The Republican controlled Oklahoma Legislature adjourned Friday without passing proposed legislation targeting transgender children.
If signed into law, Senate Bill 1619 would have legalized discrimination against transgender children who need to use the restroom at school. The measure would have also required schools to create separate facilities for any student who refuses to share a public facility with transgender people on the basis of religious beliefs.
“This was one of the most mean-spirited and discriminatory pieces of legislation that we have seen introduced in any legislative body this year,” said Kasey Suffredini, chief program officer for Freedom for All Americans and director of the Transgender Freedom Project. “Today’s win is a testament to the important conversations taking place in Oklahoma, and around the country, about who transgender people truly are and why bills like the one introduced in Oklahoma are so devastating. We’re pleased that members stopped this dangerous and ill conceived bill from becoming law.”
Many lawmakers and businesses questioned the logic of the bill, especially considering the fact that the state is facing an historic budget crises. North Carolina has lost thousands of jobs and hundreds-of-millions of dollars in investments after it adopted similar legislation prohibiting transgender individuals from using the restroom that matches their identity.
Instead of passing SB 1619, lawmakers passed a resolution calling President Obama’s guidance to schools dealing with trans students “federal overreach,” and directing the state’s attorney general to take legal action in order to keep Oklahoma schools from having to comply with the guidance.
“While we are disappointed that lawmakers are trying to protect discrimination against transgender students, we are pleased that they did not pass this dangerous legislation,” Suffredini concluded.
Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.