Republican Oklahoma Lawmakers Censure ‘Non-Binary’ Rep Who Housed Fugitive In State Office

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Republican lawmakers in Oklahoma censured a “non-binary” state representative Tuesday who actively prevented authorities from questioning a transgender rights activist by shielding the individual in the rep’s office, state troopers say. 

Democratic Rep. Mauree Turner, who uses “they/them” pronouns, is set to be removed from all committee assignments unless a formal apology is issued to the people of Oklahoma and law enforcement after Turner shielded a trans activist from officers during a protest at the state Capitol, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Transgender activists stormed the state Capitol during Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s State of the State address in February, with the protests continuing after the GOP-led legislature passed a bill that would prohibit gender-affirming care for minors. One protest earlier in March grew especially tense when a protester allegedly poured water on a state representative and altercated with law enforcement. The suspect then took refuge in Turner’s office, where law enforcement were denied entry, AP reported. (RELATED: Children’s Hospital Ends ‘Gender Medicine Services’ After State Threatens Funding)

“When we go up to the representative’s office, we were not allowed in, even from opening the door,” Highway Patrol Trooper Eric Foster told the outlet.

Officers were eventually able to question the suspect, who was then arrested on a complaint of assault and battery on a police officer, AP reported.

Speaker of the House Charles McCall condemned Turner’s actions, saying, “I will not allow members of the House of Representatives to use their assigned offices and official positions to impede law enforcement from carrying out investigations or making arrests in the state Capitol,” according to the outlet.

Turner has so far refused to apologize. The representative argued the office is a safe space for “all the folks in all communities that seek refuge from the hate,” adding, “Trans people don’t feel safe here,” AP reported.

House Democratic Leader Rep. Cyndi Munson shared those sentiments, calling the House’s censure vote “absolutely embarrassing.”

“It’s clear what they’re trying to do is silence a member who does not think like them, act like them, dress like them, who challenges their positions, especially when they are running legislation to harm people in our community,” Munson told AP.