Oklahoma Proposes Bathrooms By Religion, Challenges Obama Directives

Lawmakers of Oklahoma have proposed a new bill that will allow students to make a request based on religion that their schools provide them with a bathroom and other facilities that disallows transgender people.

The particular bill directly challenges the Obama administration after they clearly directed lawmakers and stated that students must be allowed to use the facilities that they feel match their identity, even if this varies from their “anatomical sex.”

The New York Times relays the matter regarding the new bill put forth by Oklahoma lawmakers.

“The Senate bill introduced on Thursday in Oklahoma defined “sex” as the “physical condition of being male or female, as identified at birth” by an individual’s anatomy. It says any student can request a ‘religious accommodation’ from a school for restrooms, athletic changing facilities or showers that are exclusively used by people with the anatomical sex at birth that is similar to their own. This means that a male student could request that the school provide facilities only for use by other students who were male when they were born.”

The bill also states that a student can insist on this based on their own “sincerely held religious beliefs.” The legislation that has been proposed by the state indicates that single-occupancy bathrooms and facilities are not accommodations that meet the intentions of the bill.

Authors of the mentioned bill were Senator Brian Bingman and Speaker Jeffrey Hickman. Both men are republicans and created the bill for what they describe as an “emergency” in a time when lawmakers need to maintain “public peace, health and safety.” Obama administrative directives were not specifically mentioned in the bill.

The guidance letter written by the administration clearly indicates that any attempt to go against what has been put in place, may result in legal action against the specific state which does so.

“The guidance letter published last Friday by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education said students must be allowed to use the facilities that match the gender they identify as, even if that is different from with their anatomical sex. For districts that refuse to comply, the directive carries the potential threat of legal action or of the withholding of federal funds.”

Senior legislative counsel with the Human Rights Campaign, Cathryn Oakley, shares that this particular directive is the most widespread that the administration has instated, and Oklahoma seems to be the first state that is directly challenging and opposing it.

Oakley speaks on the matter of the opposition to the directive.

“It is the first challenge since last week. What is particularly notable is that they are adding religion into the mix in a way that it has not been in any other.”

There has apparently been a number of other state governments that are not in agreement with the directive, yet are choosing to simply ignore as opposed to challenging.

News OK shares that on Thursday, Oklahoma lawmakers also went ahead and filed a “companion resolution” that accused the Obama administration of overreach via the constitution by advising educational facilities to allow transgender people to use bathrooms that they believe match their gender. Representatives were then called on the file articles against Obama for impeachment.

Republican John Bennett shared about the complaints being received over the directive by Obama.

“Our phones and emails are being flooded by citizens who are enraged by this president’s attempt to use our children as pawns in a liberal agenda. This directive is biblically wrong, a violation of our state’s sovereignty and it is a serious public safety issue.”

[AP Photo/Charles Dharapak]