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EXCLUSIVE: Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt says the measure he signed into law on Wednesday that requires students in schools across the state to use restrooms that align with their biological sex at birth is “common sense” and that it is “kind of crazy” that the law had to be passed in the first place.
The legislation, Senate Bill 615, now applies to students in pre-K to 12th grade at public and public charter schools in the state. In addition to bathrooms, the new law also requires students to use locker rooms that align with their biological sex at birth.
The bill, which successfully passed through the Oklahoma state legislature last week, calls for schools to “provide a reasonable accommodation to any individual who does not wish to comply” with the new law. That accommodation, according to the measure, is “access to a single-occupancy restroom or changing room.”
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks during a roundtable at the State Dining Room of the White House June 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
“It’s common sense,” Stitt told Fox News Digital as he described the law during an interview on Thursday. “It’s kind of crazy that we have to pass laws like this nowadays, but it just simply says we’re gonna protect girls. Girls are going to go to girls bathrooms, boys are going to go to boys bathrooms, and that’s gonna be law for children K through 12 in Oklahoma. We’ll have a third, single-use, single-person bathroom for anyone who maybe doesn’t, you know, wanna use any one of those bathrooms — which is fine.”
“We’ve heard from parents, we’ve heard from families, we’ve heard from little girls, they’re not going to be comfortable sharing a bathroom with boys throughout school,” he added.
Asked about what safety this provides for those who have raised concern about sharing bathrooms with transgender students, Stitt reiterated that it is “common sense” and insisted that during his tenure as governor he will not allow boys to expose themselves to little girls in school bathrooms or locker rooms.
“We’re not attacking anybody,” Stitt said. “We’re just simply protecting our young ladies and our young people.”
A primary school child goes to the bathroom to wash his hands on her first day of school on September 15, 2020. (Diego Puletto/Getty Images)
“We think that, with kids of my own, I’ve got three daughters and I’ve got three sons, there’s a difference between boys and girls,” he said. “We’re going to protect the innocence of our young people. That’s something that’s the parents decision, but I’m not going to let a boy expose himself to a little girl in the bathroom or share a bathroom with the opposite sex.”
Discussing potential backlash he may receive over the new law, Stitt said those who are opposed to the law can “argue with me and we can have a disagreement.”
“I represent four million Oklahomans, it’s overwhelmingly passed the House and the Senate that are elected by folks all over the state,” he added. “I’m elected overwhelmingly by Oklahomans to put my values in bill signing and different boards and commissions and the conservative view that I have. I’m the same person that ran and was elected…”
“Are there some fringe, out-of-touch, socialist Democrats that want something different? Maybe so. But I don’t think that represents the Oklahoma that I grew up in and I’m a fourth generation Oklahoman,” he added.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signs a bill in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, that prevents transgender girls and women from competing on female sports teams. (AP Photo/Sean Murphy)
Stitt said he has spoken with several residents throughout the state who have voiced their support for the measure and thanked him for “standing up for what’s right” and for “not being pushed around by just a very small, vocal minority.”
The law states that non-compliant school districts could lose 5% of their state funding and also provides parents and legal guardians with an opportunity to file civil lawsuits against school districts who are in violation. Those lawsuits will be investigated by the Oklahoma State School Board.