Oklahoma Republicans have passed a bill restricting marriage licensing in the state. State Representative Todd Russ sponsored House Bill 1125, which places the task of marriage licensing solely on shoulders of religious leaders.
HB1125 bars county clerks from issuing marriage licenses. Rep. Russ claims that the bill will “protect” country clerks from having to hand out marriage licenses to gay couples.
According to the bill,
“…Marriages must be contracted by a formal ceremony performed or solemnized in the presence of at least two adult, competent persons as witnesses, by an ordained or authorized preacher or minister of the Gospel, priest or other ecclesiastical dignitary of any denomination who has been duly ordained or authorized by the church to which he or she belongs to preach the Gospel, or a rabbi and who is at least eighteen (18) years of age.“
So just to clear this up for all of you, only Christian preachers and some Rabbis will be allowed to perform marriages. Oh, and marriage certificates can only be handed out after the wedding ceremony.
But what about atheists, pagans, Muslims, agnostics, and others who do not attend church? Oklahoma says they can file an affidavit with the county clerk to become “common law” spouses.
Essentially, this is an effort by Oklahoma Republicans to remove the state from the marriage process, and thereby prevent gay marriage in the state. Said Rep. Dennis Johnson (R-OK):
“Marriage was not instituted by government. It was instituted by God. There is no reason for Oklahoma or any state to be involved in marriage.”
That concept, of course, is ridiculous since marriage is a legal contract between two people. Logic and legality aside, it seems that Oklahoma Republicans will try literally anything to stop the spread of marriage equality in the Sooner State.
Ironically, Oklahoma Democrats say that the bill will essentially legalize same-sex marriage in the state because it does not strictly define it as between one man and one woman.