An Oklahoma lawmaker who was denounced by gay and lesbian groups for saying homosexuality poses a bigger threat to the U.S. than terrorism said Wednesday that a national advocacy group's effort to promote workplace fairness for gays and lesbians proves they have an agenda. Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, said Thursday's scheduled "Clock In for Equality" day sponsored by a New York City-based group that promotes civil rights of gays, lesbians and people with HIV is an attempt to organize people to promote regulations that provide special rights for gays and lesbians. "Over and over again, the homosexuals say we don't have an agenda. This just shows there is an agenda," Kern said. She urged Oklahomans who support traditional families to become more active in social policy fights "or we will cede the victory to groups seeking special rights based on changeable homosexual behavior." "Those of us who believe in preserving traditional marriage and upholding Judeo-Christian values cannot afford to simply stand on the sideline," Kern said in a prepared statement. "The groups committed to undermining those ideals remain active and if we do nothing, they win by default." Kern made headlines nationally in March after an audio clip of her comments about gays and lesbians was posted on the video sharing Web site YouTube by the Washington, D.C.-based Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. "Studies show no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than a few decades," Kern said in the recorded comments. "It is not a lifestyle that is good for this nation." A different organization, Lambda Legal, is sponsoring "Clock in for Equality" day in an effort to educate and mobilize people to promote workplace fairness for gays and lesbians, according to its Web site. Participants are urged to sign a pledge in which they promise to take specific action to promote workplace fairness including expressing support for workplace equality, creating a friendly workplace for gays and lesbians and speaking out if they witness harassment or discrimination at work or in the community. Kern said she was not opposed to the anti-discrimination goals of the pledge. "There should not be discrimination of anyone. I'm not for discrimination," Kern said. But the attempt to mobilize people on behalf of gays and lesbians is evidence of an organized effort by what Kern described as "radical homosexual rights groups." "There's an agenda," she said. "We cannot afford to ignore these activities or we will soon see the regulatory power of the state turned against people of faith." Hector Vargas, deputy director of education and public affairs for Lambda Legal, said if Kern does not oppose the goals of Lambda Legal's pledge, then she should sign it. "If she's supportive of that, I think that's great," Vargas said. "Most Americans think that people should be judged on the quality of their work, not on anything else." She said Lambda Legal is working to enact federal laws that forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual and gender identity. The group also is working to win passage of similar laws at the state level, according to Kern. "Lambda Legal makes clear that they will use harassment lawsuits and intrusive regulations to punish people who do not agree with their agenda or the lifestyle of their members," Kern said. "If Oklahomans fail to oppose this agenda, they will grant control of their businesses and schools to radical, out-of-state groups." Vargas said Lambda Legal is a civil rights organization that works on behalf of equality and civil rights for lesbians, gays and people with HIV in court and through education and helps individuals advance their rights by providing legal information about federal laws and the laws in their state. He said a Gallup Poll conducted one year ago found that the vast majority of Americans, 89 percent, believe gays and lesbians should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities. "I don't think that's a radical position," Vargas said.
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