The guy pictured above who looks like he probably has an impressive collection of gladiator movies tucked away in a shoebox in his closet is Oklahoma State Representative Danny Williams.
He’s the primary author of HB 1888, which in its original form, would prohibit any public body, including schools, from conducting gender or sexual diversity training or counseling in Oklahoma.
Unless I’m not fully understanding the bill’s language and intent, that seems like an issue most conservative Oklahoma lawmakers, especially the ones who think diversity is a dirty word, would support. It also seems like something the liberal lawmakers who are aligned with the LGBTQ+ community would be against.
The vote tally, on the other hand, reflects the exact opposite (See update below). The bill received 19 “Yes” votes – primarily from Democrats – and 35 “No” votes, primarily from Republicans. 47 other House Members didn’t even vote. This is just a guess, but maybe conservatives want to reserve their right to teach their interpretation of gender and sexual diversity, and the powerless liberals in the legislature want to prevent that from happening.
(***Update: I apparently understood the bill’s intent, but not our state’s parliamentary procedures. The vote was to “table” the bill, which means a “No” vote was a “Yes” vote for the bill, and a “Yes” vote a “No” vote for the bill. And that’s how a bill becomes a law.)
Undeterred, Williams then introduced a couple of amendments that I guess were designed to get more lawmakers on the conservative side to get behind the proposal. One of them, which we’ll call the Shortey Amendment, would have required school teachers, counselors and other administrators to out students who may be gay or trans to their parents.
Check this out:
Naturally, the amendment resulted in the typical batch of online outrage, but not too long after it was introduced, The Frontier’s Ben Felder reported it had been pulled:
HB 1888, which bans the teaching of sexual or gender diversity in schools, now has an amendment that would require teachers and school staff to out students #oklaed https://t.co/kqbzFBWf7a pic.twitter.com/0W35mreEDD
— Ben Felder (@benfelder_okc) March 10, 2021
The amendment has just been removed. The bill would still ban mandatory gender and sexual diversity training and counseling in all public bodies, including schools. https://t.co/LsSKNWGuUs
— Ben Felder (@benfelder_okc) March 11, 2021
Man, you know there were a lot of lawmakers – and school teachers – disappointed with that one.
Anyway, it will be interesting what happens to this bill and if any other weird amendments (like requiring students to out gay teachers) will be included. I’m sure the conservatives in the House would be all for that one.
Stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised.