February 12, 2009
OKLAHOMA CITY -- On Wednesday, several members of the Oklahoma Legislature objected to the invocation given by Dr. Scott Jones. Jones, Reverend of the Cathedral of Hope of Oklahoma City, served as Chaplain of the Day for the House of Representatives.
Jones acknowledged members of his church, his family and friends, and his partner. His prayer was similar to those given in the House hundreds of times before. However, it is one of the few if not the first time a gay man administered the prayer.
Near the close of the day, State Representative Al McAffrey of Oklahoma City moved that Rev. Jones’ remarks be entered into the day’s record. Immediately, Rep. John Wright of Tulsa objected to the motion. Objections to these motions are highly unusual and automatically require a vote. This caused confusion throughout the chamber. Some members were unsure on what they were voting. Others approached Rev. Jones inquiring what he said that caused the objection.
“I was excited when I found out Reverend Jones was asked to serve as Chaplain of the Day,” said Tamya Cox, program director for the ACLU of Oklahoma. “I knew this was a highlight for him, and it is a shame it was overshadowed by such prejudices.
“I am greatly disappointed in those legislators who either objected or refused to vote.”
A majority of house members voted to accept Rev. Jones remarks, and 20 members cast a vote to reject. Those who chose not to vote quickly left the chamber.
“Those legislators did not object to Reverend Jones’ remarks,” Cox said. “They objected to him.”
Members who have been around the capitol for several years could not recall a time when someone has ever raised an objection to entering remarks into the day’s record.
The ACLU is committed to fighting discrimination on all fronts and advocates for civil rights to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.
ACLU-OK concerned about elected officials’ behavior