Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed into law a measure that requires students in public schools to use bathrooms that correspond with their biological sex as opposed to their gender identity.
Stitt signed Senate Bill 615 Wednesday, which requires “each public school and public charter school that serves students in prekindergarten through twelfth grades in this state” to “require every multiple occupancy restroom or changing area designated” either “for the exclusive use of the male sex” or “for the exclusive use of the female sex.”
The bill defines “sex” as “the condition of being male or female based on genetics and physiology, as identified on the individual’s original birth certificate.”
The measure contains a provision requiring schools to “provide a reasonable accommodation to any individual who does not wish to comply” with the requirement that students use bathrooms and changing areas designated for their biological sex.
It cites “access to a single-occupancy restroom or changing room” as the reasonable accommodation schools can offer. In other words, trans-identified students who do not want to use bathrooms that match their biological sex can use single-occupancy restrooms.
A school district’s failure to comply with the law will result in a 5% decrease in state funding “for the fiscal year following the year of noncompliance.” The bill took effect immediately following its approval.
The bill was nearly unanimously opposed by Democrats, with one Democrat voting in favor in the Senate and no Democrats supporting it in the House.
Tanya Cox-Toure, the executive director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, condemned the legislation in a statement.
“Transgender people are part of our families, our workplaces, and our neighborhoods, and they, like everyone else, need to be able to safely access restrooms,” she said.
“By singling out transgender students for discrimination and excluding them from restrooms that match their gender identity, SB 615 discriminates based on transgender status and sex in violation of the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act,” Cox-Toure added. “These violations put Oklahoma at risk of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding, and harms transgender youth, all to solve a problem that plainly does not exist.”
The activist insisted that transgender individuals “go to the restroom just like everyone else, and their presence harms no one.”