Oklahoma GOP: Only Christians And Jews Should Be Able To Marry

If you thought the GOP’s strident opposition to same-sex marriage is as far as they’d go while trying to restrict marriage rights, think again. Republicans in Oklahoma are going a step further, by introducing a bill that would limit marriage to people of faith. Not just any people of faith either — only Christians and Jews need apply.

Bible with wedding ring Image Credit: Pixabay via Creative Commons

Bible with wedding ring
Image Credit: Pixabay via Creative Commons

The bill, called House Bill 1125, would mean that people in Oklahoma could no longer get married legally without a priest, minister, rabbi or an ecclesiastical dignitary presiding. Further, all secular officials, such as judges and clerks, would no longer have the authority to perform weddings or issue marriage licenses.

The bill was introduced by State Representative Todd Russ (R-OK), and filed last Tuesday. The reason Russ gives for introducing this legislation is, as you might have guessed, rooted in homophobic bigotry. He says he wants to relieve court clerks and other officials of being put into the difficult position of having to officiate same-sex marriages or issue licenses to same-sex couples. As for the fact that such a bill would mean atheists, agnostics, pagans, Muslims, and people of any number of other faiths would be unable to marry under the new law — well, he doesn’t really care about that. In Russ’s own words:

“They don’t have a spiritual basis for a marriage and don’t want to have a clergy member or a priest or someone involved in the spiritual aspect, then they can file an affidavit of common-law marriage.”

Oklahoma State Rep. Todd Russ  Image Credit: KSWO-TV

Oklahoma State Rep. Todd Russ
Image Credit: KSWO-TV

Well, there are soooo many things this dude doesn’t understand here. Where to start? For one thing, limiting marriage to Christians and Jews will not stop same-sex marriage. There are plenty of gay Christians and gay Jews. In fact, I’d say, given the fact that there are way more straight people than LGBT people, he’d be hurting more heterosexuals than LGBT people with this bill, no matter what his intentions. For another, this is blatantly unconstitutional. The constitution guarantees religious liberty for all, not just Christians and Jews. It always amazes me to see just how many lawmakers have absolutely no understanding of the laws they are sworn to uphold.

Also, Russ’s argument that anyone who is not of his chosen faiths — or who, for whatever reason, refuses to have a priest, rabbi, reverend, or minister preside over a wedding — could file for a common-law marriage affidavit falls flat, as Oklahoma does not recognize common-law marriages.

This is a new low, even for conservative Christians. Luckily, it is completely illegal. However, I think things like this should serve as a wake-up call. Fundamentalist Christians are dangerous, and they are making our laws. Left wing Christians, if you wish to save your faith from these loony, dangerous bigots, now is the time. This is why so many people are leaving your faith in droves. Christianity is ruled by the fanatical right these days, and no decent person wants any part of what it is rapidly becoming.

H/T: Progressive Secular Humanist at Patheos