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Kern vows not to apologize for remarks about homosexuals

By Michael McNutt Modified: March 10, 2008 at 3:52 pm •  Published: March 10, 2008

Elected to the House in 2004, Kern has led efforts to block state funding for libraries that did not segregate books with homosexual or sexually explicit material from children's sections. She also proposed a measure that would have allowed teachers across the state to teach a range of scientific views on the theory of evolution.

Neither measure passed.

"Most Oklahomans are socially conservative and believe marriage is a sacred institution, the union of one man and one woman, and that the traditional family is worth protecting and preserving," Kern said in a statement Monday. "When I campaigned for office, I promised my constituents to stand up for those values, and I do not apologize for keeping my word."

In 2006, Kern introduced House Bill 2158: Supporters said parents should decide whether their children can have access to these books. The bill would have required the state Board of Libraries to withhold state funding if a public library does not comply with the new regulations. Opponents said the legislation was too subjective and would cost libraries — especially those in rural areas with limited staff — money and time.

The House passed the measure, 60-33. It died in the Senate.

Also that year, she introduced HB 2107, a measure that would have allowed teachers across the state to teach a range of scientific views on the theory of evolution. Supporters said the change would have given teachers the academic freedom to present the scientific debate on evolution; then students could think critically about the views and form their own opinions. Critics said it was a veiled way to bring religion into the classroom and teach intelligent design, which supposes that the universe is the work of an "intelligent cause."

The House passed the bill, 77-10. It died in the Senate.

In 2005, her first year as a legislator, Kern introduced House Resolution 1039, which urged library officials to restrict children's access to books with homosexual themes. It states that Oklahoma libraries should "confine homosexually themed books and other age-inappropriate material to areas exclusively for adult access and distribution."

Kern said at the time she wanted to make public libraries aware of the "values that our state upholds" and make sure books are on the shelves "where they appropriately need to be."

Opponents said the measure was censorship and was an attempt to control what decisions people have the right to make on their own.

The resolution passed, 81-3.

This session, Kern is among the authors of HB 2211, called the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act. Among other things it states students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork and other assignments "free from discrimination based on the religious content."

View a map of Oklahoma House District 84 Cimarron Alliance Foundation

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