Oklahoma Anti-Gay Lawmaker Tries, Fails To Harm LGBTQ Youth In Schools
Republican State Representative Sally Kern of Oklahoma just pulled a virulently anti-gay bill from a floor vote – but not because it could harm LGBTQ youth and teens. As NCRM reported earlier today, HB 3044 would prohibit school personnel, including counselors, therapists, social workers, administrators, teachers, etc., from providing guidance or information about human sexuality without notifying the minor’s parents at least 24 hours in advance.
While not written into the bill, the clear goal of the legislation was to out LGBTQ youth and teens to parents, so they could somehow intervene before their children make a "poor decision" by choosing to be gay. Some on social media had called it the "LGBT suicide bill" knowing it would lead directly to increased LGBTQ youth and teen suicide.
But Kern didn't kill the bill for that reason.
"Kern told committee members she recently learned her bill could have unintended consequences that could affect the work of many pregnancy resource centers in the state that 'volunteer their time, energy and resources in helping women and babies in crisis time in their lives,'" eCapitol reports.
Oklahomans for Equality, an LGBT civil rights group, added that "Rep Kern was defiant to the end claiming that the only reason to pull the bill was to protect pro-life activists not lgbt teenagers."
The bill itself was so dangerous that Freedom Oklahoma, in an email sent to The New Civil Rights Movement, noted that should it become law, "a school counselor can not even give a student struggling with suicidal thoughts – or at risk of self-harm – the phone number for the national suicide prevention hotline without informing their parents, even in cases where the parent may be the catalyst of the harm. It also forces counselors and social workers to violate the ethics of their profession by either breaching the confidence of a youth or being barred from offering support and resources."
Freedom Oklahoma executive director, Troy Stevenson called it "exceptionally irresponsible for legislators to use school children as props in the politics of distraction on display in this legislative session," and in a statement reiterated that HB 3044 would "literally put the lives of students at risk."
HB 3044's demise is great for LGBTQ youth and families, but Sally Kern and her other anti-gay lawmakers have already filed another 25 anti-LGBT bills this session. One down, many more to go.