Friday, January 23, 2015

Proposed Oklahoma Bill Would Eliminate Marriage Licenses

Oklahoma State Representative Todd Russ has introduced a bill into the Oklahoma legislature that would create a unique response to federal decisions requiring the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  As reported by KSWO News, his bill would do away with marriage licenses.  Instead, under HB 1125 couples may be married in a religious ceremony, after which the member of the clergy performing the ceremony would file a "certificate of marriage" with the clerk of court.  Individuals who do not want to be married in a religious ceremony could file an "affidavit of common law marriage" with the clerk of court. Under the bill, judges would no longer be able to perform marriage ceremonies. The bill retains current language limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples, even though the 10th Circuit has invalidated that limitation. (See prior posting.)  Rep. Russ sees the bill as restoring marriage "to what it was supposed to be and was originally a holy matrimony and a very solemn and spiritual vow."  Any progress of the bill through the legislature may be followed here.