While over the past several months the US has had its share of bizarre stories over the latest liberal craze, namely providing transgender bathrooms at public schools or losing access to funds which promptly enraged conservativesacross the nation, the most recent development may also be the most surprising one yet: it appears that as the public debate over the treatment of transgender has hit a fever pitch, Oklahoma republicans have had enough and are now looking to impeach Barach Obama.
The Oklahoma State Capitol
As Reuters reports, Oklahoma’s Republican-dominated legislature has filed a measure calling for President Barack Obama’s impeachment over his administration’s recommendations on accommodating transgender students, saying he overstepped his constitutional authority. So all the other times Obama overstepped his “constitutional authority”, that one could ignore, but this time he really crossed the, er bathoom, line?
Lawmakers in the socially conservative state are also expected to take up a measure as early as Friday that would allow students to claim a religious right to have separate but equal bathrooms and changing facilities to segregate them from transgender students.
According to the impeachment resolution introduced on Thursday night, Oklahoma members of the U.S. House of Representatives will file articles of impeachment against Obama, the U.S. attorney general, the U.S. secretary of education and others over the letter.
The Obama administration told U.S. public schools last week that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice, upsetting Republicans and raising the likelihood of fights over federal funding and legal authority. That said, the impeachment call seems to be on shaky ground since the letter offered non-binding guidance and did not have the force of law, legal experts told local media.
State Representative John Bennett, a Republican, said in a statement the White House directive was “biblically wrong,” and a violation of state sovereignty.
Alongside the impeachment resolution, Oklahoma lawmakers introduced a bill that could force schools into costly construction, which would be difficult for them to complete after lawmakers significantly cut education funding to plug a $1.3 billion state budget shortfall. The Oklahoma bill would allow for segregation at school restrooms, athletic changing facilities and showers if a request is made to accommodate religious beliefs. It also allows the attorney general to file lawsuits to implement the changes.
Fans of Obama’s transgender crusade were displeased: Troy Stevenson, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, an LGBT advocacy group said the measure promoted fear-mongering and was out of place
“In a time when our state is facing an unprecedented economic crisis, our lawmakers should be focused on righting the ship rather than stigmatizing transgender youth,” he said in a statement.
That, or merely acting according to what they believe is right.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma seems intent on a collision course with the administration: the measure was introduced just hours after lawmakers in the budget-challenged state set itself up for a bruising legal fight after approving a bill that would make abortions a felony punishable by up to three years in prison for doctors who perform them.
Abortion rights groups have promised a court battle if Governor Mary Fallin, a anti-abortion Republican, approves the measure.
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And that, in a nutshell, is where US society finds itself at this moment.