OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Laws that deal with race and sexual orientation have been passing through State legislatures all over the country.
Recently Florida passed a law that bans the teaching of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades Kindergarten through 3rd.
Florida recently passed HB 1557, what some are calling the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The legislation states that teachings on sexual orientation or gender identity would be banned “in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
We wanted to know if Oklahoma has or could soon have its own “Don’t Say Gay” bill?
The bill sparking protests in Florida but some are saying Oklahoma already has a version of the Florida initiative. it is HB 1775 and it passed in 2021 and became law.
“HB 1775 is an overly vague bill that prevents conversations on race gender and sexual orientation within public schools,” said Cindy Nguyen, Policy Director for the ACLU of Oklahoma.
The ACLU of Oklahoma has filed a lawsuit against the state of Oklahoma over what most people know as the “Critical Race Theory” bill but they say it limits other topics as well from being discussed in classrooms.
“We have already seen university professors remove content from their curricula that addresses sexual orientation as well as gender identity,” said Nguyen.
“They are similar and somewhat related but, no, they are not the same bill as what Florida has just passed,” said Sen. Nathan Dahm.
The Republican from Broken Arrow says that HB 1775 only bans the requirement of students to take sexual orientation and gender identity courses in college. But would he be in favor of a Florida style “Don’t Say Gay” bill?
“With some of these ideas that are being pushed on young students even on our elementary schools. Yes, I think it is something that is necessary,” said Dahm.
“Well this isn’t happening in our schools in the first place, so why are we trying to write a piece of legislation that is not happening?” said Rep. Jacob Rosecrants.
Representative Rosencrants is a former teacher from Norman. ”As a parent of a trans-boy, I can tell you right now that any of this “eraser” or using this fear mongering, is extremely dangerous.”
“If it’s something the parents want to have the conversation with their children about, that’s one thing. But no, government employees should not be having this conversation with these young students,” said Dahm.
The deadline to introduce completely new legislation has passed but Dahm says they could find an education-based bill, that Florida style language could be added to, and then pass this session.