March 15, 2023
Last week, Oklahoma Representative Mauree Turner was the target of a censure motion by Republican leaders — a blatant attempt to silence the first openly non-binary U.S. state legislator. The motion passed on a party line vote. In response, 10 major, national LGBTQ+ and social justice organizations are coming together to vehemently condemn this disturbing action.
While lawmakers in the state continue to introduce a slew of bills targeting transgender Oklahomans, Rep. Turner has been an outspoken leader for LGBTQ+ rights.
The motion to censure Rep. Turner is based on their opposition to a discriminatory bill. Rep. Turner is being silenced for being connected to the LGBTQ+ community, and as a result, the community is being retaliated against for rising up against discriminatory bills.
This is particularly alarming as other Oklahoma State elected officials currently facing significant felony charges have not been met with such immediate, or punitive, action. The motion sets a dangerous precedent that could be used against queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, and other elected officials of color.
Representative Turner is being targeted because they are a Black, non-binary, Muslim legislator. They have faced persecution on the basis of their race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion. In addition, Rep. Turner has received death threats, for which they have received no protection. This motion will only embolden others to issue further threats — and potential harm — to Rep. Turner.
Together, we remain firmly with Rep. Mauree Turner and applaud their unyielding support of LGBTQ+ and other marginalized communities in Oklahoma.
Organizations condemning motion to censure Rep. Turner:
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Human Rights Campaign
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National LGBTQ Task Force
Transgender Law Center
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund