Oklahoma state representative Mike Turner (R-Edmond) may look like Sam The Wise, but don’t be fooled into thinking their feats are similar; while they both want to destroy rings that represent powerful bonds, the former wishes to end all bands of matrimony for the sake of keeping same sex marriage illegal.
Armed with a shell bill – a proposal that can alter at almost any time to react to upcoming rulings – Turner wishes to counter U.S. District Judge Terence Kern’s decision made on January 7th, which invalidates Oklahoma’s Question 711, an amendment that bans same-sex marriage.
Kern reasoned that the ban violated the Fourteen Amendment’s equal protection clause, noting the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last term in United States v. Windsor which defeated the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
“[Courts] must be wary of whether ‘defending’ traditional marriage is a guise for impermissible discrimination against same-sex couples.” Kern wrote.
Patience is key for Turner, as he waits for Kerns’ case to be appealed at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; once the federal appeals process is over, Turner will add the final touches to his bill.
"[My constituents are] willing to have that discussion about whether marriage needs to be regulated by the state at all," Turner told News 9.
Nicole Flatow of Think Progressive mentioned how Turner’s move draws parallels to the tactics used during Jim Crow south where the U.S. Supreme Court ordered states to desegregate schools in Brown v. Board of Education. Virginia Senator Harry F. Byrd contributed to a “massive resistance” campaign in which “Virginia legislature ordered the closure of schools subject to a desegregation order.”
“When that tactic was invalidated by courts, one county went so far as to shut down its public school system entirely from 1959 until 1964.” Flatow wrote.
Turner knows that his idea has made a few people uncomfortable, but says “I accept that.”
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