OKLAHOMA: State House Votes To Do Away With All Marriage Licensing

By a vote of 67-24, yesterday the Oklahoma House voted to end the issuing of all marriage licenses statewide. Via Tulsa World:

House Bill 1125, by Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, would instead require those officiating marriage ceremonies to file after-the-fact “certificates of marriage” with court clerks’ offices. Alternatively, couples could file affidavits of common law marriage. Russ said his bill is intended to “protect” county court clerks who do not want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. “This takes them out of the trap,” he said. Somewhat ironically, the bill removes from statute language limiting marriage to one man and one woman. Other marriage restrictions would remain unchanged. Opponents, most of them Democrats, said the bill would create a scenario in which Republicans will have legalized same-sex marriages even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the lower court rulings the bill seeks to counter. Supporters of HB 1125 said it fittingly removes the state from the marriage process. “Marriage was not instituted by government,” said Rep. Dennis Johnson, R-Duncan. “It was instituted by God. There is no reason for Oklahoma or any state to be involved in marriage.”

The bill now goes to the state Senate, where a timetable for its consideration is not yet known.