Oklahoma Lawmaker Files Bill to Ban Marriage

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You gotta admit. I do have an interesting job. 

One of my colleagues in the Oklahoma House of Representatives has filed a bill that would make marriage illegal in Oklahoma. He says this is a way to keep gay marriage out of the state and satisfy the Constitution. 

I’m not going to comment about this right now. I may have to vote on it. And I definitely will be hearing about it in more detail in the next few days. 

In the meantime, I’m going to toss it out there for Public Catholic readers to chew on. Remember: No name-calling or verbal fisticuffs. 


From Oklahoma’s Own News 9:


State lawmakers are considering throwing out marriage in Oklahoma.

The idea stems from a bill filed by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Edmond). Turner says it’s an attempt to keep same-sex marriage illegal in Oklahoma while satisfying the U.S. Constitution. Critics are calling it a political stunt while supporters say it’s what Oklahomans want.

“[My constituents are] willing to have that discussion about whether marriage needs to be regulated by the state at all,” Turner said.

Other conservative lawmakers feel the same way, according to Turner.

“Would it be realistic for the State of Oklahoma to say, ‘We’re not going to do marriage period,’” asked News 9′s Michael Konopasek.

“That would definitely be a realistic opportunity, and it’s something that would be part of the discussion,” Turner answered.

Such a discussion will be made possible by a current shell bill — something that can be changed at almost any time to react to upcoming rulings on Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage ban.

“I think that, especially with issues like this, [these lawmakers are] out of touch with most Oklahomans,” said Ryan Kiesel, ACLU Oklahoma executive detector.

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  • vox borealis

    Your headline is misleading. He is not, as I read it, saying that marriage will be outlawed or illegal He is simply proposing that the state will simply get out of the marriage business itself, i.e. no civilly-performedmarriages, no civil recognition of marriage. Frankly, I think this is a wonderful idea, given that the State (big-S on purpose) has proven that it cannot be trusted with such institutions. Let private entities deal with marriage. A couple wants to get married in teh Catholic church, that’s between them and teh Church. If two guys want to marry each other with their jade plant acting as the minister go right ahead. If two sisters want to call themselves married, or if three men and seven women all get group married by an online preacher, ok. But the state of OK will not recognize any one of them as marriage, and will instead treat all citizens as individuals.

    Quite a refreshing approach, really.

  • Darren

    Sounds like a great idea. I am sure right-minded Oklahomans will not mind the higher taxes, lack of spousal health insurance coverage, hospital visitation rights, and inheritance privileges just so long as the homo’s don’t get them too…

    • vox borealis

      Bzzzz. Wrong. Just because the state does not recognize marriage, does not mean that private entirties would not recognize such unions. Heck that’s what happened in teh before time where I worked, where carious “partnerships” were given benefits even though the local civil authorities did not recognize them.

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      In return for no state suppression of religion? And given Obamacare to help you pay for health coverage?

      Hospital visitation rights shouldn’t be the state, should be the hospital- and the patient- power of attorney and a living will takes care of that one, no need for a marriage at all. Inheritance, likewise, can be taken care of with wills and trusts.

      People who need marriage for any of that are just trying to either cheat the system or be lazy.

    • kenofken

      I hope they do it, just so heterosexual couples get a taste of what gays have had to live under. Let them spend thousands of dollars trying to cobble together a patchwork of legal protections that’s more hole than net. Let them see what it’s like to be kept out of their husband or wife’s hospital room by vindictive in-laws. Let them give up the tax breaks. That law wouldn’t last a full month on the books, and neither would Turner’s political career.

      Measures like this also give the lie to the idea that the anti-SSM movement has anything to do with “saving marriage.” All these years, they’ve sworn up and down that this wasn’t a movement against gays and lesbians. It was for marriage. They don’t care about marriage. They care about getting their way, and the minute that’s slipping out of their grasp, they’re willing to burn the whole thing down for no other reason than to make sure same sex couples gain no benefits. Very revealing. It will also help the federal courts understand the true intent behind Oklahoma’s law.

      • FW Ken

        On the other hand, perhaps go the other way and give these benefits to any two or more persons who wish to “get married”. I’ve told before of my two women friends who call themselves “heterosexual life partners”. Why shouldn’t they have the benefits of marriage?

        • kenofken

          That’s really just a slight variation on Turner’s “burn the whole thing down” philosophy. “If we can’t hold a monopoly on defining marriage, we’ll define it away entirely.” Anything at all to keep gays from gaining….

