lgbt rights

Oklahoma’s Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bill Rightfully Backfired

Photo: Pat Canova/Getty Images

While North Carolina continues to battle over a passed anti-LGBT law, last week an Oklahoma Senate committee introduced its own bathroom bill. On Tuesday, it failed to pass.

Two Oklahoma Republicans wrote the bill and zealously won the race: It was considered the first statewide bill to directly oppose the Obama administration’s guidelines for protecting transgender students from discrimination (a.k.a., letting students use whichever facilities align with their gender identities). The law would have let Oklahoma’s public-school students request a “religious accommodation” for same-sex facilities based on “sincerely held religious beliefs” (or: based on a certain fear of people who are different from them). Students could request restrooms, locker rooms, and showers be open only to the gender their fellow students were assigned at birth.

The bill’s authors, Senator Brian Bingman and House Speaker Jeffrey Hickman, presented the legislation as an “emergency” response; a companion resolution reportedly called for impeaching President Obama for “constitutional overreach.” These caused an uproar: Chambers of commerce from Oklahoma’s biggest cities issued severe warnings against “what happened in North Carolina.”

On Tuesday night, Hickman pulled his name from the bill, blocking it from being passed in a House committee. Why? It’s unclear. But it was a good move.

Oklahoma’s Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill Backfired