Following the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage, outrageous anti-LGBTQ legislation in state governments are becoming the new norm in American politics. However, Oklahoma’s latest bills aimed at discriminating gays and lesbians has taken the preverbal cake in cruelty and inhumanity.
HB 3044 is quite possibly one of the more depraved bills cycling through the Oklahoma State legislators which prevents depressed and suicidal LGBTQ youth from seeing a “gay-affirmative therapist.”
According to Slate, gay kids raised in anti-gay households face a higher rate of clinical depression, anxiety, and suicide.
Homophobic parents already have the untrammeled ability to inundate their children with anti-gay ideology and limit their interaction with gay-friendly people. For these kids, public school counselors provide a critical lifeline, connecting queer youth with LGBTQ groups and gay-affirming therapists—often without the knowledge of their parents, who would surely forbid their child from seeing an enlightened counselor.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sally Kern, states that no public school “counselor, therapist, social worker, administrator, teacher or other individual” can “refer a student under the age of eighteen” to any “individual, organization or entity” if the referral “pertain[s] to human sexuality,” according to Slate.
For many of these kids, connecting with LGTBQ groups and specialized therapists is not only paramount to their emotional well being, but it provides a critical lifeline when faced with insurmountable feelings that could lead to suicide.
Another nefarious bill is HB 1598, which is also sponsored by Kern, protects ex-gay conversion therapy and mental health counselors engaged in “sexual orientation change efforts” with any patient, including those under 18 who are forced into the therapy by their parents.
The bill also legalizes the use of “aversion therapy,” which claims to change patients’ sexual orientation.
“Aversion therapy” means any counseling by a mental health provider that exposes or asks a client or patient to undergo physical pain, such as electroshock or electroconvulsive therapy, touch therapy, pornography exposure or vomit-induction therapy, in order to change sexual behaviors or gender-identity expressions and/or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.
The bill passed out of committee last year but failed to reach the floor for a vote. Kern hopes to get this piece of legalization pushed through the state House and believes it will have enough votes this year.
Lastly, SB 733 forbids HIV-positive people or anyone found to have “communicable or infectious diseases” will be denied a marriage license.
While the bill harks back to the days when blood tests were required before obtaining a certificate, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that marriage is a constitutionally protected fundamental right and states need a good reason to restrict access.
According to Slate, the proposed scheme would conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects against HIV discrimination. Also, one federal court has already invalidated premarital HIV tests on that basis.
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