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Published On: Fri, Mar 13th, 2015

Oklahoma moves ahead on ending marriage licenses, leaves it to the clergy

The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill that would abolish government-issued Oklahoma marriage licenses. Under House Bill 1125, marriage licenses would be replaced by marriage certificates issued by clergy and others authorized to perform marriage ceremonies.

The bill passed the House 67-24 and will now go to the Senate for consideration.

Photo/Femke Jenkins Photography

Photo/Femke Jenkins Photography

“The point of my legislation is to take the state out of the process and leave marriage in the hands of the clergy,” said state Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, the bill’s House author. “Marriage was historically a religious covenant first and a government-recognized contract second. Under my bill, the state is not allowing or disallowing same-sex marriage. It is simply leaving it up to the clergy.”

While Democrats argued that the bill could prevent the state’s power in stopping bigamy or polygamy,but Russ countered, saying there are provisions making multiple marriage illegal.

“As I read your bill, as long as the clergy has signed off on it, the state will have essentially signed off on it,” said House Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Oklahoma City. “You are potentially opening up Pandora’s Box.”

In fact, here’s the language of the law in Oklahoma:

Constitution of Oklahoma: Article I § 2. Religious Liberty — Polygamous or plural marriages. Perfect toleration of religious sentiment shall be secured, and no inhabitant of the State shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; and no religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights. Polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited. (Emphasis added – BBJ, The Dispatch)

Here’s a link to a post summarizing the marriage law in your state – click here

Bert Ernie Support Gay Marriage cake photo

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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