WATCH: Tulsa man attacked in anti-gay hate crime

Cody Rogers

Cody Rogers, an 18-year-old Tulsa man, was attacked over the weekend at a party at a friend’s house because he’s gay, according to a report on Tulsa’s Fox 23.

Oklahoma doesn’t have a hate crimes law that includes sexual orientation. Tulsa police are investigating the attack, during which Rogers lost consciousness, as an assault.

“It’s got to be extremely frustrating when you feel like you’ve been chosen, picked,” the Tulsa Police Department’s Jason Willingham told the TV station on Tuesday.

But changing hate crimes laws can only be done on a state level, Willinghman added.

Oklahoma is one of 19 states without such protections. In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry signed a hate crimes bill that includes “sexual preference” into law his first year in office.

A Facebook page has been started to encourage Oklahoma to expand its hate crime law. Rogers said if that were to happen, that’s where his healing would begin.

The Fox 23 report follows after the jump:

—  David Taffet

Is Oklahoma outshining Texas on gay rights?

Tulsa's new city hall
Tulsa’s new city hall

While DART decides whether to gut LGBT protections, Oklahoma is surging ahead in gay rights.

According to Tulsa World, the Tulsa city council approved an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation for city employees. The new law passed by a vote of 6-3.

One city council member pointed out that the ordinance protects everyone, according to a report by Tulsa’s CBS affiliate.

“The policy does not just apply to homosexuals; everybody has a sexual orientation,” said Councilor GT Bynum, who introduced the measure. “If a straight city employee has a gay supervisor, this would protect him just the same.”

And in the state’s other big city, Brittany Novotny, a transgender candidate for the Legislature, reports a record fundraising week for her campaign. There are also two openly gay candidates for the Oklahoma Legislature, Tom Kovach in Norman and incumbent Al McAffrey in Oklahoma City.

Meanwhile, Texas has no out members of its Legislature and only one openly LGBT candidate, Pete Schulte, running this year.

—  David Taffet

Tulsa weighs protections for gay workers

G. T. Bynum
G. T. Bynum

The Tulsa City Council this week will consider a proposal to ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation for city workers.

According to Tulsa World, the measure will be introduced by G.T. Bynum, a young, conservative Republican member of the council who is a former aide to anti-gay Sen. Tom Coburn — the same Tom Coburn who once said: “The gay community has infiltrated the very centers of power in every area across this country, and they wield extreme power. … That agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today. Why do you think we see the rationalization for abortion and multiple sexual partners? That’s a gay agenda.”

The proposed ordinance doesn’t include gender identity. It also doesn’t include domestic partner benefits, and it would apply only to city employees and not to private businesses.

In other words, the ordinance is similar to the one passed by Dallas in the mid-90s.

But it’s a start. And it’s being introduced by a conservative councilmember who says he believes it “maximizes personal freedom up until it infringes on someone else’s freedom.” Bynum also says it was the right thing to do.

In Dallas, when conservative Mayor Steve Bartlett voted for employment non-discrimination in 1995, he said he didn’t discriminate in his own business and didn’t think the city should, either. Of course, Bartlett was about to leave office.

—  David Taffet