Republicans, who have a strange set of priorities for the party which claims to be the party of small government, have made a major priority out of making sure that two gay people cannot get married. Dump pollutants into the atmosphere or rip off consumers, and they won’t care, but if two people of the same sex try to get married, they are on it. Now that some courts are ruling that it is unfair to tell some people that they cannot marry the person of their choice, Republicans in Oklahoma have come up with a plan prevent same-sex marriage without discrimination: ban all marriage.
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.
Kiesel says prohibiting all marriage is new territory. In fact, the ACLU was unable to find an example of where a state has ever tried to ban all marriage. Kiesel believes the entire idea just boils down to politics.
This is clearly unworkable, and might just be a publicity stunt. If they are serious, and willing to compromise, they might consider one idea which some advocates of marriage equality have proposed–have the governments provide civil unions instead of marriage for the current legal aspects of marriage without discrimination, and then leave the term marriage for religious or civil ceremonies. Anyone could have a marriage ceremony, but government would not be involved with the term marriage. I’d prefer to see a cleaner solution of governments not getting involved in saying who may or may not marry, but at least this idea would place everyone in an equal situation, with anyone being able to get married separate from government. Of course these Republicans are unlikely to go along as changing the term from marriage to civil union would not satisfy them if they are unable to continue to discriminate.
It might be interesting if Democrats call their bluff and do not vote either way on this, and then let Republicans deal with the backlash should they actually ban marriage.