Health Commissioner Resigns After Stitt’s Criticism Of Non-Binary Birth Certificate Settlement

Oklahoma’s leading community health and fitness officer resigned Friday, a day after Gov. Kevin Stitt criticized “rogue activists” at the state Office of Health for settling a federal lawsuit to enable a non-binary gender designation on condition-issued delivery certificates.

Dr. Lance Frye mentioned it was an honor to guide the agency throughout its reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. In his resignation letter, he said it was time for him to shift on as the condition moves into an endemic period of the COVID-19 reaction and away from a pandemic response. 

“I admire the devotion, resilience and tenacity of the OSDH staff,” Frye explained in a statement Friday afternoon. “They have labored tirelessly over the past two many years to assure Oklahomans experienced access to not only COVID-19 screening, vaccinations and significant information and facts, but to other lifestyle-preserving solutions.”  

Stitt named Keith Reed as the interim well being commissioner. Reed was a deputy commissioner beneath Frye and has labored at the company for 19 several years. Stitt lauded him before this yr for Oklahoma’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout, which had early successes but stalled in modern months as other states caught up. 

“In my tenure with OSDH, I have normally admired the resilience of our team and their dedication to remaining concentrated on serving Oklahomans,” Reed mentioned in a assertion. “I glance ahead to proceed doing the job side-by-aspect with them as we keep on to shift ahead.” 

A settlement in a federal lawsuit to get the point out to recognize a non-binary gender designation on birth certificates on Thursday drew an strange rebuke from Stitt to the wellness division, whose critical records division concerns beginning and death certificates. The circumstance included an Oregon resident, Kit Vivien Loreleid, who was born in Oklahoma and sought the designation on their beginning certification. 

Stitt mentioned he did not believe that in a non-binary gender designation and that “people are produced by God to be male or woman. Period.” 

“I wholeheartedly condemn the purported OSDH court settlement that was entered into by rogue activists who acted devoid of acquiring suitable approval or oversight,” Stitt said in Thursday’s assertion.  

GOP leaders in the Dwelling and Senate said this kind of a transform in policy for beginning certificates must be up to the Legislature. The wellness department explained Thursday it entered into the settlement on the assistance of former Attorney Normal Mike Hunter, who remaining place of work in May perhaps. The lawyer general’s business office represents most state organizations in lawsuits. 

Stitt’s workplace declined to remark Friday on no matter whether Frye’s resignation was voluntary or he was requested to resign by the governor. Nevertheless, Stitt praised Frye in a information release issued Friday afternoon, declaring Frye furnished continuous leadership for the duration of the COVID-19 response. 

“With circumstances and hospitalizations down 60{dea5cd636a66006a995d2ee66a169fa3263944642df71bca08b0883f5943a7f3} in recent weeks, Dr. Frye has positioned the Oklahoma Point out Department of Health well to carry on running COVID efficiently, and I am grateful for his support to our condition during an unparalleled time,” Stitt stated. 

Frye, in his resignation letter, touted the development the wellness department built below his tenure, which include a “modernization, transformation and reorganization” of the company. 

“With Oklahoma’s existing COVID-19 traits continuing to decrease, our state is now set on a route to restoration,” Frye wrote. “At this time, OSDH is transitioning from a pandemic response to endemic surveillance, and the agency’s transformation is perfectly on its way. As Oklahoma and OSDH move into this following period, I think it is time for me to go forward as properly.” 

Stitt appointed Frye as interim wellbeing commissioner in May perhaps 2020, and the condition Senate verified him in April. Frye is an obstetrician/gynecologist who beforehand labored at Oklahoma State University Centre for Health Sciences in Tulsa. He also is a lieutenant colonel in the Oklahoma Air Nationwide Guard and is the Point out Air Surgeon. 

Paul Monies has been a reporter with Oklahoma Enjoy considering that 2017. He handles condition organizations and general public health. Call or text him at (571) 319-3289 or e mail [email protected]. Adhere to him on Twitter at @pmonies. 

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