Metro Weekly

Oklahoma governor avoids answering whether gays should be discriminated against

“I just don’t have any comment on it. But I will tell you this. I have gone to restaurants with gay friends.”

Oklahoma Guardsman promoted to general at State Capitol

— Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R), during a legislative forum at the state Capitol. Fallin was asked by a reporter whether or not she thought that gay people should be refused service by a restaurant owner because of the owner’s religious beliefs, Tulsa World reports. The question was in reference to a bill by Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City), which seeks to allow businesses to deny service “to any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person, group or association.” Similar laws exist in Arizona and Mississippi.

Fallin refused to directly answer whether or not she thought a business could refuse service to gay people on religious grounds. “I have a policy of not commenting on legislation that can change a lot of times, she said. “I told you what my focus is. It is on the budget process. It is on things that hold Oklahoma back. It is about creating jobs and opportunity. On any legislation that deals with those types of issues, I just don’t have any comment on it. But I will tell you this. I have gone to restaurants with gay friends.”

The question was apparently clarified, with the person telling Fallin that they weren’t asking for her opinion on the proposed legislation, but rather her personal beliefs on the subject matter. Again, Fallin failed to give a direct answer.

“I am not going to make a judgment on legislation because you also have freedom of speech, the freedom to assemble, all the constitutional issues, too,” Fallin said. “The language needs to be looked at and analyzed, but in general, I have lots of gay friends that I do talk to, hang out with and I think we should respect them. They are good Oklahomans.”

Image Credit: Oklahoma National Guard / Flickr

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's online editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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