Republicans like to talk about getting the government off our backs but, like their hero, Ronald Reagan, who made the phrase his mantra back in the 1980s, what they really mean is that they want to get it off our backs when it does something for us and on our backs when it does something to us.
Oklahoma State Senator Anthony Sykes (R) is proudly upholding that principle with SB 733 which would require all persons applying for a marriage license to undergo a blood test to prove that they are “not infected with syphilis or other communicable or infectious diseases.” Those who test positive would be refused a marriage license unless a doctor certified that their infection was at a stage that posed no threat of infecting their partner.
So much for personal freedoms. The law would almost ensure that people with incurable diseases such as Herpes or a HIV infection could never marry, at least not in Oklahoma.
There was a time when most states required such testing as a condition of obtaining a marriage license but all but Montana have long ago rescinded the requirement. Oklahoma’s old law was repealed in 2004, two years before Sykes was elected.
It is strange that Sykes sees a need for the law since Oklahomans apparently practice safe sex at a higher rate than most of the nation. According to the latest available information from the CDC there were 84 diagnoses of primary or secondary syphilis reported in the state in 2012 and the same holds true for other STDs. By comparison, in the same year there were 167 cases in Washington D.C. which has a population of 635,040 to Oklahoma’s 3.817 million.
The law also raises questions of compliance with HIPAA since it requires that a copy of the report be filed with the court clerk a provision that would clearly violate personal privacy in medical records.
“This law says you shall file meaning that that contemplates that they’re actually going to take a copy and file it there, and it’s going to be a record in the court clerk’s office,” said attorney David Slane.
“It seems to me that would violate people’s real privacy rights,” Slane added.
Watch a report on the bill in the video below from News 9.
h/t: Huffington Post