The Oklahoma House of Representative passed a bill Tuesday that would abolish state-issued marriage licenses. If the bill is signed into law, marriage licenses would be issued by a member of the clergy. It's intended to block gay marriages in the state, but is actually just going to turn into an enormous, delightful, lawsuit-attracting nightmare.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Representative and human-muppet hybrid Todd Russ, removes the words "marriage licenses" from the list of things the state's court clerks are responsible for. Marriage licenses instead would be issued by any member of the clergy and signed by a court clerk; people who don't want to be married by a clergy member would only be able to obtain an "affidavit of common-law marriage."
And while it sounds like that could pave the way for legal gay marriages, provided a sympathetic-minded clergy member would sign the certificate, the state's constitution was amended in 2004 specifically to limit marriage to one man and one woman.
Rep. Russ sounds pretty tickled about the whole thing, telling local ABC station KWSO, "Marriage was historically a religious covenant first and a government-recognized contract second." He says, too, that non-religious people don't have any business getting married anyway, so a common law certificate should do just fine: "They don't have a spiritual basis for a marriage and don't want to have a clergy member or a priest or someone involved in the spiritual aspect, then they can file an affidavit of common-law marriage."
Rep. Dennis Johnson, who's supporting the bill, agreed, telling the Tulsa World, "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."
It's worth noting that this is just the latest volley in what's been a very, very dumb couple months in Oklahoma. The racist idiots of SAE have almost completely succeeded in diverting our attention from the deeper and more enduring idiocy of the Oklahoma legislature, who before they started shooting their own feet off with this marriage legislation were busy taking aim at the evil leftism of AP U.S. History. That bill had to be "revised" because it was such a legal and logistical nightmare, and so will the marriage license bill, should it pass the Senate. Governor Mary Fallin hasn't yet said if she'll sign the bill if it makes it to her desk.
Russ, center, pictured in 2013. Photo via AP