April 12, 2012
In Oklahoma, if you assault and kill someone and it’s a first conviction of the state’s hate crimes law, it’s a misdemeanor and carries up to a year in jail, the exact same penalty as unlawful possession of marijuana.
Crazy, eh? I don’t know what’s more nonsensical, the fact that you can plan out and murder someone, even multiple people, because of your perception of the color of their skin, their religion, or their disability and it’s considered a lesser crime, a not-minor but yet not-quite-major crime. Or the fact that carrying around some weeds is considered just as criminal. But it gets even crazier! ‘Cuz if you hatefully mess with any religious inanimate object, like a holy chair or a picture on a wall, or maybe you spray paint the side of a church, you’re facing a felony.
I’m not a lawyer, but for piss sake. File this under: learning can be infuriating.
November 12, 2009
Thanks for the inspiration, lealou!
FAQ: LGBT in Tulsa
Are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) individuals, couples and families discriminated against in Oklahoma?
Yes. Most LGBT Tulsans and Oklahomans have experienced various forms of discrimination during their lives – from the implicit (schoolyard bullying, derogatory remarks by co-workers) to the explicit (loss of job, physical assault). Some LGBT persons are “in the closet.” They are afraid to be open and honest about their sexual orientation for fear of losing their jobs and/or becoming estranged from their family and friends.
Can LGBT persons in Tulsa be legally fired from their job?
Yes – and it does occur in Tulsa. Some cities and states protect LGBT persons from being fired solely on the basis of their sexual orientation. But Tulsa does not. Presently, the City of Tulsa requires all businesses and organizations that wish to be considered for contracts to perform work for the City practice non-discriminatory employment practices in regard to race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, age or disability (Section 110, Title 5 of the City of Tulsa’s Human Rights Ordinances). By amending this ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity, the City of Tulsa could help end discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation among its contractors. Federal legislation that would make employment discrimination against LGBT persons illegal, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, is under consideration by Congress.
Can LGBT persons in Tulsa legally be evicted from their apartments?
Yes. In Tulsa, it is illegal to to deny housing (leasing an apartment) to a person based on their race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, age or disability (Section 104, Title 5 of the City of Tulsa’s Human Rights Ordinance). However, it is legal to evict someone from their apartment or deny them a lease based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Can LGBT persons in Tulsa legally be asked to leave a restaurant or hotel?
Yes. In Tulsa, it is illegal to deny access to a restaurant, hotel, movie theatre, concert hall, sports arena, bowling alley, amusement park, bar, retail establishment, bank, barber shop or other place of public accommodation based on a person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, age or disability (Section 105, Title 5 of the City of Tulsa’s Human Rights Ordinance). However, it is legal to deny access to these public places to a person based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity (Note: churches and private clubs are exempt from this ordinance).
Can LGBT persons in Tulsa legally be refused a home mortgage loan solely because they are LGBT?
Yes. In Tulsa, it is illegal to deny a mortgage loan to a person based on a person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, or familial status (Section 104, Title 5 of the City of Tulsa’s Human Rights Ordinance). It is legal to deny a loan to a person based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
[From the website of Oklahomans for Equality in Tulsa]
October 20, 2009
By MATT BARNARD World Staff Writer
Published: 10/20/2009 2:25 AM
Last Modified: 10/20/2009 3:51 AM
Three people followed Patrick down the 1300 block of South Rockford Avenue about 11:45 p.m., yelling homophobic slurs and threats, he said.
Patrick, who is gay, said he ignored the group until they closed in and then asked why they were accosting him without provocation.
The assailants then started beating, biting and slashing at Patrick with a blade, he said, leaving him with several cuts on his head and body.
The 23-year-old has been peppered with insults before, but he said he never thought they would escalate to violence.
“I’ve never felt scared or feared for my safety before,” he said. “You brush it off and walk on. That’s what you’re taught to do.
“This time, it didn’t work.”
Tulsa Police Officer Leland Ashley said the people who are accused of attacking Patrick are at large and were seen in a maroon Ford Mustang from the late 1990s or early 2000s.
Patrick described them as a woman in her early 40s and another woman and man, both in their late teens or early 20s.
Patrick said he regularly walks through the neighborhood and doesn’t know his attackers. They might have seen him previously and decided to act Sunday, he said.
After his trip to the emergency room, Patrick saw an outpouring of support from across the country as his story was passed along via the social networking Web site Facebook.
Much of the support has been from Oklahomans for Equality, a Tulsa-based group that promotes fairness for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, the group’s president, Toby Jenkins, said.
Oklahoma’s hate-crimes law makes it a crime to “intimidate or harass another person because of the person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability.”
Jenkins noted that the state law excludes sexual orientation from the qualifiers for a hate crime. As a result, police are investigating the case only as an assault and battery.
Designation as a hate crime would allow for punishment beyond what would be imposed for the assault.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill earlier this month that would make assaulting someone because of his or her sexual orientation a federal crime.
The Senate is expected to approve the measure, and President Barack Obama is expected to sign it into law.
Patrick said it’s frustrating that race and ethnicity are taken into account by state lawmakers but sexual orientation is not.
He said he hopes his ordeal will draw attention to the issue and lead to a change in state law.
Although Oklahoma isn’t known for being particularly gay-friendly, gay men and lesbians are attacked at about the same rate as their urban counterparts in places such as New York and Chicago, Jenkins said.
“Hate crime, where people are targeted because of their sexual orientation, happens everywhere,” he said.
“The kid was just walking down the sidewalk and got targeted,” Jenkins said. “This raises the issue that we need to work on a more civilized society and a safe society for all of our citizens.”
Apparently, the lack of major coverage of this event caused some to doubt that it happened. Patrick’s boyfriend has posted pictures online to verify the extent of Patrick’s assault and to shock people into realizing that this very brutal attack happened because of Patrick’s sexual orientation. I live about four blocks from the scene of the attack.
More to follow,
P.S. Perhaps you have encountered people, as I have, who oppose Hate Crimes Legislation because they are afraid that it will suppress their beliefs (i.e. intolerance). Here is a helpful link from religioustolerance.org to share with such people.
The HRC and I encourage you to urge your Senator to vote for the Matthew Shepard Act (S. 909). As the HRC states, hate crimes against LGBT people are on the rise, one out of every six hate crimes is because of the victim’s sexual orientation, and hate crimes are intended to create an atmosphere of fear and terrorize entire communities. Oklahomans–Sen. James ‘Jim’ M. Inhofe (202) 224-4721 and Sen. Tom A. Coburn (202) 224-5754 before 5 p.m. ET.
According to information on wikipedia.org, “The Matthew Shepard Act (officially, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act or LLEHCPA), is a proposed bill in the United States Congress that would expand the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
The bill would also:
- remove the current prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally-protected activity, like voting or going to school;
- give federal authorities greater ability to engage in hate crimes investigations that local authorities choose not to pursue;
- provide $10 million in funding for 2008 and 2009 to help state and local agencies pay for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes;
- require the FBI to track statistics on hate crimes against transgender people (statistics for the other groups are already tracked).” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Shepard_Act)
The Act (HR 1913) passed in the House, and S. 909, introduced to the Senate in late April of this year, is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Coburn is a member of this committee.
Oklahoma’s Senators are notoriously unsupportive (a.k.a. uncaring and intolerant) when it comes to LGBT rights. Let’s show them that their constituents WANT CHANGE and SUPPORT LOVE! Both Inhofe and Coburn were rated 0% by the HRC on gay rights in 2006, and their positions haven’t changed. If you want to know more about the stances they take, visit OnTheIssues.org, Every Political Leader on Every Issue.
Love and peace,