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Oklahoma Lawmakers Advance Anti-Gay Bills Aimed At Stopping Same-Sex Marriage

In an uproar over federal court rulings striking down bans on same-sex marriage, Oklahoma lawmakers in the state's House Judiciary Committee voted to release two pieces of legislation that would make it virtually impossible for same-sex couples in the Sooner State to get married. The two bills would have the state discontinue issuing all marriage licenses and also forbid all local and state employees from complying with any federal court's order in favor of same-sex marriage. Tulsa World reports:

KernOne of the bills’ authors, Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, said forcing states to acknowledge marriage equality violates the U.S. Constitution. Kern quoted the Declaration of Independence’s reference to “the laws of nature and of nature’s God,” and said marriages of other than one man and one woman violate both.

Her bill, House Bill 1599, would require the immediate dismissal and forfeiture of pension of any state or local government employee who recognizes, grants or enforces a “same-sex marriage license.”

The “Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act,” as HB 1599 is styled, also bars the use of public funds for “enforcing any court order requiring the issuance or recognition of a same-sex marriage license,” and orders the immediate removal from office of any judge who violates the provisions of the bill.

It also orders state courts to “immediately dismiss” any challenge to the law and assess costs against the plaintiffs.

Finally, it says the act shall remain in effect despite “any contrary federal court ruling.”

The bill passed 5-3 along party lines, with one Republican member, Terry O’Donnell of Catoosa, not voting.

The second bill, HB 1125, would redefine how the state recognizes marriages and who would be allowed to officially recognize them:

Oklahoma-printable-flagIt would do away with marriage licenses, and instead depend on those conducting marriages to submit marriage certificates. Alternately, couples could file affidavits of common-law marriage.

The new language allows judges to perform marriages, as well as clergy or “ecclesiastical dignitaries.”

Russ said he proposed the bill to protect court clerks and other government employees who did not want to be involved in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Troy Stevenson suggested that these anti-gay bills are a distraction from real woes facing Oklahoma:

"In the same week that we find out that the State of Oklahoma is facing a budget deficit of over $600 million, our lawmakers are wasting time - and taxpayer money - pushing a vindictive agenda against LGBT Oklahomans. The battle for the freedom to marry was long and hard-fought, but it is over, it is decided, and it is high time we addressed the real crisis facing our state. Legislators on both sides of this issue acknowledged at the committee hearing, that these pieces of legislation do not pass constitutional muster. And will trigger costly litigation that Oklahoma cannot afford and will lose. This is a futile effort to hurt Oklahomans and it is time we called this what it is - a mean-spirited distraction from the real problems facing our state."

Looks like Mike Huckabee isn't the only one who doesn't understand the concept of judicial supremacy. Maybe Huckabee and Oklahoma lawmakers should listen to this constitutional law professor explain how it works.


OK Rep. Sally Kern Pulls 'License to Discriminate' Bill, Keeps Other Two Bills Targeting Gay

Kern

Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern, who on more than one occasion has compared gays to terrorists, has withdrawn her bill that would have allowed Oklahoma businesses to refuse service to any LGBT individual or organization, AKOR reports:

“After further consideration, I have decided to withdraw House Bill 1597, known as ‘The Business Protection Act.’ The bill as introduced did not accomplish my desired purpose. Across the country, business owners are being sued by individuals who are asking the owner to perform a service or provide a product that is contrary to their deeply held religious beliefs. When these business owners have refused because of conscience, they were then sued having to face legal battles that resulted in their losing their business and even facing jail. I wanted a tort bill that limited damages between the business owner and the customer ensuring that the business owner would not lose their livelihood.

“I will support the efforts of my colleagues who have introduced bills that do what I intended. I will work with the governor, the speaker of the House and Senate pro tempore to protect the business interests of our state so that all our citizens who take the risk of opening a business can prosper and thrive.”

Kern is continuing to sponsor the "Preservation and Sovereignty of Marriage Act" which would bar the use of taxpayer dollars or government salaries for "the licensing or support of same-sex marriage," as well as the “Freedom to Obtain Conversion Therapy Act” which gives parents the right to seek help to "cure" their gay kids.


OK Gov. Mary Fallin Won't Say if She Thinks Businesses Have Right to Deny Service to Gays

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin won't say if she believes businesses should be allowed to refuse service to gays, according to the AP:

FallinDuring a presentation to reporters and editors at The Associated Press’ annual legislative forum, Fallin said she has many gay friends, but declined to answer a question about whether she thought it was inappropriate for businesses to discriminate against them based on their sexual orientation.

“In general, I have lots of gay friends that I do talk to and hang out with, and I think we should respect them. They’re good Oklahomans,” Fallin said.

The comments come after a week during which Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern, who has compared gays to terrorists, filed three offensive anti-gay bills for the legislature to consider.

The "Preservation and Sovereignty of Marriage Act" would bar the use of taxpayer dollars or government salaries for "the licensing or support of same-sex marriage. A second bill, the heinously titled “Freedom to Obtain Conversion Therapy Act” gives parents the right to seek help to "cure" their gay kids. A third bill, House Bill 1597, would allow any Oklahoma business to refuse service to an LGBT person, or group, similar to the bill that failed last year in Arizona because businesses would not have it.

Despite the fact that Fallin says she has "lots of gay friends," she has been no friend to gays in her official capacity as governor.

In September of 2013, after an order came down from the Pentagon directing the National Guard to process military benefits for same-sex couples, Fallin ordered the Oklahoma National Guard to stop.

