HRC Blog

Oklahoma Bill Would Implement More Extreme Version of DADT

HRC joins The Equality Network and the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma in condemning discriminatory legislation in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. HB 2195 would implement an even more extreme version of the now-repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” anti-gay policy on the state’s National Guard and jeopardize nearly $295 million in federal funding.

As we shared on Wednesday, the bill is scheduled for a vote before the House Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on Monday.

“This archaic legislation is aimed at sending an outdated and hateful political message, no matter what the damage done to the men and women of the Oklahoma National Guard,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “It takes bravery and a love of country to join the National Guard. Oklahoma’s lawmakers should not be sending a message that those who are LGBT are second-class citizens incapable of carrying out their duties just as well as their comrades – but that’s exactly what this homophobic legislation does.”

“Rep. Reynolds’ hateful bill not only puts our State National Guard at risk, but it sends a message that it’s acceptable to discriminate against LGBT Oklahomans,” said The Equality Network (TEN) chair Laura Belmonte. “At a time when our state needs action on job creation, education, and public health, our lawmakers are instead focusing on hateful policies that harm residents of their state. This is totally out-of-step with the momentum we’re seeing on equality nationwide.”

“This proposed legislation is an egregious insult to LGBT soldiers who are serving Oklahoma’s National Guard, and doesn’t reflect how the military at the national level has interpreted federal law,” said ACLU-OK Executive Director Ryan Kiesel. “In addition to discriminating against LGBT people, the legislation stands to jeopardize critical federal funding for the state, to the tune of nearly $295 million.”

If the bill were to become law, Oklahoma would join countries like China, Iran, Syria, North Korea and Pakistan in prohibiting gays and lesbians from serving their country.

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