Sunday, June 08, 2008

Oklahoma Governor Vetoes Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act

The Tulsa World reports that Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry on Friday vetoed HB 2633, the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act [full text Word doc]. The bill allowed students to express religious viewpoints in school without discrimination and provided that they could include religious content in classwork and homework assignments. It also permitted the formation of religious organizations in schools on a equal footing with other noncurricular student groups. The paper reports:
Henry said students are already allowed to express their faith through voluntary prayer and other activities. He said the legislation was well-intended, but vague and "may trigger a number of unintended consequences that actually impede rather than enhance such expression."

Schools could be forced to provide equal time to fringe groups that masquerade as religions and advocate behaviors such as hate speech.

"Additionally, this bill would presumably require school officials to determine what constitutes legitimate religious expression, subjecting them to an explosion of costly and protracted litigation that would have to be defended at the taxpayers' expense," Henry said.