Last Minute OK Senate Bill Angers LGBTQ Community
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma - The LGBTQ community is fired up over a religious freedom bill filed at the last minute.
It's the same bill that passed in Mississippi, allowing businesses and state employees to deny services based on their beliefs.
The bill is called "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act".
Oklahoma State Senator Brecheen said it's about first amendment rights, but the LGBTQ community is calling it hate legislation.
"I was feeling like things were finally better … but I was wrong," said Toby Jenkins.
With another special session underway at the Capitol, the Oklahomans for Equality CEO was hopeful a bill like this wouldn't be on the table.
"He has detailed how he wants to harass, pick on, and discriminate against LGBTQ people,” said Jenkins.
Senator Josh Brecheen filed the Senate Bill just before Thursday’s deadline, saying it's successful in Mississippi.
"Let me tell you something, do we really want to imitate Mississippi," Jenkins said.
"Do you want to walk into a restaurant and be told 'we don't serve your kind," Jenkins said.
The bill allows wedding vendors and facilities to refuse service to LGBTQ customers, protects county clerks who don't want to issue marriage licenses and allows doctors to deny treatment and gender-transitioning surgery.
"A health care provider who refuses to treat somebody needs to get out of that business and needs to go work at McDonald's. They're in the wrong line of business," Jenkins said.
Senator Josh Brecheen sent News on 6 a statement, saying in part "a free people should have every expectation that their government will not discriminate against them for sincerely held religious beliefs nor should they fear losing their business or job because of their religious beliefs."
Oklahomans for Equality said in 2016 there were more anti-LGBTQ bills filed in Oklahoma than all other states combined.
Last year there were 11.
The first reading on this bill is set for two weeks from Monday.