A gay rights group released a 40-minute audio recording Wednesday of a meeting between members of the group and state Rep. Sally Kern in hopes of shedding light on the content and context of that meeting. Kern and Loyce Newton-Edwards, president of Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays, originally described the meeting as cordial. But two days after meeting with representatives of Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Kern said she would not meet with them again because they "have taken my statements and have spun them to make it appear that I am backing off my comments that homosexuality is a sin.” Wednesday's release of the recording of that meeting is the latest round of a verbal battle between Kern and members of the gay community since segments of a presentation she made to a Republican Party club were made public on YouTube last month.
Despite talks, rancor continuesIn the days after that meeting, Kern said she was alarmed by the number of thank-you e-mails she received from the gay community. "I told them that I did not think homosexuals should be fired just because they are homosexuals. They took that as meaning I supported sexual orientation preferences, and I do not,” Kern said. "I started getting e-mails from the homosexual community thanking me for backing off on my stances. So evidently, they misunderstood me.” But organization members said they never said Kern supported sexual orientation protections. In statements released after the meeting, the group reiterated that Kern made it clear she was not apologizing for or recanting her statement about gays. "We were baffled by her remarks. At the meeting she was cordial, she was not confrontational and she seemed to approach the meeting with an open mind,” Newton-Edwards said. The recording released Wednesday indicates Kern and group representatives refused to back away from their positions, but discussed the issues calmly. They prayed together at the start of the meeting and at its conclusion. In the recording, Kern is heard saying firing people from their jobs because they are gay is wrong, but she also said she did not support passing anti-discrimination laws based on people's sexual orientation. Wednesday, Kern said the organization did not intentionally misrepresent her statements, but they implied she supported sexual orientation protections.