With six days to go before the start of the state legislative session, one group is already taking aim at bills they find offensive. Advocates for LGBTQ rights came to the capital Tuesday with a message for legislators: Strike down 27 bills they call discriminatory, or it will cost Oklahomans.
Rev. Scott Foster of the United Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City said, “Certain groups are using the guise of religious freedom to pressure our legislators into allowing them an exemption to Oklahoma law. They’re attempting to legalize discrimination.”
The groups outlined 27-bills which they say discriminate against the LGBTQ community, like bills regarding same sex marriage; shared facilities, like bathrooms and shower rooms for transgender individual; and counseling for teens questioning their sexual identity.
Advocates say the bills aren't just discriminatory, they're just plain mean spirited.
“Legislators that are playing the politics of…actually I wish they were playing the politics of discrimination,” said Troy Stevenson with Freedom Oklahoma. “What they’re doing is vindictive and mean and cruel.”
As for the cost to Oklahomans, the group points to a study that showed Indiana lost as much as $60 million in hotel and other revenue after passing the state’s religious objections law.
Freedom Oklahoma also vows to fight any legislation in court, potentially costing taxpayers millions of dollars in legal costs.