          So I’m wondering about these two straight “life partners.” Do they really share the sort of intimacy and intent to make a life together that is even roughly qualitatively similar to marriage?

          Do they really intend to buy a home together and attempt to spend the rest of their days together? Do they take each other home to their families during the holidays? Do they arrange work vacations to be together? Would either one forgo the job opportunity of a lifetime out of concern for the other’s feelings? Would either one continue to work for years at a job they hate to make sure the other has medical benefits? Would either one take on the task of 24/7 caretaking for the other’s Alzheimer’s afflicted parent or stick around if the other’s bipolar alcoholic daughter moved in and wrecked their car?

          Is there any sort of exclusivity in their relationship? We know they’re straight, but just on an emotional level, would either one feel like they had to forgo certain other relationships lest it feel like “cheating”? True, not all gay or straight married couples are exclusive, but even “open” marriages are negotiated boundaries and utterly unlike the relationships of even close platonic friends.

          If your two women friends can truthfully lay claim to even a few of these things, which I very much doubt, then yes, I would say they should have the benefits of marriage

          • FW Ken

            The answer is yes to a lot of your questions. In fact, my friends get more “yeses” than any of the gay couples I’ve known. Or more than a few straight couples.

            But really, you are promoting a picture derived more from TV than real life. The state’s interest in any relationship isn’t a matter of sex or “intimacy”.

            Of course, that British gays opposed the inclusion of non-gay couples in the civil union legislation tells me (as does your response, Ken) that the real issue is normalizing homosexual relationships, not anything relating to real marriage.

          • FW Ken

            And by the way, it wasn’t a matter of tearing anything down. I simply suggest that if gay couples demand marriage, without demonstrating the benefits they provide to the community, then anyone should have the same option.

            • http://kingscriercommissions.blogspot.com/ thekingscrier

              Ken, can you explain to me what benefits to the community straight couples provide?

              Once you’ve done that, replace one of the members of the couple with someone of the same gender, and then you’ve answered your concern.

              • FW Ken

                Oddly enough, I’ve tried on numerous occasions to get ssm advocates to discuss why the state has an interest in any marriage. They can’t seem to get past gimme/gimme/gimme.

                So I’m waiting for some evidence that same-sex couples really are the same as hetero couples.

        • Heather

          Actually, Alberta, Canada, largely considered the heart of conservatism in the country, has some of the most generous domestic partnership laws I know of, in that two people do not actually have to be in a “conjugal” relationship in order to register their partnership for various legal purposes, merely a stable long term relationship that is economically interdependent. My roommate and I also qualify as a “non-conjugal life partnership” like your friends, and would indeed answer yes to most of kenofken’s questions, and we wish our province had laws so tolerant of our “alternative lifestyle.” But in most places, since we don’t actually sleep together we don’t count.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    He is absolutely correct, and it is the logical conclusion given the arguments of gay marriage supporters that no matter how you write a marriage law, it will be unconstitutional.

    Especially discriminating on such things as gender, age, consent, and number of participants. NONE of these pass a strict “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion” test.

    I hate to agree with Bill S., but as he wrote on my blog a few days ago, secularism means that religion has no voice in government. And these days, gender, age, consent, and number of participants are *all* religiously biased criteria.

    • FW Ken

      The problem is that secularism in practice embodies a set of theological, anthropological, and sociological ideas that in effect create a religion. Besides, the applications are dishonest. How often are we told that my belief in the humanity of the unborn child is me trying to impose my “religion”, when science it’s the basis of that statement. My faith teaches me that it is wrong to kill a human person. On all of the contested issues, secularists tell Christians to pay our taxes and shut up, then they go impose their morals on the rest of us.

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        Yes. But the point is, their secularism has obvious implications that they themselves fail to agree with. It can be used as a club against them.

  • Sus_1

    Will everyone that is married become unmarried with this bill?

    Things like this are a waste of everyone’s time. I’m sure Oklahoma has many other issues that are more important.

  • Mary E.

    At first, this bill sounded like a crazy idea to me, even kooky. But then, I thought about how decisions by federal courts have eroded the ability of a state to regulate marriage, even overturning referendums by that state’s voters, and the legal challenges will continue. States still have power to regulate some aspects of marriage, though it feels like these are mainly connected with the negative aspects of marriage–separations, divorces, custody of minor children and disposition of marital property. I’m not familiar enough with the situation of all 50 states, but that’s how the trend looks to me.

