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Oklahoma introduces record 26 anti-gay bills

Oklahoma introduces record 26 anti-gay bills

The Oklahoma legislature will consider anti-gay marriage, pro-'conversion therapy, 'religious freedom' and bathroom bills.

At least 26 anti-gay bills have already been introduced in the Oklahoma legislature this year before state lawmakers convene on 1 February – what appears to be a new record in hate.

They are among more than 100 anti-LGBTI bills in 26 states, and surpass the 23 that were filed in Texas last year.

The proposals include a pro-‘conversion therapy’ bill, several pieces of legislation to undermine marriage equality, as well as ‘religious freedom’ bills giving businesses the right to turn away LGBTI customers and bathroom bills targeting transgender people.

‘Oklahoma is regrettably leading the nation in the number of bills attacking LGBT people, their families, and visitors in the 2016 legislative session,’ said Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.

‘These vile attacks are shameful, far reaching, and would no doubt be incredibly destructive to this great state – resulting in multiple, expensive legal challenges and a greatly damaged reputation. Oklahomans across the state must stand up and demand their lawmakers stop these attacks on fairness and equality.’

‘For the second year in a row, a handful of Oklahoma legislators have decided to engage in the politics of distraction rather than attempting to address the real problems of our state, such as a budget shortfall set to exceed a billion dollars,’ said Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Troy Stevenson.

‘Our community will not sit idly by while an agenda of discrimination is unleashed. We will be present, we will force lawmakers to look us in the eye, and we will not rest until this agenda of hate is stopped once and for all.’