Oklahoma City– In response to the passage of SQ 776 and failure of SQ 777 and 790, the ACLU of Oklahoma issued the following statements:
The following are attributable to Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director:
State Question 776: Today, a majority of Oklahoma voters chose to enshrine the Death Penalty in our state Constitution. This decision comes on the heels of our state’s numerous and increasingly brutal failures to apply the death penalty. This State Question is nothing more than an attempt by our government to shirk responsibility for their repeated incompetent attempts to rehabilitate an inherently broken system of state sponsored killings.
This loss should not be considered a referendum on the death penalty. Opposition to capital punishment in Oklahoma is higher than ever. Despite today’s results, we must continue to push our elected officials to answer the pressing questions about our flawed execution system, most importantly whether or not in a modern society we should be engaging in this brutal and inhumane practice at all.
State Question 777: Today the people of Oklahoma rejected the notion that a singular industry should receive the same Constitutional protections as our fundamental rights. Elevating protection of agriculture business to the highest level of judicial scrutiny and rendering the industry nearly impossible to regulate would have far reaching and serious consequences. Thankfully, after today’s vote, the people of Oklahoma sent a clear signal that corporate profit margins should not enjoy the same protection as our right to speech, to freely practice our beliefs without government intrusion, or to be equally protected under the law regardless of race or gender.
State Question 790: Today, despite a well-funded and deceptive campaign by the proponents of this state question, Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly rejected the dangerous and misguided attempt by politicians to strip away one of our most fundamental protections in exchange for cheap political points. Politicians should take note that attempts to manipulate the law to protect only the rights of a chosen few cannot be tolerated. Legislators and state officials will surely continue their fear mongering attempts to promote intolerance, but thanks to today’s vote, those who value true religious liberty will retain one more tool in the ongoing fight for liberty and justice for all.