Culture

Oklahoma Lawmakers Call A State Of Emergency Over Trans Access To School Restrooms

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In Oklahoma, a “state of emergency” generally implies that a tornado came sweeping down the plains, but instead, this state is getting hyperbolic over transgender rights. Then again, Oklahoma’s on a real tear with legislative-related matters this month. First, a judge issued a depressing ruling about alcohol and rape, which was based on some archaic and sloppy statutes about consent. Then on Thursday, the state legislature passed a bill that made performing an abortion a felony offense. Now the Sooner State brings it home by upping the ante on North Carolina and Texas officials’ anti-LGBT stances.

In retrospect, Oklahoma moved pretty fast while reacting to the Obama Administration’s sweeping directive that requires public schools to provide transgender students access to the bathroom of their choice. That 8-page letter took many weeks to put together after North Carolina and other states’ bathroom bills began to ooze into schools. Yet rebellious states like Texas did not pause before declaring they wouldn’t obey at the risk of losing federal funding. Now, Oklahoma has joined the party by declaring a state of emergency to block Obama’s directive.

Lawmakers have done so by introducing two pieces of legislation, which will be considered by May 27. First, Senate Bill 1619 would allow students to only use bathrooms based upon their gender at birth. This would render Obama’s directive powerless and also includes the following language:

“It being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, by reason whereof this act shall take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval.”

The law would allow parents to sue school districts who don’t comply, based upon a request for a religious accommodation. Then legislators introduce Senate Concurrent Resolution 43, which actually calls for articles of impeachment against President Obama over the bathroom directive. One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. John Bennett, explains the rationale:

“This directive to schools is not only unlawful, but the breadth of overreach in this instance by the Obama Administration is shocking. We are working on legislation that would protect our citizens by not requiring our kids and women to share a facility with anyone who ‘identifies’ as a gender that they were not born. We are going to do everything we can to protect our women and children.”

Once again, a certain segment of lawmakers have blamed an entire segment of the population for the behavior of child predators (who can belong to any gender or other convenient grouping). They are scapegoating trans people under the justification of religious liberty, which they are — in turn — using to infringe upon the liberty of others. These arguments are so bloody circular that they defy logic. Yet it’s also genuinely difficult to understand why some lawmakers want to rule based upon their own religious beliefs. Not to mention the bizarre fear of taking a pee without legislating the entire process.

(Via Legiscan, OkLegislature.gov, and KTUL)

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