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Marriage doesn’t need “to be regulated by the state at all,” say Republicans

by Ian Huyett

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Republicans are promoting a bill that could make marriage a private institution in their state. The legislation, filed by Rep. Mike Turner, could end all government regulation of marriage and leave the matter to individuals and their churches. The ACLU has called this attempt the first of its kind in the US.

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In an interview with Oklahoma’s News9, Turner made a reasonable, liberty-minded case for his proposal, expressing skepticism as to whether “marriage needs to be regulated by the state at all.” He said there is a “realistic opportunity” for the effort to succeed.

Yet Oklahoma progressives are outraged by the proposal, which they say is an underhanded trick to avoid legal recognition of same-sex marriage. News9, apparently incapable of imagining of how marriage could exist without government, called Turner’s suggestion a “ban” on marriage that would throw “marriage altogether out the window.” An ACLU spokesman has condemned the effort as not being on “the right side of history.”

As a Christian, Turner has a good intellectual basis for divorcing marriage from the law. Renowned Christian apologist G.K. Chesterton said “It may be said that this institution of the home is the one anarchist institution. That is to say, it is older than law, and stands outside the State.” He believed that the two sexes “are glued together too tightly for us to get the blade of a legal penknife in between them.”

Likewise, I believe – like my home state’s College Republicans – that “It’s too bad that such a beautiful thing has been reduced to a document.”

Some secular libertarians have also called for getting the government out of marriage. Comedian Doug Stanhope has said “gay marriage is one of those trick arguments. Marriage should not be a legal institution. That’s the argument you should be having.” – Oklahoma City, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports |

  • anonymouse

    I think that “marriage should not be regulated” is not the best talking point for them to use.

    A much better way of putting it would be “marriage should only be regulated like any other form of contract”.

  • Yes!!! Someone with a brain! Ever since I became a libertarian, I’ve believed marriage to be something not to be regulated by the state. And the fact it’s in my own Oklahoma makes me even more excited about this recent development. Perhaps this will set off a firestorm akin to gay marriage starting in Massachusetts a decade ago. I can only hope!

    • minime13

      Except this: “The legislation, filed by Rep. Mike Turner, could end all government regulation of marriage and leave the matter to individuals and their churches.”

      • You know marriage isn’t exclusively provided by churches or other religious institutions. It can also be performed in secular manner.

        • minime13

          Yeah, currently. However, from the quoted text, it sounds like there is an attempt to transfer the institution of marriage over to the church.

          To a Libertarian, this sounds like a win. However, when you read between the lines, and recognize the original purpose and intent, then you realize it is not as simple as getting government out of our private lives.

          • Eric McCann

            Oh please. That would be what they do now. This is libertarianism at its finest.

          • omegis

            “An attempt to transfer the institution of marriage over to the church”?…..

            Sweetie, marriage was an institution of the church LONG before the state got involved.

          • Frank Swart

            Not so, unless you consider Biblical marriages which were God ordained. Google search this, and I think you will find that civil marriage contracts have been around a long time. People of OK, I’m afraid, are looking at this in the wrong vein. I want the government to stay out of my life, too, but there are many legal aspects to marriage that only belong to government, not the church. I, as a Christian, do not want the church saddled with society saying they have a right to be married in my church when they are not members, and will not promise to meet the standards of marriage that my church ascribes to. This is already happening around the country with gays pressing lawsuits because businesses refuse to provide objectionable services. When the state passes the buck over who can or cannot be married, they are subjecting the church to possible suits by same sex couples, or others who are refused the church’s services. If anyone has missed that going on in this country, they haven’t been watching. I love OK, but I don’t think you really want everyone who chooses to get hitched can legally do so by whoever chooses to do it.

          • Churches don’t have to provide all marriages you know. Hell they don’t have to be provided by any religious institution. Weddings can be carried out in many different fashions. As for gay couples suing that’s already happening in many different places. It’s happening cause government defines marriage. If you take that out of the equation then the wind is taken out of their sails. I find the notion that you need a license to be married absurd. Marriage is suppose to be united by love between the two spouses not law.

          • Robert MacKay

            Its not passing the buck, are you imagining that churches will issue marriage licenses ?

            If there is no licence there is only a ceremony and a church can refuse to perform any ceremony under the separation of church and state. Your fears are unfounded.

          • Joy Purgason Barber

            Frank you say you are Christian and yet you call it your church instead of God’s church. You are afraid that people will not abide by” your “churches rules. Does it matter where a marriage is performed as long as God is involved?

          • Ralph Drees

            God is only involved in marriages in which He is the officiant thereof… that said, it’s only a marriage if He is the officiant.

          • Anne D

            No Frank. CIVIL UNIONS, which is the ONLY truly LEGAL recognition that any Court should take into account is separate from “marriage”. MARRIAGE, a concept that has been around LONG before Christianity or Judaism, can and should be handled by the group that the two who wish to be recognized as “married” decide. Be that a Church, a Synagogue, a Chapel for Wiccans, A Buddhist ceremony, a secular celebration, whatever they wish it to be, it can be. THE LAW can only recognize a legal contract, which a civil union actually is. A very simple concept that the Statists want to also CONTROL, however, taking the government bennies OUT of the MARRIAGE, and allowing the legal contractual benefits of a UNION, which cannot be voted on to deny to anyone as it is a simple contract between people, then ALL will receive “equal treatment under the law”.

          • Larry Hall

            Marriage was around from the beginning of thhe human race.remember Adam and Eve

          • Anne D

            Many much older cultures recognized marriage….between two beings, not necessarily with different “parts”.

          • Curtis

            Regardless, that’s not much of a threat to Same Sex marriage. I can name off more than 3 denominations in OK right now that would perform Same Sex marriages.

            If people don’t want the religious aspect, Jonathan is right, there are secular ways to go about it.

          • Robert MacKay

            If a marriage license is not required what does it matter who handles the ceremony ?

        • jabberwolf

          The state should only have civil unions.. for ALL and Marriages ( a religious doctrine) for none. Keep the arguments of who decides what a marriage is outside of the state !! “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” Its about time !
          I do not see any mention of civil unions by the state though.. and THAT needs to happen in conjunction with this.

