Human Rights Campaign Condemns Oklahoma State Senate For Passing Anti-Equality Legislation In Violation Of Federal Civil Rights Law

by HRC Staff

If Passed, Oklahoma Would Join Ranks of Alabama and Tennessee - As Well As North Carolina’s Infamous HB2 - With Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bans Violating Federal Civil Rights Law

OKLAHOMA CITY– Today, The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned the Oklahoma State Senate for passing S.B. 615, a bill copying other efforts - most recently in Alabama - to discriminate against LGBTQ+ youth in schools. Specifically, if passed, this bill would put Oklahoma in a small and infamous group of states that have chosen to defy federal civil rights law by forbidding transgender youth to access restrooms consistent with their gender identity. North Carolina and Tennessee both faced swift challenges in the courts for these violations, and Alabama’s recent law is only weeks old. The legislation will now be transmitted back to the House for passage. If the bill is passed by anti-equality legislators in the House it will head to the desk of Governor Stitt.

Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley issued the following statement in reaction to today’s vote:

“LGBTQ+ youth are just kids - they’re kids who are trying to learn to read, play at recess, get from one class to another before the bell, and to prepare themselves for adulthood. Transgender kids, like all kids, need to be able to use the restroom at school. Period. What states like Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina have done is ostracize these kids for their political gains among radical voters. Elected officials have decided to disregard the real harms these bills will impose on Oklahoma’s youth in order to pander to a small, far-right base. Legislators in Oklahoma have been relentless in their attacks against the LGBTQ+ community - they’ve already passed legislation that prohibits transgender students from being able to play sports at school, and they’ve made it impossible for non-binary people to correct their identity documents. These legislators can try, but they will never erase LGBTQ+ people - and we won’t stop fighting back.”

Already this year, Governor Stitt has signed two pieces of anti-transgender legislation. The first, S.B. 2, prohibits transgender students from playing school sports consistent with their gender identity. It does so despite the fact that banning transgender girls from participating in school sports programs solves nothing and in fact causes great harm. The Governor also signed S.B. 1100, a bill that would prohibit Oklahomans from obtaining non-binary gender markers on official documents. These bills constitute nothing less than an all out attack on LGBTQ+ rights, particularly impacting transgender people, led by Governor Stitt and anti-equality legislators in the state house. This legislation passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives would also be against the views of a majority of Oklahomans as new polling from PRRI shows that 75% of Oklahomans support expanding LGBTQ+ rights including protections from discrimination.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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