Oklahoma Legislator Hates Gay Marriage Enough to Get the State Out of Marriage!
Social progress comes from weird places some times. Like a Libertarian's Twitter feed points to this case emanating from Oklahoma like crude oil bubbling up through the ground. State Rep. Todd Russ, a Republican, tells the Daily Oklahoman,
He wants to protect court clerks from having to issue licenses to same-sex couples. He doesn't want these workers put in the position of having to condone or facilitate same-sex marriage….
Under his plan, a religious official would sign a couple's marriage certificate, which would then be filed with the clerk. Marriages would no longer be performed by judges. If a couple did not have a religious official to preside over their wedding, they could file an affidavit of common law marriage.
Another legislator, also a Republican, has introduced legislation exempting religious officials from having to "solemnize or recognize any marriage that violates the official's conscience or religious beliefs."
Gay marriage became legal in Oklahoma last November, due to a court ruling (and in spite of the fact that a 2004 constitutional amendment favored overwhelmingly by voters defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
In an ideal world, or even just a better world, the state wouldn't be involved in marriage and it wouldn't dole out tax and other benefits based on a person's relationship status. Until that time comes, all individuals and marriages should be treated equally under the law. But who would have guessed that an ordained Assemblies of God minister like Rep. Todd Russ—rather than some freewheeling crusader against bourgeois institutions—would be leading the way to getting the state out of holy matrimony?