Oklahoma State Representative Mike Turner has introduced a bill before the legislature, which if passed, could effectively ban all marriages within the state. The move is one which Turner openly admits is yet another stubborn attempt to ban same-sex marriage, following a district court judge’s recent ruling which found the state’s ban on such marriages was unconstitutional.
Stating that his bill sought to ban same-sex marriage ‘while upholding the constitution,’ Turner, who was elected as a local Tea Party upstart in 2012, says he’ll await the results of the appeals process for the lower court’s ruling.
The bill, which is being regarded as a “shell bill,” allows lawmakers the freedom to toy with it at will while it remains under debate, rendering it nothing more than a “place holder.” Though this proposed ‘nuclear option’ of eliminating marriage, which lawmakers say remains a possible direction for the bill to take, is unlikely to pass any legitimate political or legal scrutiny, it is also not unheard of within the often homophobic circles of Oklahoma politics.
Last November Governor Mary Fallin ordered the National Guard within her state to stop issuing federal benefits to same-sex couples, despite a federal mandate to do so.
When this most recent chicanery was announced Wednesday, initially being trotted out as another attempt to vote on the matter of banning same-sex marriage in spite of the judge’s ruling, even Turner admitted it was purely symbolic.
While talking earlier in the week to KOKH Fox 25, Turner mocked the reaction by much of the public and media in attendance saying, “I can’t help but laugh at the foolishness of thinking that we’re going to run language that was just struck down by the Federal Court.”
Though utterly ridiculous, Turner says the filing of the “shell bill” and the ‘debate’ over the state’s role in marriage is entirely justified. When asked yesterday by local reporters if it was realistic for the state not to participate in marriage at all, Turner replied that it was a “realistic opportunity,” and would be “part of the discussion” going forward.
Despite increasing criticism in the state which claims that the regular attempts by conservative lawmakers to attack same-sex marriage are a complete waste of time, money and resources, the act of routine and pointless symbolism in lieu of sound policy or good judgement has become something of a hallmark for Republican lead legislatures, sadly making this bizarre tale of a nuclear option in the marriage equality debate less than entirely surprising, once broken down to the brass tacks.