Oklahoma Senate Committee Passes Controversial Transgender Bathroom Bill

Friday, May 20th 2016, 5:59 pm

Members of the State Senate passed a bill that would allow students to request, on religious grounds, that their public school provides transgender free bathrooms and locker rooms.

Senators spent more than two hours debating the bill. It follows the President Obama’s order that schools have to let students use the bathroom or changing facilities of the gender they identify with. The bill requires schools to allow a religious accommodation, so students who are religiously opposed to using facilities with transgendered students won't have to. 

Even the bill's author, Senator Gary Stanislawski  (R) District 35,  didn't know exactly how that would work.  He suggested maybe using the bathroom or changing and showering facilities in shifts. 

"I would suggest maybe a different time frame from those students that have the religious accommodation. They won't all be in there at the exact same time but they can work something out." Stanislawski said.

The bill has garnered a lot of national attention.  It doesn't clearly spell out whether separate bathrooms and changing rooms should be built for students who have religious objections to showering or using the bathroom with transgendered students, but it does say special accommodations have to be made.  Opponents say this is just a red herring to draw attention away from the state's budget crisis. 

“It is a wedge issue for the elections.  It's a desperate group of people trying to make a point on the backs of a bunch of kids that just want to pee," said Troy Stevenson with Freedom Oklahoma.

A concurrent resolution is calling for the president to be impeached, claiming he ovestepped his authority.