All 27 anti-LGBT bills defeated in Oklahoma

Posted on 15 Mar 2016 at 10:20am
Oklahoma_State_Capitol

The Oklahoma State Capitol

All 27 bills filed in the Oklahoma legislative session targeting the LGBT community have been defeated, according to a Freedom Oklahoma Facebook post.

“We have seen a truly unprecedented level of community advocacy this legislative session, and fair-minded legislators — both Republicans and Democrats — have listened. There will be no anti-LGBTQ laws passed in Oklahoma this year. It is our greatest hope that going forward we will be fighting for positive change, rather than fighting back against discrimination. But no matter what, we will keep fighting until every Oklahoman is equal under the law, and in every walk of life,” the post reads.

The state’s largest LGBT advocacy group had watched the bills closely. As in many other statehouses across the country, including Texas, the bills fell into two categories: “religious freedom” bills allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBT individuals based on “sincerely held” religious beliefs and those targeting transgender individuals.

One bill filed by notoriously anti-LGBT representative Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, was particularly alarming: House Bill 3044 would have prohibited school counselors, therapists or any public school official from referring a student to information on human sexuality without first notifying the student’s parental or legal guardian.

Kern ultimately pulled the bill, as my colleague Davis Taffet wrote, after learning about its “unintended consequences that negatively affect the wonderful work of some 50 pregnancy resource centers across the state.”

The Oklahoma legislative session began Monday, Feb. 1 and ends Friday, May 27.

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