When a federal judge struck down Oklahoma's gay marriage ban in January of last year, Fallin said she was "troubled" and then blasted the U.S. Supreme Court when it let the 10th Circuit ruling upholding the decision stand.

So when Fallin says she thinks gay Oklahomans should be respected, it's probably a bunch of B.S..


Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern Insists She 'Doesn't Hate Anyone' Despite Trio Of New Anti-Gay Laws

Screenshot 2015-01-28 11.59.53

According to Republican Member of Oklahoma’s House of Representatives Sally Kern, she “doesn’t hate anybody.” Her claims are somewhat difficult to accept at face value, however, in light of the three discriminatory pieces of legislation that she pushed through the House last week. In addition to enabling discrimination against LGBT people based on religious grounds, Kern's bills enable the practice of reparative therapies and would literally defund gay marriages.

Under Kern’s proposed Preservation and Sovereignty of Marriage Act “no employee of [Oklahoma] and no employee of any local governmental entity shall officially recognize, grant or enforce a same-sex marriage license and continue to receive a salary, pension or other employee benefit at the expense of taxpayers of this state.”

The bill goes on to demand that Oklahoma’s state funds be withheld in the event that a court order were to mandate the issuance or recognition of same sex marriage licenses.

“The LGBT people want to limit someone’s freedom to come to understand something, because their mantra is ‘well you’re born gay and you can’t change’ and there’s no credible scientific research to prove that,” Kern said in an interview with local NBC affiliate KFOR. “If they want to live that way, let them, but see that’s not enough for them, right now. What they want is to force their lifestyle upon the rest of us,” she insisted.

All three bills are scheduled to be heard next week after the opening of the Oklahoma legislature.


OK Rep. Sally Kern Targets Gays With 3 of the Most Offensive Bills Filed in 2015: VIDEO

Kern

Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern, who on more than one occasion has compared gays to terrorists, has filed three offensive bills targeting gays in the state.

The "Preservation and Sovereignty of Marriage Act" would bar the use of taxpayer dollars or government salaries for "the licensing or support of same-sex marriage. Under the law, no local or state employee could "officially recognize, grant or enforce a same-sex marriage license and continue to receive a salary, pension or other employee benefit."

Tulsa World reports:

“No employee of this state and no employee of any local governmental entity shall officially recognize, grant or enforce a same-sex marriage license and continue to receive a salary, pension or other employee benefit at the expense of taxpayers of this state,” the measure says. “No taxes or public funds of this state shall be spent enforcing any court order requiring the issuance or recognition of a same-sex marriage license.”

A second bill, the heinously titled “Freedom to Obtain Conversion Therapy Act” gives parents the right to seek help to "cure" their gay kids.

Says the bill:

“The people of this state have the right to seek and obtain counseling or conversion therapy from a mental health provider in order to control or end any unwanted sexual attraction, and no state agency shall infringe upon that right,” the bill says. “Parents may obtain such counseling or therapy for their children under eighteen (18) years of age without interference by the state.”

A third bill, House Bill 1597, would allow any Oklahoma business to refuse service to an LGBT person, or group, similar to the bill that failed last year in Arizona because businesses would not have it..

Kern is currently unavailable for comment, according to Tulsa World, because she's celebrating a wedding anniversary this week.

Watch News9 Oklahoma's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "OK Rep. Sally Kern Targets Gays With 3 of the Most Offensive Bills Filed in 2015: VIDEO" »


Anti-Gay Oklahoma Lawmaker Wants To End All Marriage Licenses, Says SCOTUS Stuck Gay Marriage 'Down Our Throat'

Russ

Complaining that the U.S. Supreme Court "stuck [same-sex marriage] down our throats," a Republican Oklahoma lawmaker has introduced a bill that would do away with all marriage licenses in the state.  

Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell (above), says his HB 1125 is designed to protect the religious freedom of state employees who object to same-sex marriage. The bill would prohibit judges from performing marriages and clerks from issuing marriage licenses. 

Instead, religious officials would sign marriage "certificates" that would be recorded with county clerks. In lieu of religious ceremonies, couples could also file affidavits of common-law marriage. Any state employee who violates the law would face up to a year in jail. 

From The Oklahoman

“Marriages are not supposed to be a government thing anyway,” [Russ] said Wednesday.

Russ, a credentialed Assemblies of God minister, is upset with rulings that have supported same-sex marriage.

“There’s a lot of constituents and people across the state who are not through pushing back on the federal government for the slam down they’ve given us with Supreme Court rulings,” he said. ... 

“Oklahoma voted overwhelmingly against same-sex marriage, and yet the Supreme Court stuck it down our throats,” Russ said.

Oklahomans for Equality posted a statement saying Russ' bill would "create chaos": 

"Oklahomans for Equality calls upon all fair minded Oklahomans to contact your state representative and ask them not to support House Bill 1125 which would strip county court clerks of their duty of issuing marriage licenses. Rep. Todd Russ of District 55 has introduced the bill under the guise of protecting elected officials religious freedoms. If passed, this bill will de-fund court clerks already strained budgets, do away with the marriage license process which conforms to every other state, and create chaos in a system that has worked for more than century."

Oklahomans for Equality reported last week that more than 3,200 marriage licenses have been issued to gay couples since same-sex marriage became legal in October. That was after the Supreme Court declined to review the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision striking down Oklahoma's marriage ban. 

Full text of Russ' bill, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Anti-Gay Oklahoma Lawmaker Wants To End All Marriage Licenses, Says SCOTUS Stuck Gay Marriage 'Down Our Throat'" »


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