(NOTE: We're sharing this release from our friends at Freedom Oklahoma.)
OKLAHOMA CITY -- For the second year in a row a handful of Oklahoma state legislators lead the nation in introducing legislation aimed at stigmatizing LGBTQ Oklahomans. In a year where our state is facing a billion dollar budget shortfall, legislators are pushing over two-dozen bills that – if passed – are guaranteed to cost the taxpayers of Oklahoma millions of dollars in litigation fees, just to make the point that they believe gay and transgender Oklahomans should be second-class citizens. (See list on our website)
These bills range from barring educators from helping LGBTQ students in distress, to prohibiting transgender people from using public restrooms, to a bill protecting the abusive discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” And that is but a sample.
In addition to this slate of hateful legislation there is also proposed House Joint Resolution 1059 that would put the right to discriminate on the ballot. Creating a firestorm worse than what was seen in Indiana last year and in Arizona the year before. There is no single piece of legislation that would be more damaging to the business future of a state already on the brink of economic collapse.
According the Associated Press, the fall out on Indiana’s economy from last years discrimination bill was over $60,000,000. And that was just the revenue lost in conferences that explicitly canceled due to discriminatory legislation. (See article attached)
Freedom Oklahoma is working with a broad coalition of local, statewide, and national organizations including the ACLU of Oklahoma and the Human Rights Campaign, as well as clergy, corporations, small business owners, and concerned voters from across the state.
The following statement can be attributed to Freedom Oklahoma executive director, Troy Stevenson:
“For the second year in a row a handful of Oklahoma legislators have decided to engage in the politics of distraction rather than attempting to address the real problems of our state, such as a budget shortfall set to exceed a billion dollars. Our community will not sit idly by while an agenda of discrimination is unleashed. We will be present, we will force lawmakers to look us in the eye and we not rest until this agenda of hate is stopped once and for all.”
The following statement can be attributed to ACLU of Oklahoma executive director, Ryan Kiesel:
“These hateful attacks have no place in a society that prides itself on the values of equality and freedom. Legislative leaders have shown us that they can exercise their authority and kill these bills tomorrow. We call on them to not only kill these bills again, but to publicly add their voice to the fight against bigotry. Make no mistake, any failure by legislative leadership to speak out against these intolerant measures will mark them as co-conspirators in this discriminatory campaign against LGBTQ Oklahomans and their allies.”