THIS week the US state of Oklahoma has seen fit to restrict marriage to people of faith.
A bill that would restrict the right to marry to people of faith and require all marriage licenses to be approved by a member of clergy was approved by the Oklahoma state House .
House Bill 1125, which would effectively ban all secular marriages in the state, was passed by a Republican majority and will now go to the state Senate for consideration.
“Marriage was not instituted by government. It was instituted by God. There is no reason for Oklahoma or any state to be involved in marriage,” said one of the bill’s Republican supporters Rep. Dennis Johnson, though marriage is a legal contract.
It seems this bill isn’t fuelled by a desire to segregate atheists however but is a thinly-veiled attack on gay marriage. By restricting the issuing of marriage licenses to the clergy and not judges and court clerks, the bill would make it harder for same-sex marriages to take place.
Troy Stevenson, head of the LGBT advocacy group Freedom Oklahoma, said that the community would ‘fight back’ against the ‘discriminatory legislation’ – but added that there was a silver lining.
‘There are… 160 members of the clergy who have publicly declared their willingness to marry LGBT people [in Oklahoma],’ he said.