Proposed Tulsa Hate Crime Ordinance Would Cover Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Sep 8, 2020

Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Tulsa City Council will consider adopting a hate crime ordinance with protections for sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.

State law covers crimes motivated by race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability.

The ordinance was proposed by Councilor Crista Patrick. She said as isolating as the past several months have been for many Tulsans, it would be good for everyone to hear that they are safe.

"I think that it’s important that all of our residents hear from us, the city leaders, that we are standing against hate," Patrick said.

City Councilor Connie Dodson said she had a constituent come to her after being assaulted in front of his home because of his sexual orientation.

"So, I mean I do think that especially in this case where we’re adding those protections and we’ve seen issues that the state hasn’t addressed – leave us a great opportunity to at least protect our local citizens," Dodson said.

City Councilor Cass Fahler asked whether Patrick had consulted the Tulsa Police Department before proposing the ordinance. Patrick said she hadn't but the ordinance would not change enforcement for TPD, it would just add an additional charge when existing crimes are found to have been motivated by a covered characteristic.

The maximum penalty would be six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Tulsa has previously enacted an employment non-discrimination policy and housing protections that include sexual orientation and gender identity. The hate crime ordinance could be adopted next week.