Kern, pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.
Several groups supporting homosexual and lesbian rights had asked Kern to apologize for her comments.
Kern told those attending a meeting of an Oklahoma City Republican club that was held away from the Capitol that homosexuality is "the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam." Someone recorded her comments and gave it to a pro gay-rights group; that statement and some of her other comments, which some groups called a form of hate speech, were posted on the Internet.
Kern said a biblical verse came to her after her comments were posted last month on the Internet. The passage is Philippians 1:12, where the apostle Paul wrote, "I want you to know that what has happened to me has served to the advancement of the gospel."
"And that's the way I'm looking at this to God be the glory," she said.
Kern said again today she is not going to apologize. She said her comments were not against homosexuals, but were directed at the strategy of gay rights supporters to defeat conservative candidates.
Kern's husband said he wasn't asking anyone to apologize for the thousands who sent hate mail to his wife's Capitol office and to their home or said mean things about their family.
"We forgive you," he said. "We have no animosity in our hearts toward you."
Stephen Black, executive director of First Stone Ministries in Oklahoma City, said he once was gay. His organization, he said, helps men and women overcome homosexuality.
"There is a political agenda and a cultural message about homosexuality (and) that it is destructive to our country," he said.