An Oklahoma lawmaker has received thousands of hostile e-mails and voice messages that included death threats for speaking out about homosexuality and labeling it a bigger threat to America than terrorism or Islam.
"I'm not anti, I'm not gay bashing but according to God's word, that is not the right kind of lifestyle," said State Rep. Sally Kern at a Republican event in January.
Her comments generated national attention after pro-homosexual group Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund posted the recording on YouTube earlier this week. As of Friday afternoon, the posting had close to 900,000 views.
In response, Kern has received more than 7,000 e-mails and voice messages, most of them hostile with a few death threats.
In her public speech, Kern spoke about the dangers of homosexuality. She stated that the homosexual lifestyle was a "death knell" for the country, noting that people involved in the homosexual lifestyle have more suicides, discouragement, illness and shorter life spans.
"Studies show that no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than a few decades," she said.
Kern also alerted her colleagues to what she felt was an effort by homosexual activists to indoctrinate children as young as two years old into believing homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.
"This stuff is deadly and it's spreading. It will destroy our young people and this nation," she said.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating the messages Kern received to determine whether they are legally threatening, said bureau spokeswoman Jessica Brown. She added that the agency may contact some of the people who sent the e-mails.
The Dept. of Public Safety has assigned a body guard to follow Kern.
Among those who have joined in denouncing Kern's comments are the Human Rights Campaign and openly lesbian talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, who attempted to call Kern during a live taping of her show.
In an interview with Concerned Women for America on Friday, Kern stood firmly by her statement.
"I said that homosexuality, in my opinion, is a bigger threat to this nation than terrorism," she told Matt Barber, CWA's Policy Director for Cultural Issues.
"And I was just using a metaphor, just trying to make a point so that my Republican colleagues and especially the church would wake up and realize they're a threat to the moral fiber of this nation, traditional family, and traditional marriage – one man and one woman," she said. "That has been the bedrock of society for thousands of years.
"The family is the first institution that God established. They're trying to tear that down. That will not have healthy or positive consequences for our nation or any nation that whole heartedly embraces homosexuality. That's all I meant."
The lawmaker, whose husband is a Baptist minister, said that her family has been very supportive of her. She said she has taken the advice of a friend who recommended that she pray over verses that deal with faith overcoming fear.
Kern emphasized that while she disagrees with the homosexual lifestyle, she doesn't hate homosexuals.
"It's not about bullying. It's about speech," she noted. "Just disagreeing with someone does not make you a hate monger."