POSTED ON DECEMBER 21, 2011:
With foot in mouth, Inhofe lashes out at chamber
On Mon. Dec. 12, Senator Jim Inhofe was the featured speaker at a congressional forum held by the Tulsa Metro Chamber.
He delivered a standard speech, and appealed to his conservative Republican base.
But a tone-deaf comment set off a chain reaction of outrage that's echoed through the Chamber and even caught the attention of the national media.
Tulsa World political writer Randy Krehbiel described the speech and quoted the Republican politician in the next day's paper: "Inhofe also reassured his audience that the lifting of the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy regarding gay service members has not 'legalized bestiality' in the military. He explained that, although gay people may now 'go in the military, go wide open and use that for their agenda,' sex with animals is still outlawed by military code.'
Confusion over legalized bestiality and sodomy in the military was a bitter froth churned up by conservative media outlets like Free Republic, CNS News and Fox News. President Obama's press secretary Jay Carney refused to respond to questions about legalized bestiality in early December, stating, "Let's get to something more serious."
But evidently, Inhofe took the claims seriously, which enraged Oklahomans for Equality, a non-profit that offers advocacy, education and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT). They stated: "Senator Inhofe is out of touch with the citizens of Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma with his continued verbal assault on lesbian and gay personnel serving this country. His comments further disrespect the Oklahoma LGBT veterans who have served silently but faithfully in the defense of our country."
OkEq asked the Chamber to distance themselves from the senator's comments, which they promptly did. Shane Fernandez, the chairman of the Chamber's diversity project, Mosaic, issued a response: "While the Chamber often supports Senator Inhofe's policy stances related to business...his comments at the Dec. 12 forum do not reflect the Chamber's view on diversity and inclusion."
On Thurs., Dec. 15, Inhofe stated that the "Chamber is lying" about him. The senator was only clarifying the truth for his misinformed constituents.
The Chamber has now apologized to Inhofe -- one of the Chamber's most important advocates -- for distancing itself from him. "Senator Inhofe routinely advocates on behalf of the business community and has supported numerous Tulsa Regional OneVoice federal agenda items. We look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship," Chamber CEO Mike Neal stated in a Tulsa World letter to the editor, dated Dec. 20.
Looks like business as usual will continue between the Chamber and the socially conservative senator.
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