In Oklahoma, ‘Hate Crimes Opt Out’ bill killed in House committee

I personally went to the State Capitol on March 31st to lobby against this bill with The Equality Network. It is shameful it ever even got this far. Oklahoma has a long way to go to move away from the extremism that gave birth to this bill. Those of us LGBT citizens, and our allies, who are politically active in Oklahoma, do so with the idea if we can fight to change things positively here, in very conservative Oklahoma, then the fruits of our efforts will ripple across the nation.

Under the new language, if local law enforcement objected to turning information over to the federal government in a hate-crimes investigation, federal authorities would have to file a petition in court showing good cause why they needed the information, Russell said.

If local law enforcement didn’t object to turning over the information, court approval would not be needed, Russell said.

Russell said the law is needed to protect free speech after the passage of a federal law that added sexual orientation or gender identity to the categories protected under the federal hate-crimes law. President Barack Obama signed the law in October.

Representative Russell, and his friends, never stop therefore we can not afford to put our heads in the sand and go to sleep. Like Russell said, “In my view, this is not the end of it. We need protections in state law.” No, it is never “the end of it” with those types. They never stop. Therefore, neither can we.

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