Okla. House OKs bill shifting issuance of marriage licenses from state to clergy

Oklahoma state capitol in Oklahoma City.Photo:

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma state House has approved legislation that shifts the issuance of marriage licenses from the state to members of the clergy.

Oklahoma state capitol in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma state capitol in Oklahoma City.

House members voted 67-24 for the measure Tuesday and sent it to the Senate for consideration.

The measure (HB 1125) by Republican Rep. Todd Russ of Cordell would replace a state-issued marriage license with a clergy-issued marriage certificate.

Russ says it gets government out of the business of licensing marriage. Opponents say it is a reaction by lawmakers who disagree with a federal judge’s decision to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Russ says the state neither allows nor disallows same-sex marriage under the bill. But opponents, including Democratic Rep. Emily Virgin of Norman, say state government needs to be involved in the process.

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