POLITICS
06/10/2010 01:03 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sally Kern, Antigay Oklahoma State Rep., To Face Re-Election Challenge From Transgender Candidate

Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern (R), who first caught the attention of the national media when she suggested "the homosexual agenda is just destroying this nation" in 2008, will now face a transgender opponent, Democrat Brittany Novotny, in her quest to defend her legislature seat in November.

Novotny filed papers to run against Kern earlier this week, making her Oklahoma's first known transgender candidate to run for office.

According to the Tulsa World, Novotny has said she wants voters to know about her gender identity -- "she is a heterosexual female who was raised as a male" who "legally and surgically transitioned into a female three years ago" -- but does not want it to distract from her campaign's focus:

Novotny said Kern is pushing her personal agenda instead of focusing on issues that are important to House District 84, and because of that, the state and Kern's Oklahoma City district have suffered.

"She focuses on things that aren't critical issues to the district, like education," Novotny said, adding that that leaves many constituents feeling disconnected.

The AP reports on Kern's remarks on "the homosexual agenda" that sparked controversy across the country just two years ago:

"I'm not gay-bashing. But according to God's word that is not the right kind of lifestyle," Rep. Sally Kern of Oklahoma City said during an appearance before a group of Republicans. Her comments were recorded and posted on the video sharing Web site YouTube on Friday 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 says in the recorded comments. "It is not a lifestyle that is good for this nation."

On Monday, Kern said her comments were edited and taken out of context. Kern said they were directed at wealthy, politically active homosexuals who are contributing money to gay and lesbian candidates for public office in Oklahoma and other states.

"I was talking about an agenda. I was not talking about individuals," said Kern, the wife of a Baptist minister. "They have the right to choose that lifestyle. They do not have the right to force it down our throat.

"I have never said hate speech against anybody. I would never do that."

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