    So, perhaps we are nearing a point where we must confront serious doubts, and a serious question: what does the power of states to regulate marriage mean, in whether, over time, the primarily responsibility for regulating marriage is shifting to the federal government, by force of accumulating decisions in federal courts. If states are losing the ability to regulate marriage, if state agencies and governments will eventually become (effectively) rubber-stamping agents for federal-level decisions, then perhaps states should consider divesting themselves of the responsibility for marriage. I don’t know if this bill is the right approach; there are many, many problems to solve for

  • FW Ken

    Well, that long list of perks the gays are drooling for are not generally controlled by the state, are they? And why deprive the community of the benefits of marriage by those persons actually likely to provide those social benefits. In other words, benefits accrue to the community from legitimate marriage, and it doesn’t make sense to me to let the gays destroy another legitimate social function.

    But the real question: is that state representative shaving yet?

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    It seems like one is throwing the baby out with the bath water. But it’s worth thinking about. Sacramental marriages will still occur.

    • Bill S

      Almost as ridiculous as the kid in Utah who went on the hunger strike and was saved from having to break it (or die) when the Supreme Court granted a stay.

      This is all so inevidible. Fighting it is just posturing to get votes (or, for people like Rebecca, serving God).

  • JohnE_o

    I don’t see why anybody in Oklahoma would object to this – make sure that the GOP takes full and public credit for this idea. No matter the inconveniences that might occur in their personal lives, I’m sure that the citizens of OK will appreciate this important principled stand by their legislators.

    • Bill S

      You want to credit the Republicans for coming up with this idea? This kid would be laughed right out of my state. What kind of backward state would elect such a (fill in here)?

      • Sus_1

        Bill, I don’t think you should throw stones in regards to the kind of people who get elected. Massachusetts has their own buffoons to defend.

        • Bill S


          Kennedy? Kerry? Warren? Barney Frank?

          Do you mean liberal Democrats?

          • Sus_1

            Sal DiMasi was found guilty of some kind of financial skulduggery and is in prison currently. Chuck Turner was in trouble over bribery charges. Tim Cahill did something with lottery money. Tom Finneran and the redistricting scandal. The lady that was caught on camera stuffing money in her underwear.

            • Bill S

              That’s just corruption. That can happen anywhere including the Church. I thought you were putting down our liberal politics. I’m not going to defend crooks. That’s a whole other issue.

              • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                Why? The crooks have their morality, individual to them, isn’t that the natural end result of moral relativism?

              • FW Ken

                In other words, anyone who doesn’t agree with you is backward and should not be elected.

                • Bill S

                  People opposed to gay marriage for religious reasons will someday be looked back upon as having been backward. Many see them that way now. Many more will as time goes on.

                  • FW Ken

                    My reasons for opposing ssm are not religious, but anthropological and sociological. They are also open to change, should anyone ever demonstrate, with respectable statistics, that same-sex couples really are just like hetero couples. My experience says otherwise. Prove me wrong.

                    • Bill S


                      Wouldn’t you agree that only one issue is of relevance in this matter? Marriage equality, regardless of sexual orientation, is essential to some people’s pursuit of happiness. You can come up with all kinds of arguments for why it is better for children to have a mother and father than two mothers or two fathers. But, even if you were right, a same sex couple could still rightfully claim that they have an equal right to dedicate themselves to one another in a ceremony recognized by the state. You might think they don’t but the Constitution and the 14th Amendment could be interpreted as protecting this right. If such an interpretation is made by the courts, then any other argument against it would be completely irrelevant. No?

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      “Wouldn’t you agree that only one issue is of relevance in this matter? ”

                      No, I don’t agree. There is a heck of a lot more at stake than individual happiness, and at any rate, the government is only required to provide *PURSUIT* of happiness, there is no explicit right to happiness in the Constitution anywhere.

                      Gay marriage harms future generations of children, and it also harms one’s neighbors by taking away resources that should be dedicated to providing for the next generation. For that matter, so does double income no kids heterosexuality. And divorce. And premarital sex.

                    • FW Ken

                      No, I would not agree. As to the courts, would that be the same court’s that gave us Dred Scott and Buck vs. Bell? Three generations of imbeciles is enough, so speaks the Chief Justice.

                      At any rate, my point obtains: it’s not religion at root here.

