Arkansas native leading Oklahoma anti-gay charge | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Arkansas native leading Oklahoma anti-gay charge

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 7:35 AM

click to enlarge SALLY KERN: Arkansas's gift to OIklahoma legislature.
  • SALLY KERN: Arkansas's gift to OIklahoma legislature.
Another in a series of ideas from other legislatures that the Arkansas General Assembly hasn't yet adopted. This one is by Arkansas native Sallie Kern, an Oklahoma state representative who's made quite a name for herself with anti-gay and other initiatives on creationism and the like.

Reuters reports on the Jonesboro native's latest:

An Oklahoma bill to punish any local or state employee who issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples will be heading to a vote in the state House of Representatives after a committee approved the legislation this week.

The bill is one of several in the Republican-dominated statehouse to impose restrictions on same-sex marriages that have been proposed after a U.S. federal judge last year ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

The bill called the "Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act" prohibits taxpayer funds, including government salaries, to be used for any activity that supports same-sex marriage. It also says that those who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples can be subject to removal from office.

The bill's author, Representative Sally Kern, a Republican, said the measure is a response to U.S. courts overstepping their authority by forcing Oklahoma to recognize gay marriage.

Should the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately rule in favor of marriage equality, this latest Kern effort would naturally be held unconstitutional at some cost to Okklahoma and others that emulate it. But what's a little tax money among those who demand the legal right to discriminate?

This bill isn't all. She has another to legally enable parents to force children into discredited (and dangerous) "gay conversion therapy"  and to specifically protect discrimination in all public services to gay people. (Bart Hester and Bob Balllinger have matched Kern on this initiative in Arkansas and Gov. Asa Hutchinson intends to allow it to become law.) Kern's law isn't cloaked in "conscience" and religion, but states directly:

"No business entity shall be required to provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges related to any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person, group or association," it reads.

Hester and Ballinger provide the same discriminatory power to those who claim their "conscience" or "religion" demands it. It's right there in the Bible. You see a hungry sinner, you need not feed him if your disapprove of his lifestyle.

Stray thought: The Hester bill's prohibition of creating special categories will require the end of city and county provision of domestic partnership insurance coverage and local government policies that prohibit discrimination on account of sexual orientation, right? 

ON THIS TOPIC: A friend points me to a letter by Fayetteville lawyer Ray Niblock, posted on his Facebook page, that asks Gov. Hutchinson to veto SB 202. Good letter. It follows:

Dear Governor Hutchinson,

I hope you are well and settled into your office as governor of our Great State. Know that you are in my daily prayers and I send you my best wishes for you and your family.
As you know, I am the son of Walter Niblock. I practice law with my brother, George. My mother, Marjorie, still comes to the office every day at 83 years old. I am also a veteran (Desert Storm, Army Reserves). I am also gay, and grateful that I am self-employed. I might not look gay, act gay, or wear high heels, but I am nonetheless, gay. And now I am a target, and SB202 has me in its sights.

Even with all of my titles, pervious service as an army officer to our great nation, and an officer of the courts, I am subject to discrimination as a second class citizen and no doubt many of your constituents would happily hurt me or my family because of my orientation if it were more obvious. But it is not me that I am concerned. I can look out for myself. I can pay lawyers. I can afford things. But it is the people who cannot afford these things that concern me. The least of our society. And when SB202 goes into effect, no city in Arkansas will be permitted to look out for its own citizens. Constitutional ramifications of SB202 aside, it is bad law.

Please veto SB202. The bill is a blight upon Arkansas. It is despicable, and it hurts people. It hurts me. It is a targeted effort to license discrimination against gays and lesbians and others including veterans. Let the cities have their way. Your lack of a veto is the equivalent of your imprimatur.

God bless,
Ray Niblock

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