      • Frank Swart

        Not a totally favorable thing for anyone when it comes to an annulment or divorce. How would you feel if your church said no to a divorce, because they don’t believe in it. Do laws have to be made so the church can say who gets custody, how much child support is to be paid, etc. It’s not something churches do, and besides, how would lawyers make a decent living.

        • TJN

          What? The contract would still be a contract and as such divorce and child support would still have to go through a court of law. You could get married by any lawyer or by simply signing a document. Why do you think you’d need a church? That’s only if you so deem. The roman catholic church may not release you from marriage at all even today! It means nothing, they don’t sever contracts only the state or the people in the contract can do so

          • Frank Swart

            The courts of law are the state government. Either governmental authorities are involved, or they are not. If one is married by a church today, it is a contract under the authority given to it by the state. If the state absolves itself of the authority, then the churches have no responsibility to make a legal contract. You are saying the same thing that I am – you have to have a contract governed by state courts (law). The state cannot absolve itself from any control in that regard. Churches don’t determine the state law or enforce it. Why should they marry people and have them sign contracts that they have no part of? If I was a church pastor, I would only give church marital blessings and perform a ceremony for members. If you want a legal marriage, go see a lawyer or notary. Anything else would be like forcing a church to supply abortion drugs to it’s staff.

          • TJN

            No need to see a lawyer or a notary. You and I can engage in a contract without anyone else present. All we need is a piece of paper and a pen. People do it every single day. No one is forcing churches to do anything. They aren’t needed for you and I to engage in a contract for you to cut my grass or fix my home or dor me to work for you. Neither have I evee heard that anyone in a gay marriage state propose that churches must perforn a ceremony. That’s off the table as per the first amendment.

          • NASCARDaddy

            You don’t even need a pen and paper to have a contract. Oral contracts are also enforceable so long as the existence of the contract can be proven.

          • Robert MacKay

            You are confusing the right to get married with the legal process of separating shared property under tort law. They are not the same thing. It really is irrelevant anyway since the numbers of people performing official state sanctioned marriages has been dropping for decades.

          • afvet262

            Not true – a court doesn’t have to be involved, and you even said it yourself – “or the people in the contract can do so.”

            I work with contracts a LOT – you can get out of a contract easily if both parties mutually agree to cancel; you can actually put into a contract terms of dissolution if you want. No need for a court, or even lawyers…

        • august589

          If marriage becomes a private issue, then so does divorce. Get the government out of both institutions. If a couple married outside of government regulation desires a divorce, let the church–or whatever organization pronounced them married–decide on how the dissolution should be resolved. Folks are intelligent enough to do that.

          • Frank Swart

            That’s exactly why you can’t get the government out. It’s not the church’s desire, or responsibility to decide those matters. When you, with or without a contract, separate, get a court order for child support, and have a deadbeat dad skip town, who are you going to go to? Yes the court can issue a judgment as a civil matter, but the court in no way is going to help you collect the money. In the end, the mother usually ends up going to the government for help -welfare, free medical coverage, and legal aid to try to hunt down your money. Then the state can say, we didn’t approve your contract, why should we chase down your mate? You can go round and round with this issue all day. A recent court decision found a sperm donor liable for child support to a divorced lesbian couple, even with a contract that said he had no parental claim on the child. The government wants control regardless of the situation, but don’t mis the church up in it. If I was a minister, I would not marry anyone, except as a ceremonial promise to God and each other. That’s basically what it should be anyway.

          • Abir Mandal

            I don’t understand what child support has to do with marriage. You don’t believe that the stork brings us babies after marriage, do you? All other things can be part of the private contract, including alimony and divorces. A church that doesn’t allow divorces? Simple, don’t get married there!

          • Robert MacKay

            That is exactly what the proposal is – a ceremony not a license, the church would have no say other than to recognize the divorce but they couldn’t stop individuals from choosing what they want to do. Your fears are based in how government handles marriage and divorce today not how a libertarian non-marriage solution would work.

        • SimJim

          Marriage becomes a contract if the two parties want to do it that way. The government handling divorces hasn’t worked out very well anyway.

        • Robert MacKay

          A divorce only happens when government manages a marriage license. If there is no license there is nothing stopping two people from moving apart and declaring themselves divorced regardless of what anyone says.

          Churchs would not be in control they would just provide the ceremony – if you read the article it says turn it over to individuals first then the churchs ! A church could not prevent a couple from being divorced.

      • s1974x

        That is the same invalid argument used against giving parents vouchers to get their kids out of these awful government schools. In both, the mindset is rooted in the fear that the centralized state will lose power to the people. In this issue, proponents of Gay Marriage fear they’ll lose the ability to bully people into accepting marriages they do not personally recognize.

      • Alex Chamberlain

        Yes INDIVIDUALS…and churches. Basically saying, you get to define your own relationship, and if you personally require a church’s blessing, then your church may define your marriage. Or you can, whatever.

    • Frank Swart

      That’s the problem with “libertarian” – when you don’t like a federal law, you want it to be a state choice; when the state imposes rules you don’t like you want it to be a personal choice; right on down the line so that no one is accountable. Nothing against you, but libertarians have to think about all the consequences of legalizing things or changing existing laws, too. Can you imagine a couple divorcing outside of any laws and the state having to pay to support the kids?

      • TJN

        Why would the state have to pay anything? This has to do with marriage not child support. Wtf are you talking about? Making up nonsense tbat doesnt apply at all doesn’t change the fact that the government has no right to give a group of people benefits nor liabilities because they are in love.

        • SimJim

          Some people can’t imagine life without politicians telling them what to do.

        • Frank Swart

          Sorry to upset you with my opinion, my 1st Amendment right that I hope you respect, but marriage and the legal rights and responsibilities that go with it, have everything to do with more than the right to change your last name. It has to do with beneficiaries, the family, custody, divorce, legal separation, taxes, death, etc. When the state says, we want out of granting licenses to marry they open the door to anything goes and we wash our hands of your status.

          • TJN

            That has nothing to do with the proposed law! Iy just says you don’t have to go through the government to get marriedm. What is so hard about this? Why should married people pay less taxes?

          • Robert MacKay

            Good because that status is only used to further intrude into the rights of the individual – the issues you are worried about are contracts covered everywhere by tort law. Divorced would be handled like any other contract dispute in the courts.

      • Eric McCann

        I am a libertarian who believes that states do not have rights over the individual. And most libertarians believe this way as well.

        • Frank Swart

          That may work for you, but I would hope you see the need for some control and restrictions over some things. You may be a smoker and think you should be able to smoke anywhere you want, at any time. Someone else in the same room may be highly allergic or sensitive to smoke, and has every right to be there, too. You need some laws, and the founding fathers did not write those things into the Constitution, so gave states those rights (10th Amendment). I don’t think you speak for most libertarians or know what they all believe – I think most believe in state’s rights, over federal laws. OK has that reputation.

          • TJN

            If your sensitive to smoke wear a oxygen mask. If it offends your eyes look away. You need to respect the rights of others. You do not have a right to force others to live the way YOU want them to. You have no right to not he offended.

          • Robert MacKay

            But the smoker doesn’t have the right to injure the other person under liberation principle, the second hand smoke is a form of coercion that should be unacceptable – the libertarian solution would be to sue the smoker for fouling your air !

          • Eric McCann

            If the room is public property, then yes, otherwise, it’s up to the property owner. If you are talking about a public sidewalk, you can walk around. If you are that sensitive to smoke, you shouldn’t be outside at all, cars give off more fumes than cigarettes. States do not have rights that supersede individuals natural rights. Additionally in regard to marriage, Government involvement in marriage discriminates against single people by using their tax money to subsidize marriage.

          • Eric McCann

            I do not believe in States “Rights” Over the Bill of Rights/Individual Rights. Smoking should not be prohibited in small business by government. If you don’t want people smoking on your property, fine, smoking on a public sidewalk should be fine. In a government building no.

      • Lorin Chane Partain

        There are other forms of accountability besides government force, which is only good for punishing rapists, murderers, and thieves.

      • bytebear

        How is that any different than it is now?

      • Guest

        As far as I am aware, child support is independent of marriage or divorce. The respective father/mother in question pays, simple. Even unmarried couples are faced with this potential.

        Also, Libertarianism as far as I know stands on the grounds of left alone, leave alone. Abandoning someone with your child(children) is not leaving them alone, therefore, I reason it is fair and just to require the support of the abandoned offspring by said respective parent.

        • Frank Swart

          I think every person should have some libertarian beliefs, but you also need some laws and structure in society to protect everyone’s rights. Morality, the ten commandments, and human dignity used to be one’s guidelines for living – like do unto others, love your neighbor, respect other’s space. If everyone lived by those standards, no problem, but where is that place?
          The libertarian idea to live and let live is not accompanied by sound moral judgment, in my opinion. It is more of “let me do what I want, stay out of my life, if it feels good I’m going to do it (like smoking pot, which is high on the list of libertarians). Even God has set limits and rules of how we must live, or bare the consequences. If you want to leave marriage, gambling, public nudity, same sex marriage, or any other “controlled” activity up to some weird church group, or some lawyer, or the local child molester, go ahead – just realize there are consequences.

          • Eric McCann

            Slippery slope, Government is not moral. Not everyone believes in God. God gave men choice to live as they choose within reason. All drugs should be decriminalized. Government force has not worked, and it will never work. God gave people the natural sovereign right to their bodies, and morality is between man and God, not man and man, when it comes to drugs. The object of the church is to save that which was lost, not force people to believe and adhere to what it says. The best way to educate people on morality, is to get government out of involving itself in it. You can argue the God point if you want to, just note that whatever judgement you think you might be right on with forced morality, the bible doesn’t teach it, and true believers do not subscribe to that mentality.

    • s1974x

      Don’t get too excited because this is not likely to get much traction. The extreme Left controls the major parts of the media (case in point you found out about it on a fairly obscure website) and the gay marriage thing has been a great distraction for the far Left. They add it to their portfolio of ad hominem attacks against those who say such “racist” things as “Obamacare is a disaster” and “sexist” things like “the government should cut back on expenses”. According to the narrative, gay people are forced to live apart and not love the people they love because they are unable to get that paper document from the government that the very same people in the 80s claimed wasn’t necessary to prove love when cohabitation became popular (but I digress…) It’s a great sob story and the Left loves to bully people into silence with this issue. They are not going to give it up because they’ve already stretched the “racist” thing to absurdity and the “sexist” thing never really gets much traction.

      It will be very easy for them to make it so that this 3rd position simply does not exist.

  • Perso Nasplit

    We/They arent tring to BAN all marriage, just not have government approve a marriage.

    • anonymouse

      Another way of putting it could be that they want to “legalize unlicensed marriages”.

      • GRusling

        I’ve got bad news for you – they’re already legal so get over it…

        • Roger Northup

          Slavery was legal, too. Lucky that we just didn’t get over it, huh?

        • KDB

          Not in the State of Oklahoma. Only 9 states recognize common law marriage – and Oklahoma is not one of them.

    • minime13

      No, they are trying to place the institution of marriage under religious control.

      Huge difference.

      • Jim Tocci

        So join the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Buy a pasta strainer and have a nice Pastafarian wedding.

      • Frank Swart

        Churches don’t need or want legal control over a marriage. They perform religious celebrations and ceremonies (some call it a sacrament). Any legal authority granted by the state is to confirm that the civil union took place. They have no power after that.

      • TJN

        You’re making that up. They are doing no such thing

      • icknortonmountain

        Which is where it belonged all the time.

      • Perso Nasplit

        it IS religious. If you want to marry 2 dudes or 2 chicks, or even 100 dudes to 100 chicks in one “marriage” start up the Church of Minime13, and marry away to your hearts content. But dont expect any sharing of property rights, any tax benefits, or anything provided by the state. Government has no business regulating morality, and that includes marriage. Civil contracts between consenting adults? Absolutely.

  • SmartL

    I would rather the government didn’t have it’s nose in my personal relationships.

  • M C

    Not only that but it would also keep bills like the one in Colorado from dominoing all over every other state as well. The bill in CO being discussed now, wants all couples to be forced into a class before marrying. If you flunk, you can’t get married.

  • Charles Barfield

    I don’t believe that this would pass because too many legislators are attorneys in private practice, and would be shooting themselves in the foot when it came to lost money from the ‘Divorce” industry, which brings on another question. If people could be married without state intervention, how would they get divorced?

    • Christopher Hitchler

      Marriage is sacred (or it’s supposed to be). People would take more seriously without legal ramifications. I doubt there would be as much divorce.

      • minime13

        On the contrary. The expense of divorce is a pretty big motivator for married couples to work out their differences instead of threatening divorce at every turn. If you take all legal ramifications out of it, then you would probably increase both marriage and divorce rates.

    • I think this idea is garnering popular support especially from the religious right. It’s long been a libertarian concept, but it’s never been proposed in practice until now. I fully welcome it and glad to see elements of the traditional right slowly realizing this.

    • Eric_D_Read

      Sounds to me like they would just substitute a generic legalese term in place of “marriage” wherever there is a legal question about marriage currently exists, such as next-of-kin situations, family insurance policies, IRS filings, etc.

  • Robert Middleton

    It is a religious ceremony… or not if that be the person’s belief. Why should this be a contract? Do you make a contract with your friends to be friends? This is a key Libertarian battle… nowhere in the Constitution does it give the power over marriage… if anything it speaks against that power in the 1st Amendment. It also opens up same sex marriage in that state… basically if they can find a church to do it, it will happen…. or they may just be able to deem themselves married.. It does, however, open up a LOT of tax implications.

    • minime13

      The way this reads, the attempt here is to place the institution of marriage under religious control. The way marriage is currently regarded, as a legal and binding contract between 2 persons, the 1st Amendment has nothing to do with it. However, when you attempt to place it under the control of the church, you clearly violate the 1st Amendment, because you establish the church as a governing authority.

      • Robert Middleton

        That is the point.. it should not be a government contract. How were marriages began? Not through the government. They are purely religious. The government has just gotten its hands in the cookie jar in order to get revenues from them… in many ways, cost of license, taxes, divorce payments (to the court/state) and any number of other incidental ways. If the government regulates, why are they performed in churches at all? What gives that church the right to perform this government action? If it is the government then that is the problem. And, btw… in many churches the are governing authorities over their congregations. Since when does the church not have the authority to govern its congregation?

        • Frank Swart

          It has no control over it’s congregation other than to refuse rites or services. Marriage laws in the U.S. are there to protect the rights of a family, not the individual. If you want to leave your wife and kids, they need financial protection for one.

          • marg

            That is not correct that a church has no control over the congregation. They have congregational votes, it is the members of the church body that decide what the church will spend it’s money on, etc. The governing boards of the church are given responsibility to pay the bills etc., The church boards (such as the deacon board, or elders as some call them) can move to remove someone from the church as well. Pastors are also given to decide who they will or will not perform marriages for, etc. The congregation itself is made up of the individuals, they are the ones who vote people in, or out, and decide what will or will not happen within the church walls. So yes, the congregation governs itself. Then you also have churches which function under the guidance and authority of the denomination of which it belongs. (there are different kinds of ways denominations work) Methodist churches build and maintain their church buildings but it is the denomination itself that controls if they sell it or not, etc. Some denominations also control the pastors salary, etc. So you can not make a blanket statement like that without knowing which denomination you are dealing with.

          • TJN

            None of that changes why do you keep saying that?

          • Eric McCann

            Marriage by the state is not required to get financial protection for families. The states recognize non-married couples with children as families as well. Child support starts as soon as a child is born, and the father isn’t in the home if the mother requests it, and the father submits to dna testing if he denies kinship

          • Eric McCann

            Families do not have rights to government subsidies, if you can’t support a family, do not have kids.

    • Frank Swart

      But government controls over marriage are older than America, and the licensing and legalities granted to married people are as old as the census. (Joseph had to take his betrothed Mary to Bethlehem to enroll). In this country the legal implications came as government taxation and benefit programs ensued.

      • TJN

        I don’t care how long we’ve been doing the wrong thing wrong is still wrong

      • SimJim

        Now you sound like the people against gay marriage invoking marriage history. This solves everything…any kind of marriage that an individual wants to involve themselves is fine. Politicians need not approve anything.

      • orsidigital

        the census had/has nothing to do with marriage then or now. & unlike now back then your wedding was your business and no one else’s but the religion you were a member of, or not.

    • SimJim

      Right…the tax implications are that they can no longer discriminate people because they aren’t in relationships or they aren’t in relationships politicians like.

  • GRusling

    Why on earth should “government” have anything at all to say about marriage? What happens when they deny someone a license? Don’t they all simply move in and live together, anyway?

    Oklahoma has come up with a good solution to a problem which should never have existed. Just eliminate all “Laws” which pertain to marriage and be done with it…

    • anonymouse


      “Government” includes the courts, and the courts adjudicate contract disputes, therefore there will always be a place for government in marriage.

      • Layla Godey

        But that’s a legal contract which doesn’t have to be confined to marriage in the first place. You could delegate power of attorney or establish who will inherit your property without being married to anyone. The courts can still recognize those if they are drawn up by an attorney.

    • minime13

      Because marriage is a legal contract that two people enter into.

  • Alicia Clark


  • Layla Godey

    The state ( and progressives who are upset over this) should show why the government Should be involved in marriage, rather than people having to defend their position as to why the government should be out of it.

    “Yet Oklahoma progressives are outraged by the proposal, which they say is an underhanded trick to avoid legal recognition of same-sex marriage.” It doesn’t matter whether it is or isn’t-the goal, as progressives have repeated over the years, was *equality*-the goal was not to establish/maintain the government’s authority over marriage. No official recognition of marriage Is equality…it’s secular, and it’s keeping government out of the bedroom (and keeping churches out of the bedroom through the use of government). The government has no business telling people who they can or cannot marry because it is a private decision, not to be defined for gays by the church, nor to be defined for the church by the government-and on this, both the Democrat and Republican, the conservative and the liberal, the progressive and the libertarian, should all agree.