                    • Bill S

                      The authority of the judicial system here and now is not any less real because of past poor decisions. When people disagree about issues like gay marriage, it is up to the courts to make the final decision. Catholics don’t bring up the past to show that the Church is fallible but they do when it comes to the courts.

                    • FW Ken

                      Bill, you are evading my point, which is that non-religious reasons exist for not accepting gay marriage. Heck, there are gay people who don’t accept gay marriage, though for different reasons.

                      As to the courts, free people make arguments from reason. Tyrants argue about court decisions, which may, as you note, be bad. They may also be overturned.

                    • pesq87

                      FWK, I’m pretty sure that’s not how the law works. In general, the burden is on the government to explain why they get to discriminate against a particular citizen, and not the other way around.

                    • FW Ken

                      We aren’t the law. So I will assume that once again, you fail to demonstrate any interest which the state might have in any marriage, hence your comment doesn’t relate. Nor can you demonstrate why “gay” is a real identity that should again special protection. There is no science that supports you.

                      I would say that your reliance on the law is a demonstration puff your inability to reason. No surprise there.

                    • pesq87

                      How does society benefit from marriage?

                      1. On average, married persons are healthier, happier and enjoy longer lives than those who are single. (Married people are less drain on society and social
                      programs and able to contribute more to society.)

                      2. Married persons build more wealth on average than singles or cohabiting couples. (We now have the money for my wife to open a bakery, and hire you as a cashier and your daughter as a gofer).

                      3. Married men earn more money than do single men with similar education and job histories. (See 2 above).

                      4. Married women are economically better off than divorced, cohabiting or single. (My wife is now able to patronize your dress shop, allowing you extra income to put in the collection basket.)

                      5. Married women are at lower risk for domestic violence than women in cohabiting or dating relationships. (We can hire fewer cops and save millions not prosecuting
                      for domestic violence.)

                      6. Married women are significantly less likely to be the victims of violent crime than single or divorced women. Married men are less likely to perpetrate violent crimes than unmarried men. (Reduced crime is better for society.)

                      7. Marriage requires thinking beyond one’s own needs. It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal
                      investment in the well-being of society. (See 2 and 4 above.)

                      8. Marriage creates a social partnership, to live and share life’s joys and burdens with another, and to form a lasting bond and a social identity. (My local, city-funded crisis center is freed up because of marriage.)

                      9. Marriage curtails sexual promiscuity, which is -
                      in its extreme – bad for individuals and corrosive to society. (Nuff said.)

                      10. Marriage has health benefits. Married men and women who are satisfied with their relationships enjoy better physical and mental health compared to unmarried
                      people. They live longer and are less likely to suffer from long-term illness and disability. (Less strain on public health care.)

                      11. Unmarried couples lose money over a lifetime because they can’t marry and therefore can’t get employers’ spousal health insurance, among other disadvantages. As a result, unmarried couples are
                      much more likely to be uninsured than married persons. When the uninsured avoid preventive care or get care they can’t pay for, they wind up costing us all. (See 10 above. See also 9, 8, 2 and 4 above.)

                      12. Marriage also helps couples make economic decisions that create both private and social
                      benefits, such as retirement investing and looking after each other’s health. (I’ll pay for my wife’s old age so you don’t have to).

                      13. Research by the Congressional Budget Office under
                      the direction of Douglas Holtz-Eakin indicates that state and federal budgets get a positive boost when couples marry. Any additional state and federal spending on benefits is outweighed by savings from lower cash
                      assistance and Medicaid spending. Moreover, the marriage penalty in the federal income tax system, results in a net increase in tax revenue. (Increased tax dollars are good – yay. We can now pay Navy Seals to find and kill Bin Laden!)

                      14. Private enterprise benefits from marriage celebrations. Its a multi-billion dollar industry from spending on flowers, cakes, bands, meals, photographers, hotels, tourism in general, suits and gowns. PLUS, all those purchases generate millions in sales tax revenue for state and local governments. (See 2 and 4 above. Your daughter did such a good job, that the new married couple is hiring her to run their office!)

                      15. Hundreds of employers including Google, Apple, Verizon, Walt Disney, Viacom, Nike, Morgan Stanley, and Microsoft, signed onto two friend-of-the-court briefs related to the Supreme Court arguments over challenges to DOMA and Prop 8. Those entities generate millions of dollars into the economy and thousands of jobs. They
                      argue that they want to recruit and retain the most creative and productive workers to make their businesses competitive, and that includes people who want
                      to marry. They want their employees to be able to focus on their jobs, not on dealing with the problems that exist for people who are unable to form marriages. (Private employers think marriage is good? Good enough
                      that they will spend time and money fight for it? Hmmm. Ah, what do big job creators know about anything?)

