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Okla. Lawmaker Fights Bathroom Battle

OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) - In the continuing battle over bathrooms, an Oklahoma state senator filed a "bathroom bill" that would ban transgender people from using restrooms under the gender with which they identify.

State Sen. Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow, filed Senate Bill 1014 on Tuesday. It will be submitted when the Legislature reconvenes on Feb. 1. If enacted, it will take effect on Nov. 1.

It states: "It shall be unlawful for a person to use a gender-specific restroom when that person's biological gender is contrary to that of the gender-specific restroom. The State Board of Health shall promulgate rules to implement the provisions of this act."

The bill is silent as to what penalty violators would face.

Silk did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on Thursday evening.

ACLU of Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel blasted the proposal as "ridiculous and an ugly assault" on transgender people.

He said enforcement would be a nightmare.

"I think it is reprehensible this bill was even introduced," Kiesel told the Tulsa World newspaper Thursday. "I can only hope legislative leadership will kill it before it even sees the light of day.

"The idea that we would empower the government to somehow inspect and verify the genitalia of someone who was trying to do nothing more than use a bathroom is just outrageous."

Silk's bill comes two months after voters in Houston rejected an anti-discrimination ordinance to protect transgender people, after religious conservatives claimed it would allow male predators posing as transgender to enter women's bathrooms.

Known as the "bathroom ordinance," the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was targeted with the slogan, "No Men in Women's Bathrooms."

One week later , the Dallas City Council enacted its own anti-discrimination measures, approving amendments to the city code that explicitly include gender identity and gender expression as protected groups.

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