OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A protester was arrested at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Tuesday after the House voted to ban “gender transition procedures” for minors and adults using insurance.
The House gallery was full of dozens of people hearing the reading of the bill and the debate between Democrats and Republicans.
Trans-rights activists have visited the Capitol on multiple occasions this session and at no point was there any violence.
People voiced their concerns and displeasure with HB 2177 on Tuesday, as they were leaving the gallery, but each person was escorted out and told to leave.
But after the vote, when lawmakers were leaving the House floor, a protester hurled water at State Representative Bob Ed Culver, R-Tahlequah.
KFOR photojournalist Kevin Josefy captured the entire event on camera.
The protester was then escorted out by an Oklahoma State Trooper.
At the fourth floor stairwell on the southwest side, the protester threw the water again but this time at the trooper. That is when the trooper went in for an arrest. He followed the protester down the stairs until the two became physical.
Once detained by the trooper, the protester swung and open-handedly hit the trooper on the shoulder.
After contemplating the event, Culver decided to press charges.
“If water being thrown on me had been the extent of the action taken, I would not have given it a second thought. However, I cannot stand by while our highway patrolmen are assaulted for simply doing their jobs,” said Culver. “Taking all of that into consideration, I have decided to press charges against the individual who assaulted me and the patrolman and will cooperate fully with the law enforcement investigation.”
House Bill 2177 would ban “gender transition procedures” for minors, including surgeries and puberty and hormone blockers.
“Up to this point, I think we can safely say there’s not enough evidence to put our children out on a huge experiment,” said Jim Olsen, R-Roland.
The author of the bill is Kevin West, R-Moore. He wants Oklahoma to take a wait and watch approach.
“They [trans-youth] need compassionate, effective, mental health care,” said West.
But the bill also bans procedures for adults that use their insurance.
Democrats argue it sends a clear message to the trans community in Oklahoma.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or younger – if you cannot afford health care then you do not have the opportunity to stay in Oklahoma and live your life,” said Rep. Mauree Turner, D-OKC.
Turner also expressed concerns with the ban on procedures being administered by organizations that receive state funds. Any violators would lose those funds for at least a year.
“When we have health care students that write me narrative after narrative about how they’re afraid on what they can do, so they are already looking at options outside the state, we are creating a health care drain,” said Turner.
The bill passed the House with an 80-18 vote.
It will now head over to the Senate.