Oklahoma Legislature wants to ban trans peeing and impeach Obama

Gov. Mary Fallin

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who figured out a way to veto an unconstitutional bill last week, may be faced with more nonsense to veto

Last week, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin found a reason to veto an unconstitutional bill banning abortion in her state. So the legislature reacted by dealing with other pressing issues facing the state.

Oklahoma’s crumbling infrastructure? No, even though the day they passed the abortion bill, the May Street bridge in Oklahoma city collapsed on the highway below, inconveniencing at least some members of the legislature on their commutes home.

No, the Oklahoma Legislature turned from abortion, settled by the U.S. supreme Court 40 years ago, to peeing, this year’s important social issue.

The state Senate passed a resolution instructing its U.S. representatives to draw up articles of impeachment against President Barack Obama, the U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of Education, according to the Daily Oklahoman.

Their crime? Instructing all school to treat all students equally.

Last week, the Department of Education issued guidance to all school districts about the pressing bathroom issue. If articles of impeachment were drawn up, they would be the first in U.S. history to involve urine.

In addition, the legislature introduced bills to authorize students and parents to request religious accommodation if their school allowed trans students to use restrooms, locker rooms or showers other than for the sex they were designated at birth. Providing a single-occupancy accommodation would not be considered an appropriate accommodation.

In other words, they want the trans student to be banned from peeing in school.

—  David Taffet

All 27 anti-LGBT bills defeated in Oklahoma


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.

—  James Russell

Sally Kern protects Oklahoma LGBT youth

Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern

Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern

Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern pulled her bill from consideration that would have prevented school personnel from referring suicidal LGBT students to counseling without first contacting their parents. The effect of the legislation could have been outing students to their parents, possibly triggering a suicide.

Kern insisted pulling the bill had nothing to do with protecting the lives of LGBT students. The way the bill is worded, no student with questions about sexuality could be referred to a counselor without notifying the parent first.

Kern found out the bill would have the “unintended consequences that negatively affect the wonderful work of some 50 pregnancy resource centers across the state.”

So-called pregnancy resource centers main purpose is talking pregnant women out of having an abortion. Most provide little or no medical care and none give any assistance to mothers to care for a child after it’s born. Most will refer or arrange an adoption.

Apparently it’s better to prevent parents from knowing their daughters are pregnant, but more important is preventing the threat of parents arranging for their young teens to have abortions, which are so prevalent throughout the state with its massive network of abortion clinics — there are four including, well, none in Oklahoma City, the state’s capital and largest city.

And suicidal LGBT kids? Well, maybe Kern can reword her bill before the session deadline so she can narrow the harm she’s doing just to them.

Note: While we rarely cover out-of-state legislators as carefully as we cover Kern, this particular piece of work in the Oklahoma legislature gets our love because she referred to Dallas Voice as a source of evil in her book, The Stoning of Sally Kern, available from Amazon in hardcover, Kindle or Audio CD, and we love her for that. And why did we word the headline the way we did? Because it would piss her off. The alternative headline choice: Sally Kern really, really wants LGBT kids to commit suicide, but first she needs to prevent some abortions.

—  David Taffet

Oklahoma Run ‘n Gun organizers catch heat for controversial photo

Screen shot 2015-07-10 at 2.26.56 PMOrganizers of the Oklahoma Run ‘n Gun, a biathlon and shooting competition in Pawnee, Okla., ran into some trouble after posting a photo on social media showing two participants holding a rainbow flag as a target.

Event organizers posted the image to promote their July 18 competition. The photo showed two men holding rifles and a caption that reads “new high visibility targets on the 500 yard range.”

Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Troy Stevenson said many activists felt threatened by the post.

“People got really offended and really upset and people were really feeling threatened,” he told KFOR.

Stevenson says he reached out to event organizers after seeing the picture, who assured him it was a joke.

“He assures us that it wasn’t meant as a threat. It was a situation where I don’t think the people doing it understood social media or how bad their joke was,” Stevenson said.

The organizer said participants had trouble seeing the targets, so they simply chose the brightest target available. Unfortunately they chose a rainbow flag.

“You could definitely tell by reading the comments that they were trying to make a joke out of this. But once again, it was going way too far and offending a lot of people and it was very threatening language,” Stevenson said.

The post and their Facebook page have since been removed. A page criticizing the group, however, has appeared.

—  James Russell

Gay Uber drivers in Oklahoma will be able to kick straight people out of their cars


Sen. Jason Smalley who isn’t gay. Really.

The Oklahoma Senate passed the “Oklahoma Transportation Network Company Services Act” that removed protection for passengers based on sexual orientation.

That will allow LGBT Uber drivers in the state to protect themselves from having to drive straight people to their destinations or take their money.

The House version of the bill prevented discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“I believe if a private business owner wants to serve or not serve an individual, they have that purview right now,” said Sen. Jason Smalley, the bill’s Senate sponsor, according to ABC News.

However, if Uber or Lyft drivers decided to take Oklahoma up on its generous offer to discriminate, they could lose their affiliation with those companies since both have nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation.