                      16. My favorite – its good for the people and the people WANT it. Like access to clean drinking water. Why else does our government exist, other than to help us get the things we want and which are good for us?

                      And no, you get no citations. It seems you’re still choking on the last ones I gave you.

                    • FW Ken

                      Wow. I was about thank you for an excellent response. I was going to say that I wanted to spend some time thinking over how they might – or might not – fit into non-marital relationships and wouldn’t get back for a couple of days.

                      Apparently, you are unable to tell the difference between a list like this and a series of court citations, at least of which did not prove what you were seeking to prove.

                      It seems you are still choking on being shown a liar. Add that to being called a jerk.

                      But I am cutting and pasting your list to save. It’s worth mulling over. Unfortunately, you aren’t worth talking to.

                    • pesq87

                      I’ve never lied on Rebecca’s board. If you’re STILL claiming that Americans have no fundamental right to marriage, I STILL have nothing more to say on that topic, other than that the USSC has disagreed with you 14 times.

                      You demand facts and citations and arguments and lists and in reply, I spend my valuable time and do research and put thought into it and convey my conclusions and your reply is that I’m not worth talking to?

                      Got it.

                      However, Ken, I still believe its worth educating you, so feel free to use my research and rely on my legal opinion.

                      No charge.

                    • hamiltonr

                      This is getting personal and angry. Cool it guys.

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        It’s the logical end of the arguments you yourself have made- what business does the state have in the bedroom? This kid is agreeing with you- that the state has no business in the bedroom.

        • Bill S

          What goes on in the bedroom is not as significant as your obsession with it would have you believe. Civil recognition of marriage is important for reasons that have nothing to do with sex.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Yes it is important, but it has everything to do with sex and child rearing. If we’re not going to protect marriage for the children, then we should not protect it for anybody. There is NO social value to civil recognition of a relationship between adults.

            —Edit just in case Bill’s question goes away, because I do feel it is a good, if superficial, point.

            “I don’t know, Ted. It seems important to those who want to have their marriage recognized. Why not just let them make the call?”

            Because civil recognition costs. And where there is a public cost, there should be something the public common good gets in return for that cost.

            There is no common good in non-procreative sexual unions. So why should we be required to endorse it at the point of a gun?

            • Bill S

              I don’t know, Ted. It seems important to those who want to have their marriage recognized. Why not just let them make the call?

              • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                Because civil recognition costs. And where there is a public cost, there should be something the public common good gets in return for that cost.

                It’s the same debate as Strategic Investment Partnerships in Oregon, which provide employment in one county, while costing education funds statewide.

                If you claim the cost isn’t adequate justification, then what would be adequate justification to you?

                • Bill S

                  The cost of recognizing same sex marriage is not adequate justification for denying people their rights to marriage equality.

                  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                    There is no such thing a marriage equality, it’s just junk nonsense your side decided to make up one morning to whip everybody else with, because you’re a bunch of sadists.

                    • Bill S

                      People who advocate marriage equality are sadists? That’s real mature, Ted.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      It’s the only reason I can think of left, after examining it from all sides, for rejecting civil unions.

                      Sacramental marriage endorsed by the government is against the First Amendment.

                    • Bill S

                      If two gays joined in a “civil union” they would call it a “marriage” and recognize each other as their spouse. If you are for civil unions, you are for what the couples would see as a marriage. A rose by any other name is still a rose.

  • The original Mr. X

    TBH if you go for the modern idea that marriage is essentially a fancy way of saying “I love you”, it’s hard not to conclude that the State should get out of regulating it.

  • Mrshopey

    The purpose of marriage, between one man and one woman, was to unite the couple, and bond the child to the father and protect the women and children esp with support, etc. We do not move forward very well if we do not have stable families in which the parents are bringing up the kids.
    On the one hand, Europe is already doing this naturally as many are not even bothering to marry as it has lost its meaning with the advent of s/s civil unions to s/s “marriage”.
    Who is it going to hurt the most in the long run? Gone are the days “women and children first”.
    If women and children stand to be the most hurt by it, I am against it. Seeing how a judge can come in and rule against what the people want and how they define marriage is frustrating and I can see their anger.
    Who will be hurt the most?