More than 1,000 people attended a rally Wednesday in support of a state legislator who has been widely criticized for anti-gay remarks caught in a YouTube audio clip.
Republican state Rep. Sally Kern was denounced by gay and lesbian groups after she was recorded telling a recent gathering of fellow Republicans that homosexuality poses a bigger threat to the nation than terrorism.
Kern was cheered Wednesday when she told the crowd at the state Capitol that their support affirmed the rights of conservative Christians "who want to stand up for the truth of God's word."
"What has happened to me has served to advance the gospel," said Kern, who was greeted with chants of "Sally, Sally" and was frequently interrupted by shouts of "Amen."
Inundated with e-mails
Kern said she received thousands of angry telephone calls and e-mails after an audio clip of her comments about gays and lesbians were recorded and posted on YouTube last month 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 said in the recorded comments. "It is not a lifestyle that is good for this nation."
Kern, who was joined at the rally by Baptist ministers including her husband, the Rev. Steve Kern, has rejected demands that she apologize and said her beliefs are rooted in biblical passages that she said characterizes homosexuality as a sin.
"You cannot separate your faith from life," she said.