    • minime13

      Simple. Because you are legally declared family, you get tax benefits, you get medical benefits and other benefits that single cohabitants do not get. You are federally recognized as related.

      It’s always been regulated by a government institution, but the only difference is that churches used to be government institutions, and that is where you filed your marriage license. The church didn’t create marriage, therefore it cannot take ownership of it. This would, in effect, give ownership of marriage to the Church, thus shattering separation of church and state.

      Go ahead and waste all this taxpayer money in your attempt to keep gay marriage from being recognized in your state, Oklahoma. You will be taken to court again because this is clearly un-Constitutional.

      • Layla Godey

        That’s a problem with the tax code-not something that should be addressed by trying to define for millions of different people what marriage is. .

        • minime13

          Not all of those benefits are tax code issues. There is only the federal tax benefit. What about the recognition of family? That is pretty important, in the events of life and death.

          It seems to be an attempt to declare the institution of marriage to be a religious control, and an attempt to hand over the institution of marriage to the church. That is a clear violation of the 1st Amendment.

          • Layla Godey

            Who’s denying the family? Children of single parents aren’t “unrecognized”, why would any others be? They can still be declared dependents on your tax returns whether you are gay, straight, or in no relationship at all.

          • minime13

            Children are born into a family – they are related at birth. There is no comparison there. However, if you really want to try to compare children with marriage, in the aspect of declaring kin, you do have to fill out a birth certificate naming parents that you file with the state.

            The legal recognition of “kin” plays an important part in death and those benefits, as well as health and hospital visitation rights, among others.

          • Layla Godey

            The birth certificate is that “kin” recognition. As far as hospital visitation rights, that’s a legal issue that can already be addressed through an attorney or an executor -cohabiters, both gay and straight, can do that already.

          • minime13

            Yeah, that you have to file with the state. You are the one that was arguing that children are recognized without legal kindship, which that is clearly incorrect.

            So, basically, you are adding more steps outside of a non-recognized marriage in order protect the rights of the not-legally-married couple. That’s not a win for anyone.

          • Layla Godey

            Huh??? You have to go the state for a marriage license in the first place. What is the difference if you make a will with an attorney instead?

          • minime13

            Okay, are you not understanding the ramifications of declaring marriage as a private institution without state intervention?

            I think that the process of filing a license with the state would be axed.

            What if you don’t have a will prepared? Not everyone lives to their golden ages. People die unexpectedly. Sure, it’s something that everyone should do, but not everyone does.

            As far as hospital visitation and other visitation and statutory rights, you would create additional paperwork and hassle for married couples.

            Let’s make this perfectly clear – if this were to pass, marriage would, effectively, no be recognized in the state because it would take the legal binding out of it. It certainly would not be recognized outside of the state (I’m not sure if there is a grandfather clause attached to this, or if it would make all marriages null and void). And all of this to fix what problem? The gay marriage problem?

            I think we have to first be honest with the motivations behind this in order to see the true cause and effects of it.

          • Layla Godey

            And so, because it’s something everyone should do but some don’t, that’s your reasoning for the state being involved in defining marriage for everyone? What are Your motivations, exactly? Every couple, both gay and straight, if they want their significant other to be the inheritor of their property in the event of death, or have power of attorney for medical decisions if necessary, would all have to go through the same procedures. It doesn’t get any more equal than that.

          • minime13

            It’s a legal contract.

          • Layla Godey


          • SimJim

            It’s amazing to witness the verbal juggling of the defenders of politician endorsed marriage. Everything you said makes perfect sense. People get married which initiates a contract. Now they’ll still have the option of initiating a contract through the government if that’s their thing, but it won’t require approval by politicians.

            So what is this gay marriage really about? I thought it was about equality? Getting government out of marriage makes every single one of us equal. Not married people getting special benefit…yet the same people who screamed about equality are now fighting against equality. Was it all a lie?

  • pup

    YES!!! About time the REAL debate got started! Free people do not need government permission to marry!

    • Frank Swart

      Most want the benefits that a government/legal marriage provides, such as rights of inheritance, social security benefits, and joint filing rights. Are you willing to sacrifice those rights for your right to choose a partner?

      • TJN

        Why doee the old ugly barren lady have to pay more taxes because she cant find a husband or have children?

  • justapatriot

    This is a great way to handle this matter. It is not now or ever has been the purview of the Federal Government to regulate this.

  • Nate

    Government is only in marriage because of tax loopholes. Until that time, marriages were written in family Bibles and the government did not interfere. There is no reason for the state to regulate any kind of marriage.

    • minime13

      No. Marriage has always been in governmental control. The difference between history and our current government is the a religion was established as a governing entity.

      This country makes no establishment of any religion as a governing entity, therefore the institution of marriage remains under control of a governing entity.

      • Layla Godey

        They haven’t always been in governmental control. They were originally private contracts.

        • minime13

          Yes. They. Were. The difference being that it was filed with a Church, which was recognized as a governing authority, historically speaking. I could not have made that more clear with not only this, but another reply specifically to you.

          Your failure to read fact does not erase fact.

          • Layla Godey

            “For most of Western history, marriage was a private contract between two families. Until the 16th-century, Christian churches accepted the validity of a marriage on the basis of a couple’s declarations. If two people claimed that they had exchanged marital vows—even without witnesses—the Catholic Church accepted that they were validly married.

            Some states in the US hold that public cohabitation can be sufficient evidence of a valid marriage. Marriage license application records from government authorities are widely available starting from the mid-19th century. Some are available dating from the 17th century in colonial America.[2] Marriage licenses have been required since 1639 in Massachusetts, with their use gradually expanding to other jurisdictions.[3]” -Wikipedia

            — In the US, the church does not have authority-I’m quite sure you understand That fact, right? Or are you arguing that marriage be defined by the government based on the church’s historical use/definition, as some who are opposed to gays being married believe it should be-you don’t really want to go that route, do you???

  • Paul Allen

    Note that government regulated marriage (here in the US) was originally implemented to regulate inter-racial marriage. Regulation was wrong then, it is wrong now. I person’t body is his or hers, and what they do with it is up to them as long as it does not harm another or infringe upon another’s rights.

