Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin Has Signed Two Bills That Undermine Religious Freedom

On Friday evening, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed two bills that undermine religious freedom: SB 1140, which allows state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to use religion to justify denying children homes and discriminating against prospective parents, and HB 2177, which authorizes every government building and public school to display the Ten Commandments.

Americans United Denounces Oklahoma Gov. Fallin’s Signing Of SB 1140, A Discriminatory Adoption Bill

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin this evening signed into law Senate Bill 1140, giving taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies a green light to use religion to deny children loving homes and to discriminate against prospective parents.

Oklahoma Gov. Fallin Should Listen to Faith Leaders And Advocates Who Say: Put Kids First

Oklahoma’s state legislature recently passed a bill, SB 1140, that would allow state-funded child-placing agencies to use religion to justify denying children homes and discriminating against prospective parents. This bill allows foster care and adoption agencies to refuse to perform, assist or participate in any child placement in the name of religion. So that means religious child placement agencies could turn away prospective parents who want to provide kids with a loving, stable home because they’re a same-sex couple, interfaith, previously divorced, or the “wrong religion.”

In the Last Moments Of Their Legislative Sessions, Kansas And Oklahoma Put Religious Discrimination Ahead Of Kids

State legislatures in both Kansas and Oklahoma passed bills last Thursday (Senate Bill 284 in Kansas and Senate Bill 1140 in Oklahoma) that would allow state-funded child-placing agencies to use religion to justify denying children homes and discriminating against prospective parents.

Oklahoma Adoption Agencies Should Focus On Children And Reject Discrimination

Tomorrow, an Oklahoma House committee will take up Senate Bill 1140, a bill that would allow taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care entities to deny kids good homes in the name of religion.

Harming Religious Freedom: For Some Oklahoma Senators, It’s As Easy As 1, 2, 3

Oklahoma's SB 197, a "religious freedom" bill, passed out of the Oklahoma Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, along with two other extreme bills. This post from AU's Wall of Separation blog explains why this SB 197 and another bill that seeks to violate church-state separation are so dangerous.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Of The 2016 State Sessions, Part 2: The Bad And The Ugly

In part 1, we recapped the good— the harmful bills that were stopped. In today’s post, we cover the bad and the ugly of the 2016 state legislative sessions. 

Oklahoma's Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bill Is Effectively Dead

Oklahoma's SB 1619, a bills that would have allowed a student or legal guardian to request “religious accommodations” if they attend a public school that allows transgender students to use the single-sex restroom or locker room facilities consistent with their gender identities, died in committee.

Oklahoma Senate Committee Passes Anti-LGBT Bathroom Bill That Allows For Religious Accommodations

Last week, we wrote about Oklahoma's SB 1619, one of a growing number of "bathroom bills" inspired by North Carolina's infamous HB 2. The very same day, Oklahoma's Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget voted to approve the bill, sending it to the Senate floor for a vote.

Oklahoma Introduces Anti-LGBT "Bathroom Bill" That Uses Religion To Discriminate

Ever since North Carolina passed the infamous HB 2, which prohibits transgender individuals from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, we’ve heard a lot about so-called "bathroom bills." This week, Oklahoma got in on the act by proposing SB 1619, the first of these bills to raise religion issues.

Last Week In Review: April 18–22

Here is some of the big legislative news from last week and some bills to watch for the week ahead. 


Oklahoma Introduced The Most Anti-LGBT Bills In The Country

According to Free Speech Radio News, the state of Oklahoma has the (dis)honor of introducing the most anti-LGBT bills in the country, many of which are written by organizations from outside the region. 

Sense-Free Zone: Okla. Gun Range Owners Face Lawsuit For Turning Muslim Customer Away

Arkansas “patriot” Jan Morgan announced to the world two years ago that her gun range would no longer serve Muslim customers. At the time, I noted that her actions violated public accommodation law and that she would lose an inevitable lawsuit; that did not deter Morgan, and it did not deter a number of other gun-range owners from implementing the same policy.

Spotlight On: Four Anti-LGBT Bills In Oklahoma

Last session, the state of Texas had the distinction of being the state with the most anti-LGBT bills with over 20 pieces of legislation.  Fortunately, each one of those bills was defeated. This session, that distinction of (dis)honor belongs to Oklahoma. Their session began this week, and they already have at least 26 anti-LGBT bills, including bills that include religious exemptions that could be used to discriminate. Here is a look at just four of those bills that we are closely tracking.

Legislative Preview: States Are Preparing for More RFRA Battles

As the states gear up to reconvene their legislative sessions after the New Year, we can expect to see many states pursuing Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) legislation. We often focus on states without state-level RFRAs that attempt to pass bills to create a new law; for example, last year both Indiana and Arkansas passed new RFRA legislation, and the sponsor of Georgia’s bill to create a RFRA has said he will introduce legislation in 2016. However, state legislative activity is not limited merely to creating new RFRA laws. Even in states that currently have RFRA laws, we anticipate that there will be increasing attempts to expand these state RFRAs.

Oklahoma Supreme Court Expands Custodial Rights For Same-Sex Parents

A step forward in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Gun Store Manager Declares Shop a "Muslim Free Establishment"

Oklahoma gun store manager Chad Neal decided to take his anti-Muslim zeal public by officially declaring Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gear a "Muslim free establishment" [sic]. The policy was apparently in response to the July Chattanooga, Tennessee shootings at two military installations by Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez.