Target: Oklahoma State Representative Todd Russ
Goal: Abandon effort to prohibit non-religious authorities from being able to sign marriage certificates.
Religious authorities may soon be the only ones legally allowed to sign marriage certificates in Oklahoma if a law proposed by state representative Todd Russ is passed. Requiring religious approval of marriages before they can become legal is incredibly discriminatory, as it will disproportionately affect same-sex couples. Demand that Representative Russ abandon his bill at once.
Same-sex marriage became legal in Oklahoma in 2014 following a mandate from the federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. This made many of the state’s Republicans, including Representative Russ, upset, because it was contrary to a 2004 state vote outlawing same-sex marriage. Faced with this tide of progressivism and an inability to outright defy the laws required of the state by federal courts, Representative Russ has gotten creative and introduced this bill. It would undercut same-sex marriage in the state, not by outlawing it outright, but by putting qualifications on who can acquire a marriage certificate. Specifically, it would require that marriage certificates in the state be signed by “an ordained or authorized preacher or minister of the Gospel, priest or other ecclesiastical dignitary of any denomination.”
That this would make getting married in Oklahoma woefully difficult for same-sex couples should be self-evident. Indeed, it would also affect other couples looking to get married, like atheists and agnostics. Sign the petition below to demand that Representative Russ abandon this discriminatory bill.
Dear Representative Russ,
I am writing you today about a piece of legislation you recently introduced into the Oklahoma House of Representatives that would bar anyone except religious authorities from signing marriage certificates. This is a hateful proposal that would blatantly discriminate against same-sex and non-religious couples.
You have said that this bill was formulated to keep public officials in your state from being forced into a position where they would have to approve of same-sex marriage. In your own words, “Oklahoma voted overwhelmingly against same-sex marriage, and yet the Supreme Court stuck it down our throats.” Well, the Supreme Court “stuck it down your throats” because it decided that the majority of your citizens actively disenfranchised a minority, and that the protection of their rights outweighed the value of your state’s popular opinion. As a government official, I would have hoped that this would have been readily apparent to you. Evidently that was too much to ask, though, because you continue to try to deprive this minority of their Constitutionally-protected rights.
At best, your bill will not pass and it will have been nothing but an extraordinary waste of time. At worst, your bill will pass, only to be struck down by federal courts just like your 2004 vote was. Either way, it stands in stark contrast to the progress of history. I demand that you abandon this bigoted legislation at once.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ludovic Bertron via Wikimedia Commons