Oklahomans React To Executive Order Protecting LGBT Contractors

Monday, July 21st 2014, 8:33 pm
By: News 9

Nearly 40 ago President Lyndon B. Johnson banned discrimination based on race or national origin. Now, sexual orientation and gender identity are included, but not all LGBT Oklahomans are protected.

“It's a great move, but it's just the next step," said Troy Stevenson of The Equality Network.

A window of opportunity for Oklahoma is how Stevenson sees the President's most recent Executive Order, signed Monday to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender federal employees and contractors from discrimination.

"We're hoping to get legislation introduced soon in Oklahoma," said Stevenson.

It is legislation that is absent in 35 other states.

"Most people think this is something that's been taken care of and I think it's important to realize that we still have this type of discrimination going on and going on legally," said Stevenson.

7/21/2014 Related Story: Obama Signs Act To Protect LGBT Federal Contractors

The executive order impacts the some 24,000 companies that are federal contractors. Stevenson is focused on what he tells us are thousands of workers here in Oklahoma.

"Momentum is definitely on our side," said Stevenson.

"I think Oklahomans will notice LGBT protections are going to be part of our work life experience here,” said Paula Sophia, a retired OKC police officer.

Sophia is currently running House District 88, but in 2005 this Army veteran and Oklahoma City police officer reached a settlement with the city over sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.

"I'm very happy we're making progress on security for all people," said Sophia. "I wish it hadn't taken this long.”

Now Stevenson and Sophia will continue to make sure that progress continues.

"It's an issue of fairness, pure fairness. Freedom means freedom for everyone," said Stevenson

News 9 reached out to Gov. Mary Fallin and Sen. Jim Inhofe for comment, but both were unavailable. Congressman Jim Lankford said he would comment after he reviews the order.