Freedom Oklahoma’s nonpartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans, Independents, and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive non-discrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.
With the ultimate goal of securing municipal and statewide non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Oklahomans, Freedom Oklahoma works at the state and local level to advance measures and laws protecting from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression – without allowing overly broad and harmful religious exemptions that will encourage employers, business owners or others to choose to disregard those protections.
Opponents of non-discrimination laws are currently pursuing strategies to chip away at protections for the LGBTQ community and undermine the movement’s gains. We will push against these attempts to codify discrimination. However, it is not enough to merely take a defensive posture – we must take the fight on the offensive, with a multi-year initiative that seizes on our best opportunities to advance local and state-level victories. Throughout all of this work, we must also pursue a broad, ambitious initiative to educate Oklahomans about who LGBTQ individuals are and why non-discrimination protections are so critical.
A bright spot in the 2015 legislative session was House Bill 1345 which would have protected all Oklahomans from employment discrimination, no matter who they are or who they love. Unfortunately, this legislation was not even granted a committee hearing although its introduction was remarkable because similar legislation has never been introduced in the state. Many successful, large-scale corporations in Oklahoma already understand that diversity positively impacts their bottom-line. Devon Energy, ONEOK, Chesapeake Energy and Williams, along with 91% of Fortune 500 companies already ban discrimination based on sexual orientation
No federal law provides explicit legal protections for LGBT workers, and fewer than half of states have laws that protect workers based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. But most Americans are not aware of the lack of protections for LGBT workers. In fact, an overwhelming majority of Americans (87%) mistakenly believe that it is already illegal under federal law to fire someone simply for being gay.