—  David Taffet

Sally Kern withdraws anti-gay bill


Sally Kern

Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern, a Republican, withdrew a bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to LGBT people, according to Tulsa World.

Her bill, “the Business Protection Act,” read:

“No business entity shall be required to provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges related to any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person, group or association.”

She said the bill wouldn’t have done what she intended for it to do, and she’s right. Instead, it would have been declared unconstitutional and, in its ruling, any court would have said the law was based on animus and turned sexual orientation and gender identity into protected classes.

Oklahoma state Sen. Kay Floyd, a Democrat, who is lesbian, said, “This is great news. Your letters, emails, and calls are already making a difference. The sooner we defeat the rest of these divisive and unconstitutional bills, the sooner we can get back to working for everyday Oklahomans.”

Kern submitted two other anti-gay bills so far this session. One prevents taxpayer money and government salaries from licensing or supporting same-sex marriage. The other is called the “Freedom to Obtain Conversion Therapy Act.”

—  David Taffet

Oklahoma grants first same-sex divorce

oklahoma-marriageAs marriage equality spreads across the country, there’s a major lesson the gay and lesbian community needs to learn: Just because you CAN get married, doesn’t mean you SHOULD get married.

Although Oklahoma has had marriage equality for almost two months, it’s already had its first same-sex divorce. It’s not as bad as it sound, however.

Deanne and Julie Baker of Oklahoma City married in Iowa in 2012. They tried to divorce over the summer, but the Oklahoma court rejected their petition, because it didn’t recognize the marriage. Once marriage equality hit the state, the petition was accepted on Oct. 15 and the couple is divorced.

So remember, if you visit a marriage equality state to marry and you then consider divorce, Texas is neither a marriage equality state nor a divorce equality state. And a couple can only divorce in their home state, unless at least one of them establishes residency elsewhere.

—  David Taffet

Oklahoma Supreme Court allows same-sex parents to seek custody

oklahoma-marriageThe Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled today (Wednesday, Nov. 12) that non-biological parents in a same-sex relationship can seek custody of children they raised based on an agreement to parent together.

The decision found there is no public policy in Oklahoma against a child having same-sex parents, and if a biological parent jointly conceives children with a non-biological parent and then raises those children together, she cannot deny the other parent the ability to seek custody or visitation based on their agreement.

“We applaud the Oklahoma Supreme Court for recognizing that when two parents raise a child together, both parents should be allowed to seek custody, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or biological ties,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Family Law Director Cathy Sakimura. “This decision recognizes that every child’s best interests must be protected when their parents break up, no matter what their family looks like.”

Julie Eldredge and Karen Taylor were in a long-term relationship and entered a civil union in New Zealand. They jointly decided to have two children through donor insemination, and they raised the children together for seven years until Karen, the biological mother, unilaterally cut off contact between Julie and the children. Julie sought shared custody of the children, but the trial court denied her petition for lack of standing.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that Eldredge is able to seek custody based on the parties’ agreement to parent the children, so long as custody is in the best interests of the children. The court also noted that same-sex parents in Oklahoma may obtain second-parent adoptions, where the non-biological parent may adopt without terminating the biological parent’s rights, but that same-sex parents who do not adopt may still seek custody based on an agreement.

“The public policy of this state mandates that the district court consider the best interests of the children before they lose one of the only two parents they have ever known,” the court wrote in its ruling.

“The real winners here are the children, whose rights to have loving parents are protected,” said Melody Huckaby Rowlett, attorney for Eldredge.

—  David Taffet

BREAKING: 10th Circuit says OK marriage ban is unconstitutional

Bs1h9tfCAAAgOOnA U.S. appeals court ruled today that Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The 2-1 vote by the U.S. Tenth Circuit of Appeals affirmed U.S. Judge Terence Kern’s earlier decision in Bishop v. Smith.

The same three-judge panel also ruled earlier Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The court stayed its ruling however, pending an appeal by the state of Oklahoma.

The case is the oldest challenge to a same-sex marriage ban in the country.

Since the Supreme Court’s major gay rights decisions last year, 17 federal courts have ruled that state same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. More than 70 cases are pending in federal court including one in Texas, DeLeon v. Perry according to a press release from the Human Rights Campaign.


—  James Russell

Oklahoma is the next target in marriage campaign

Screen shot 2014-05-06 at 10.17.02 AMThe U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has already heard the appeal of a federal court’s ruling that Oklahoma’s marriage law is unconstitutional. The case was expedited by the court and a decision is expected soon.

Now, Freedom to Marry has helped finance a TV commercial running in Oklahoma appealing to fairness for all families. The ad features an Oklahoma lesbian couple who married in Massachusetts. They live with their three children and the parents of one of the women. Her dad is Ed Cuyler, a former army colonel.

“Here in Oklahoma, we value family,” Cuyler says.

“Marriage enhances our community and makes families stronger,” Mrs. Cuyler says.

—  David Taffet