    • rogerfgay

      No, that’s not why government in the US originally regulated marriage. That’s pure propaganda. If you’re actually for deregulation, than lay off the BS. The honest case is a good one.

      • Paul Allen

        No, not propaganda. If I could post my history course lectures (recordings) I would. Do some research and you will find that originally, marriage was not regulated by the US, and some states had laws, but many were with regard to interracial marriage. By the 1920’s, 38 states prohibited interracial marriage. Allowing the Fed. to regulate it is unconstitutional. The Founders wanted nothing to do with it and left it to the People and States to figure out. At the time of the colonies, co-habitation was enough in many places, and by and large the church would perform and bless a union.

        Nuff said.

        • rogerfgay

          Marriage licenses were even used in colonial America, and that history carried over to the US as much of British common law did.

    • Do you have any evidence to support your claim marriage was originally implemented to regulate interracial relationships? That seems unlikely since government recognized marriage goes all the way back the Mesopotamians

  • ThsIsNotReal22

    Too bad religious conservatives have waited far too long to see the light on this issue. If Christians had given up marriage as a legal institution back when they still had control, it would have been seen as a good gesture. But Christians fought to keep marriage a legal institution and have it all their way, and now only support giving up the legal institution now that they are losing the legal battle. Not surprised that the left won’t accept it at this point. Christians pushed a statist view of marriage all this time, and now that liberals have the upper hand, they want their piece of the statist use of force. I am surprised at the ACLU though, they ought to be smarter than this.

    • Rajaat99 .

      Nice try, but here’s one Christian who always said that marriage is a right, not a privilege to be handed out by the state.

      • ThsIsNotReal22

        I am also a christian, and yes I agree with you. Sorry, I should have used the expression “social conservatives” rather than Christians because I realize there are many libertarian Christians. But unfortunately the church at large has tried to use political power to push a statist definition of marriage for at least the last decade. If they had not done that, this all never would have had to be a legal argument and we’d all be more free today.

        • rogerfgay

          I spent 10 years studying this issue in depth (1990-2000) and am happy that this discussion is underway. I have used the term “social conservatives” many times to describe the group that hopped on the far left bandwagon to destroy the institution of marriage by over-politicizing it / federalizing it. Marriage was recognized as a private institution until P.O.P.S. v Gardner (9th Cir. 1993), a case in which I acted as an expert witness. The 9th Cir. Appellate Court redefined marriage as a public institution, “social policy”. That turned it into a federal policy, subject to arbitrary political control. As such, all civil rights protections previously set out to protect the institution from arbitrary government intrusion disappeared. Same-sex couples in some states have gained access to the word “marriage”, while no one in the US any longer has the legal status of traditional (meaning with previously established civil rights) marriage.

        • Rajaat99 .

          I see your point, but it’s not a churches job to push liberty. Churches push morality, which shouldn’t be regulated. I don’t blame churches, they’re just doing what they think is morally best. The state should be the one who pushes liberty.

  • Letsgo

    Now will the gov’t force churches to not deny anyone who would like to get married? What will atheists or the like do if they can’t find a church who will marry them? W

    • Regular Boy

      No self-respecting atheist would want a church marriage anyway.

  • And we throw every divorce attorney under the bus with this act. Finally people are waking up to the fact that the $30 license is meaningless to the state. They make a fortune in court costs, as well as the attorney’s who rake it in $30-50k per pop when a couple divorces. There will be an easier route created once the state is not involved.

  • VernonBlack

    This has been my position for decades. When I was a young man I got married and even then I was repulsed that I had to ask “permission” from the government to get marry! Hell I didn’t even ask my parents for that!

  • Frank Swart

    Too much money is involve, especially handling the legal divorce matters, when marriages break up. Lawyers won’t let that happen. Churches and businesses, however, should not have their rights infringed on when refusing to marry or provide services to anyone – same sex or heterosexual. A priest or minister’s legal authority under the state does not compel them to provide their services. If it is ruled differently, then the church should surrender the legal authority and perform only a religious ceremony. We cannot saddle the church with any legal responsibilities beyond pronouncing a couple married.

  • FullAdder

    Took long enough, this was always the obvious solution. If people want a legal relationship they can do it with a contract, contract law applies to everyone in the exact same way.

  • Auntie_Social


  • William

    I’m almost beyond words that the left has come against this so hard (hard enough to blatantly lie about the intent of the law). Do they not understand that this would prevent any attempt to stop gay marriage?

    The fact that the ACLU is against this is mind boggling.

  • dakar34

    Marriage “licenses” were never required until appx 100 years ago. They were created at that time in order to tell people who they COULDN’T marry. Before then marriage was a private choice, requiring no state approval.

  • Hugh Beaumont

    Notice the instant attempt to pervert. “Lawmakers Consider Preventing All Marriages in Oklahoma”. This should let you know whom you’re up against.

  • Clint Hamilton

    Get rid of the marriage license requirement and just stick to a public recording that a marriage took place. It’s called common law marriage.

    • CEvonK

      By definition, a common-law marriage is an UN-recorded marriage.

  • TJN

    In what world would the ACLU be against this? I’m hoping the spokesperson was speaking on their own behalf. There should be no liability nor benefit for being married by the government.

  • Phillip

    As a christian minister in a mainline denomination I’ve been saying this for years. It’s not a stunt and it was the way marriage as an institution was up until a couple hundred years ago within all types of faith backgrounds.

  • august589

    The TV piece is SO slanted! The legislation is not seeking a ban on marriage; it’s seeking to get the government out of the marriage business since it doesn’t belong there in there in the first place! If the government wants to allow couples of whatever stripe to “join together” legally, so be it. However, it’s not marriage. The government has no business redefining what it didn’t originally define. Leave marriage to churches and other religious organizations and get the government out of it!

  • Kougetsu Barakage

    It doesn’t matter if the government recognizes marriage or not. They really have no power over the sacred covenant of true marriage…its just really been about IRS tax code which is fraudulent as it is. However, letting the government change the definition of marriage for the sake of the gay lobby is ridiculous. Better to have them out of people’s marriages then the other way around.

