Oklahoma Targets Gays With Bill – Hits Religious Groups Instead

Posted by | March 30, 2010 10:46 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Thomas Wellborn

In a hasty move to pass legislation meant to reduce discrimination protections against gay people, Oklahoma instead passed a bill that cited the wrong clause in the federal code.  In lieu of a bill that ignores the expanded hate crimes law passed last year by US Congress, they ended up with a bill that prevents law enforcement from upholding laws against hate crimes based on religion, race or ethnicity.

“The bill in its current form doesn’t take away rights from gays and lesbians,” state Senate Minority Leader Andrew Rice told Oklahoma Daily. “It takes away rights for religion and race.”

The Equality Network, a LGBT advocacy group, issued as statement that says, in part:

The bill “also prevents law enforcement officials from asking for federal assistance in enforcing the LGBT-inclusive federal hate crimes law. The bill does not seek to repeal federal or state hate crimes protections accorded on the basis of race, national origin, religion, or disability. Instead, it intentionally excludes only hate crimes perpetrated on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.”

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