Okla. Aims at Gay Protection, Strips Religion, Race Instead

Hate-crimes bill cites wrong statute
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2010 8:42 PM CDT
Republican Steve Russell authored the bill that passed the Oklahoma senate.   (SteveRussell.us)

(Newser) – New protection for homosexuals in federal hate-crimes laws so irked Oklahoma legislators that the state senate recently passed a measure aimed at allowing local authorities to choose not to share information with the feds on crimes the state doesn’t view as hate crimes—and “sexual orientation or gender identity” don’t fall under Oklahoma’s definition. Except, one Democrat says, the bill cites the wrong federal statute, and thus removes race- and religion-based protection.

“This is most likely a legislative error or at least a typo,” state Sen. Andrew Rice tells the Oklahoma Daily, adding that the move should nevertheless outrage all groups. The state House must still vote on the measure, and its author says the error will be corrected.

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