A Major Whoopsie For Oklahoma’s Haters
Remember when Oklahoma lawmakers passed a bill declaring the state exempt from the Matthew Shepard Act? It turns out the asshats cited the wrong federal bill number in their legislation and Oklahoma is actually now exempt from federal laws about reporting racial and religious discrimination.
In trying to strip gays and lesbians of their rights, the Oklahoma State Senate inadvertently cited the wrong section of the U.S. code. The bill stripped protections under Title 18 U.S. Code Section 245, but protections for sexual orientation and gender identity is actually under Section 249. From the bill:
Section 24A.12. Except as otherwise provided by state or local law, the Attorney General of the State of Oklahoma and agency attorneys authorized by law, the office of the district attorney of any county of the state, and the office of the municipal attorney of any municipality may keep its litigation files and investigatory reports confidential, except they shall keep their litigation files and investigatory reports confidential upon request of any federal agency when such request is made for the purpose of an attempt to investigate or prosecute an individual or individuals pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 245, except for those records of any individuals convicted pursuant to Section 850 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes.
Section 245 of the Code refers to race and religious protections. Therefore, Oklahoma actually passed a statute allowing state law enforcement officials to keep information about crimes motivated by race or religion out of the hands of federal authorities.