The so-called “religious freedom” legislation law signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin may not mean much in the real world but it’s historically abhorrent.
The law essentially means nothing. It allows ministers to refuse to marry people if they don’t want to because of their religious beliefs. This is already the case.
The law, of course, is about same-sex marriage, which is now legal in Oklahoma because of a federal court ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court, as we all know, is getting ready to decide if same-marriage, now legal in 38 states and the District of Columbia, should be the law of the land. Let’s hope the court rules against discrimination and legalizes same-sex marriage everywhere in the nation. I think it will.
This was Fallin’s rather blank and generic statement about House Bill 1007:
This bill makes it clear that the government can never compel our religious leaders or houses of worship to act in violation of their faith where marriage is concerned. I am proud to join our Legislature in taking a strong stand in defense of religious liberty and the freedoms awarded to all American citizens by the U.S. Constitution.
No, there’s not a lot of gay-bashing in that statement, but it’s obvious the bill is a backlash to the growing cultural acceptance and tolerance of same-sex marriage. Oklahoma lawmakers and Fallin, as usual, are historically wrong on this social issue. It will make them look foolish and hateful in the future when same-sex marriages are performed in most, if not all, mainstream churches. That time is coming faster that many of us could even imagine 10 or so years ago.
There’s simply no rational legal argument against same-sex marriage as the arguments before the high court this week have shown. The only arguments against same-sex marriage are basically religious in nature and have nothing to do with licensing and regulation. There are plenty of ordained ministers who will marry same-sex couples here in Oklahoma and elsewhere.
This petty bill signed by Fallin does nothing constructive. It’s a waste of time and taxpayer money. Same-sex marriage is here to stay. Discrimination is always wrong and hateful. Passing a law codifying discrimination may make bigots feel good momentarily, but history will not be kind to them. Surely, Fallin, now in her second term as governor, knows that on some level. Maybe not.