In a 2010 deposition in the case, given a week after he was elected to his first term in the U.S. House, Lankford testified that he believed a 13-year-old could consent to sex.
Yes, I think they can,” Lankford told Kenyatta Bethea, a lawyer for the girl’s family, according a 155-page transcript of the deposition obtained by The Associated Press.
Let's call a dirty spade a dirty spade – Back in the middle school cafeteria lunch line, I think we all heard gossip and stories about 13-year-old classmates who were way cooler than us choosing to have consensual sex with other teens. A quick glance at Oklahoma's teen pregnancy statistics confirms this. But, there's a very big legal difference between choosing and consenting...
The age of consent in Oklahoma is 16, and although there is an exception in the law for minors between the ages of 14 and 17 who have sexual contact, there is no provision under which a 13-year-old could consent to sex. When Bethea pressed if his answer was still the same “if I ask you that question in terms of your position as a father,” Lankford maintained his stance.
“Yes, they can,” he said.
Under additional questioning about whether he would allow his two daughters to consent to sex at the age of 13, Lankford gave a more expansive answer.
“No, I would not encourage that at all,” he said. “Could she make that choice? I hope she would not, but I would not encourage that in any way with my own daughter.”
Obviously, Lankford is taking some heat for this conveniently dropped right before election day news bomb. I can see why. Regardless of the context or nuance of the situation, any time a politician admits that a 13-year-old kid can consent to sex should raise some eyebrows, especially when the politician looks like a peppermint ice cream cone.
That being said, what did you want Lankford to say? He was the Director of the Falls Creek Church Camp! Part of the camp's allure and appeal to teens over the decades is that they may finally get a chance to have their first kiss, touch their first boob, or in some special cases, even lose their virginity – all while under the safe and protective eyes of God. You can't really expect the camp's director to push back against its number one recruiting tool, can you?
Lankford's primary opponent – devout right-wing Republican theocrat Jackson Lahmeyer – is trying to use the controversy to drum up support for his fledgling campaign. You can't blame him. Considering he married his first wife after she got knocked up at 16, he's an expert on teenage consent!
Sadly, the whole teenage marriage thing didn't work out for the fire and brimstone theologian. Jackson and his bride divorced back in 2016 and he remarried some other woman who was hopefully over the age of 18.