  • Kathy Loki

    “Regulate” is the wrong word. The state’s involvement is just like a witness to a contract. Nothing more. Sure, there are cultural rules that make their way to law because it is simpler that way, for instance, party willingness and age appropriateness. There’s nothing absurd or crazy about being of sound mind and body when you get married! Then there’s tax ride offs, that’s really what all this is about. Gay’s want to pay less taxes and Straight’s don’t want to rock the boat. Well everybody, the truth is that if two people want to get together an’t nobody in the world can stop them. But if two people want to get divorced…that’s where things get ugly, and a third party is helpful.

  • Arti

    Marriage is a religious institution, the government must follow the Constitution, and treat everyone equally. All unions, between consenting adults, should be civil unions in the eyes of the government.

  • icknortonmountain

    Yes and I say YES!! The church never should have let this one go. It is the ultimate example of state interference in church matters. Wow, I have been saying this for some time. Marriage is of God and the state is not Him! All the state wants is the $$ side of marriage, death and divorce, etc.
    As for homosexual “marriage”, let them have at it. If a “church” wants to go against one of the basic principals of the Bible(remember Jesus spoke of the divorcement of a man and woman-no mention of any other union), let that church do that thing and not have the state’s skirts to hide behind.

  • Nonsense. This kid is an idiot who hasn’t thought this through at all. Marriage is more than a religious ceremony. It is a legal contract between two people. It involves property rights, medical decisions, parenting, business, taxes, insurance and about ten thousand other things. It is, as most conservatives delight in pointing out, the foundation of society. And this kid wants to get rid of it? He is an IDIOT! Just imagine the chaos that would ensue. And to those that say any problems can be resolved by making separate agreements for each different issue I say you are an idiot too. How much time and money would it cost to make separate contracts for each and every possible contingency that is already covered by marriage? You could change the name and call it “civil unions” but it would still be marriage with a different name. And since the equal protection clause of the constitution would still apply gays would still be eligible for it. Likewise if the state halted marriage but agreed to recognize marriages performed in other states the equal protection clause would require the state to recognize gay marriage as well as straight marriage so it would still make no difference. But the dumbest thing about all this is this kid will only hurt religious people who want to marry but believe “living in sin” is wrong. If you say they can still get a religious wedding that’s true but it would have NO force of law and they would still suffer from all the problems stated above. No this bill is just plain STUPID and no amount of rhetoric will change that

    • 100_honors

      No…you are stupid. In your mind, an all-inclusive, single word (or civil document, i.e. marriage license) “Marriage”, encompasses all those reportedly difficult areas of contracts. That is absurd.
      What Oklahoma and all other levels of government (Federal, state , county, parish, city) should do is eliminate any official recognition of marriage whatsoever and substitute CIVIL Union (an official document of declaration that covers all that a Marriage License currently covers and which would require dissolution if the parties which to dissolve the declaration). The Civil Union, finalized by a governmental official as recognized by the government, would grant to all holders (with no restriction other than age limits and that both participants be humans) would grant unto that couple all the rights and privileges currently afforded currently legally married couples. This would eliminate any and all arguments from the liberals and gays about governmental recognized equality.
      If a couple wished to be “married” let them go to their respective religion to obtain their blessing in whatever manner the religion deems appropriate. If the gays disagree, let them take on the Catholic Church and see who wins!
      What the liberal left and the gays are doing with their protests is showing that they are not really looking for equal benefits and “equality” before the law, they are trying to force everyone to recognize that their chosen (or forced) lifestyle is natural, normal or as loving (or any other term you wish) as any heterosexual marriage. And, quite frankly, that isn’t true! And to be blunt, until such time as two women or two men naturally conceive (notwithstanding and totally irrelevant that all married couples have or want to conceive), it will remain true!

      • I’m sorry but you’re a moron. The legal definition of marriage would stay the same even if you changed the name to civil union. Nor would it somehow exempt the state from complying with the equal protection clause of the constitution. The Catholic Church may only decline to perform the ceremony. They do NOT have the legal authority to prevent anyone from getting married and those marriages they do perform must adhere to the law as defined by the state. That you apparently are unaware of these facts indicates you have absolutely NO idea what you’re talking about

      • One more thing. Even if your ridiculous claims were true (which of course they are NOT) it would still mean this idiotic law would be unconstitutional because if marriages were restricted to religious institutions then the state still could not ban them because that would be a violation of the 1st amendment which CLEARLY states the government cannot interfere with religion.

        But of course your claims ARE ridiculous. When you state; “What Oklahoma and all other levels of government (Federal, state , county, parish, city) should do is eliminate any official recognition of marriage whatsoever and substitute CIVIL Union (an official document of declaration that covers all that a Marriage License currently covers and which would require dissolution if the parties which to dissolve the declaration). The Civil Union, finalized by a governmental official as recognized by the government, would grant to all holders (with no restriction other than age limits and that both participants be humans) would grant unto that couple all the rights and privileges currently afforded currently legally married couples.” all you are really doing is changing the name because as you yourself say it would “afford the SAME rights and privileges” so the ONLY difference would be in what you call it. That makes it nothing more than a NAME change. And if there is NO difference between them then the SAME constitutional requirements would STILL apply

  • SimJim

    Who said “ban”? You can still get married without politicians being involved. I’m married and could give a rat’s behind if the government approves of my marriage or not. Plus, why do married people get tax and civil benefit single people don’t get? That’s the real discrimination. Oklahoma rocks!

    • Ron Mexico

      Because real marriage encourage responsible procreation.

      • SimJim

        Do gays procreate? Do single people procreate? Do polygamous people procreate?

  • Lorin Chane Partain

    Ban on all marriage? So marriage is not really marriage without the government permission slip? Please. It has been around for far longer then this or any current government in power today.

  • Bob Deveny

    I presume then that this would end ALL government recognition of “marriage”. No joint filing of taxes, no marital deductions, no laws regarding disposition of property upon the dissolution of a marriage? You get the picture.

  • gw111

    I didn’t read in this article , but I have seen others where it was pointed out that there was a time when we didn’t license marriage in this country. Abe Lincoln, George Washington and for that mater no one had a license up till that time.

