The Oklahoma state Senate has taken action yesterday in an attempt to thwart the implementation of the federal hate crimes law passed last year that added sexual orientation and gender identity to federal statutes.
It is hard to imagine the level of short-sighted bigotry that leads someone to try to keep the resources of the federal government from helping to solve or prevent violent, bias-motivated crimes in their own state. This new Oklahoma bill would prevent state and local law enforcement officials from reaching out to the federal government for help and would essentially allow the state to cover up hate crimes that did happen by refusing to share records or information with the federal government. This would leave LGBT Oklahomans with no recourse or assistance if they are the victims of a hate crime, as Oklahoma law does not extend those protections either.
By attempting to exclude Oklahomans from the protections granted to them by federal law, the Oklahoma state senate is sending a dangerous message that it condones such violence against LGBT people and, in doing so, makes their state significantly less safe for all its citizens. Potential perpetrators of violent bias crimes should never be given the message by government officials that their crimes are anything less than abhorrent and illegal. When violence is condoned or covered up, especially by those in power, it creates a climate of fear and lawlessness which runs directly counter to the values of democracy.
More info in the Dallas Voice