Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has signed into law a bill, SB 615, that protects students’ privacy by requiring separate showers, locker rooms and restrooms for boys and girls in Oklahoma’s public schools.
The new law defines “sex” as “the physical condition of being male or female based on genetics and physiology, as identified on the individual’s original birth certificate.” It then goes on to require schools with multiple occupancy restrooms or changing areas to restrict those areas for either the exclusive use of the male sex or the exclusive use of the female sex.
The law responds to the current cultural climate in which schools and school districts in various parts of the country are cowering before the radical gender ideology of the left, which holds that men can be women and vice versa simply by asserting it to be so.
That’s not how biology works. Nor is this in agreement with Scripture. But when culture goes woke, responsible legislatures respond appropriately, as Oklahoma has done.
The law provides a “reasonable accommodation” for those students who don’t feel they can abide by the sex-specific law: schools should provide them with access to a single-occupancy restroom or changing room.
To enforce the law, the legislature created two different paths to ensure that recalcitrant schools and school districts comply. First, any non-compliant public school or district will suffer a 5% decrease in its funding for the next fiscal year. Second, parents can sue an offending school or district to force compliance.
One legal group that has done much to defend the privacy of children in schools and uphold parental rights is Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). Through its Senior Counsel, Matt Sharp, ADF applauded the new Oklahoma law in a press release.
“Schools have a duty to protect the privacy, safety, and dignity of all students,” Sharp said. “No child should be forced into private spaces with someone of the opposite sex. Across the country—including in Oklahoma—school districts have adopted policies that open shower facilities, locker rooms, and even overnight accommodations to members of the opposite sex.
“By preserving sex-specific showers, locker rooms, and restrooms while also providing reasonable accommodations to students who are unwilling or unable to use facilities designated for their sex, this law ensures that school policies respect the privacy rights of all children. We commend Gov. Stitt and the Oklahoma Legislature for protecting the privacy, safety, and dignity of all students.”
It remains to be seen whether the Oklahoma law will stand up to a court challenge. At least two federal circuit court of appeals, the 4th and the 11th, have stunningly ruled that keeping boys and girls out of each other’s restrooms and locker rooms violates the 14th Amendment as well as Title IX, the federal education law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex.
And in the 4th Circuit case, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the circuit court’s decision, leaving its ruling intact.
Oklahoma is situated in the 10th Circuit, which has yet to rule on that issue.
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