NPR Tulsa reports:
An Oklahoma senate panel approved a bill Monday to prevent city and county governments from outdoing state laws on employment and public accommodations. The bill initially prevented local governments from going further than any state law. A committee substitute focused it on employment and public accommodations laws. Senate Bill 694 author Sen. Joshua Brecheen [photo] sparred with Sen. Kay Floyd over the need to preemptively protect business owners’ expression of sincerely held religious beliefs through refusing service to LGBTQ people.
“That’s what some are asking for, is the ability to object to something but do it in a loving manner and it not be categorized as discrimination with the context of all that word conjures,” Brecheen said. “Does the senator recognize that’s exactly the argument that was raised in the Civil Rights movement 50 years ago?” Floyd said. “I wasn’t alive during that argument,” Brecheen said.
Sexual orientation and gender identity were added to Tusla’s housing ordinance in 2015. Oklahoma City and Tulsa offer employment protections for sexual orientation only. Oklahoma City’s suburb of Norman offers employment protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity. There are no public accommodation protections anywhere in the state.