OK Lawmakers Target Gays, Misfire

Jim Burroway

March 26th, 2010

Oklahoma lawmakers are incensed that the Federal Hate Crimes Law signed by President Obama last October extends protections based on sexual orientation. So they decided to do something about it. The Oklahoma Senate passed a bill prohibiting local and state law enforcement agencies from sharing information about hate crimes with federal authorities.

But now lawmakers have found a “legislative error,” resulting in the bill limiting enforcement of the Federal Hate Crimes Law in cases involving race and religion, not sexual orientation.

The bill began life as an education bill before State Sen. Steve Russell (R-Oklahoma City) offered an amendment on the Senate floor to gut the original bill and replace it with his legislation. It passed the Senate by a vote of 39-6 and is now under consideration in the House. The lone House sponsor withdrew her name upon learning of the wholesale change undertaken by the Senate. But I’m sure someone in Oklahoma will step up and restore the race and religion protections. After all, we can’t expect Christians to give up their special protections, can’t we?


March 26th, 2010

Even if the locals don’t ask the Feds for assistance in prosecuting a Hate Crime, the victim or their advocates can alert the Feds. If the Feds feel that the case isn’t being taken seriosly by the locals, they can assert juristiction in federal court to take over the case. Please remember that one of the major reasons for Hate Crime legislation in the first place is unwillingness on the part of local law enforcement to enforce the law depending on the characteristics of the victims.

Should this law pass, federal prosecutors will have a very easy time getting federal courts to let them take over these cases, because the State of Oaklanoma has made it so clear that they are not interested in protecting gay victims


March 26th, 2010

Yeah, I mean, it would be blatantly unconstitutional even if it passed.

Paul in Canada

March 27th, 2010


Richard Rush

March 27th, 2010

Great point, John. So OK’s legislation may actually make it more likely, rather than less likely, that S.O. hate crimes will be prosecuted by the Feds. And that prosecution may need to be especially vigorous to counter the official OK policy of hostility toward victims. Maybe the state of OK itself can be prosecuted for aiding and abetting the commission of hate crimes.

Isn’t this a classic example of visceral hate leading to cutting off the nose to spite the face?

paul j stein

March 27th, 2010

Another state that my kids won’t want to go to. Guess they are not worried about tourism dollars from GLTB Americans.

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