Oklahoma Passes Bill Discriminating Against Wrong Group
The U.S. State of Oklahoma has accidentally passed a bill that eliminates all hate crime protections from people based on their race or religion instead of their sexual orientation, the bill’s original intent.
Bill 1965 (named, most likely, for the attitudes of that era) was supposed to essentially reverse the Matthew Sheppard and James Byrd Act, a federal law that added sexual orientation to the list of minorities protected from violent hate crimes. While states are not allowed to override federal law, Oklahoma found a strange workaround, mandating that local law officials simply not enforce a specific section of the U.S. Code under Title 18. Due to a clerical error or typo, however, the bill identified that section as 245 (which deals with race and religion) instead of 249 (which deals with sexual orientation).
Now, it’s actually a worthwhile exercise to substitute religion or race for sexual orientation to see how crazy anti-gay arguments sound, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen lawmakers do it themselves… to their own legislation… and actually pass it.
Or who knows, maybe they just wanted to exercise the golden rule and seek to be treated the way they treat others?
Either way, the intent of Bill 1965 is exactly the same, no matter which group of people it applies to. With that in mind, I’m sure the legislators who supported the bill in the first place will see no problem keeping it on the books as it stands, right?