Congressman James Lankford (R-OK) who has served two terms, is in opposition of any and all protections of LGBT citizens. Lankford, who believes that sexual orientation is a “choice,” announced his plan to run for US Senate in the 2014 November election.
Before being elected to Congress in 2010, Lankford was a program director of a Christian youth camp. He received his Master’s degree in Divinity from the Southwestern Baptist Christian Theological Seminary. While serving as a politician, he anti-gay stance has been a prominent aspect of his campaign.
In May 2012, Lankford told ThinkProgress that he was opposed to employment protections of LGBT people; his reasoning was that sexual orientation is a “choice”—and therefore doesn’t deserve protection. His position on the matter made national attention, however, when Lankford claimed on a local television station that his opinion was misrepresented by ThinkProgress, but then he went on to express the same view on the matter. Lankford believed that he was being targeted for being a Christian.
Lankford also defended Oklahoma’s anti-equality amendment, which prohibited LGBT families from receiving marriage protections. Despite Lankford’s claim that marriage protections were both a “cultural thing that pulls us all together” and the “best thing that can be done to pull families out of poverty,” he still backed the exclusive bill.
Last week a federal judge said that Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage was a violation of the US constitution, to which Lankford stated, “marriage is a state issue and Oklahoma has spoken.”
Lankford criticized the Supreme Court of the United States for overturning the Defense of Marriage Act in June, and became a co-sponsor of three measures meant to put in place laws allowing for discrimination against the LGBT community.
In addition, Lankford supported a policy allowing private businesses to “make their own decisions” in regards to discrimination, but then criticized the law when it worked in favor of equality.
“I believe that conservative solutions can help families of every race, every economic background, and every town in Oklahoma,” Lankford said in a video announcement of his decision to run for Senate.