  • Stephen Hooton

    Don’t worry guys, this isn’t an attack on queers, it’s to keep women from robbing their husbands in family court so we don’t have a bunch of criminals raised by single mothers.

  • bytebear

    The liberal reaction just shows that it’s not about civil rights but about forcing churches to accept their rules.

    • Ron Mexico

      Replace rules with perversion behavior in your sentence.

  • Ron Mexico

    It’s a good idea in theory, but not sure if it would work. Unless we alter the tax code to a flat tax.

    It would definitely render pervert union as what it truly is, a sickening farce.

  • Divine Lush

    If you believe marriage by state is the correct way to marry then you don’t know the principle order of what marriage is if you believe in the bible or call yourself a christian. Government was meant to be separated from marriage anyway. Endless you want government allowed to take your children or possessions. A marriage license is really a contracted gov agreement between your union, government, and then at the least is God. When it should be God, Marriage and the Family union. The kids you then have could be there possession because of this contract. so YES! Go for it Oklahoma! Would be good if there was a way for a family union certificate to prove a marriage is established just for legal reasons and benefits. I don’t believe asking for permission to get married by license is the correct way. Here in the state of NY for example to get married to someone that is not a citizen you need to prove your a real couple. Ask yourselves is that any of there damn business? The law is there when you need to settle something if no one can come to an agreement it is treated just like a marriage. True facts.

  • Don Sebold

    It’s another money scam for government

  • Justin Thyme

    Thats whats wrong with this country. The satanic menu of immorality is being promoted and you asleep libtards will soon support human and animal marriage. Guess your parents did not send you to church. Bible distinctly said marriage is between a man and a woman and not the same sex. Its not a discriminatory thing, but fact, text, and scripture. I do not care if you call me a bible thumper.

    Genesis 2:18-24

    1 Corinthians 7:1-5

    This country is going away from common sense values and plunging into immorality. People want to sue people for doing them a good deed. People are concerned about there “color” and how they are not getting enough “rights”. It goes on. Study one anothers culture and it will enable all to get along.

    • Kraven

      While I personally do not disagree with your biblical account of marriage. I think that our country needs to get Marriage back into the purview of Churches and not the government. Civil unions will do fine for government and any gays that want to get married could simply go Episcopal.

  • s1974x

    I came to this conclusion years ago thought that I was the only one who felt this way. The marital status of an individual ought to have no meaning to the government whatsoever. People have “BFFs” without needing state recognition.

    This obsession the Left has with Gay Marriage has nothing to do with “legislating love” as the Left wants you to believe (they like twisting things like that), it’s all about legislating acceptance of a specific kind of relationship due to the difficulty in earning that acceptance. Basically proponents of Gay Marriage are trying to achieve through legislation something they have been unable to earn as of yet (but may at some time)

    Also, and not to generalize, but gays tend to be on the extreme far Left politically and anyone that far Left instinctively wants government involvement in everything. So naturally it has to be highly offensive to them that the thing they hold most dear, the government, is not recognizing their relationships.

    When you think about it almost all of the reasons people want to expand the legal definition of marriage is that this forced acceptance will result in more free goodies from their employer and government.

  • In legal cases such as healthcare, property rights and such you can merit a civil contract that handles those matters. Marriage itself will be handled by whatever religious institution you attend. Point is that I don’t need a legal document that says I’m married.

  • Kraven

    I totally agree the Government has comandeered Marriage and has for a long time. Marriage is a religious institution and has been since before there was writen law. I think that it would be fine for state governments to incorporate a Civil union for all that would cover any government issues related to marriage such as wills, insurance and taxes etc. and leave marriage to churches. This would do 2 things it would get rid of all of the gay marriage debates because gays could simply either join a church that supports marrying gays or start their own church and everybody who wanted to get their union legalized would have to get a civil union too. Marriage should not be a part of government and Government should thus stay out of the Bedroom.

  • Ram Rama

    Get the government out of the marriage business.

  • TheWholeTruth

    I’m seeing a lot of comments talking about who’s going to do what? as if the are lost without government direction. Back when there were no licenses to get married (and actually, in Arkansas you don’t have a ‘licenses’ you have a ‘certificate’ or a ‘coupon’) the only thing that was written was the writ of divorce. The HUSBAND wrote that and gave it to the wife for her to carry proving she was, in face, divorced. Now days, either could write that. Sure, I know, it would be to much to ask today for someone not to go off half cocked and write one then regret it. Well GUESS WHAT! It’s time we stopped being ‘children’ and started being adults responsible for our own actions. We do not need a Nanny!

  • Paul Wardell

    I don’t get it. How does being agnostic about marriage translate into a ban on marriage?

  • Ulfric Thorsson

    How about we keep The Church out of it?! How about we tell the homophobic control freaks to STFU!

  • Del Sharp

    Even more direct, and productive: Pledge your loyalty to the 1791 Constitution, and disavow the 1871 corporate charter created to govern D.C. that mimics the Constitution.

  • turibe

    Mike Turner is a Democrat. Is the article correct in saying that Republicans are pushing the bill? I can’t find much about this story except the same tired hyperbole that “OMEGOSH OkOLOHMA WNATS TO BAN DA MARIAGEZ!!1”

    • Just like “marriage” has to be qualified with “gay” or “traditional”, so “republican” nowadays has to be qualified with “progressive” or “constitutional”. So your question is difficult to answer.

  • Inconsistencies

    I don’t care about the gay angle of the story. I just want less government. If it benefits gays, good for them.

    • Josh Corrington

      less government benefits everyone.. even the Gays will see that soon enough..

  • Josh Corrington

    People want the government “Benefits” of marriage, if you are getting married for the sake of getting more free shit… you’re marrying for all the wrong reasons. IDC what gender you prefer.

  • Oddly enough, there was a time when government didn’t get involved in marriages. This was, IIRC, a British thing where marriages needed to be state sanctioned and not just Church Approved.

    The main reason that government got involved was to be able to collect more taxes and to regulate it more.

    By getting out of the “We must know when you get married” business, it allows ministers/preachers/Imams/Shoalin priests to marry folks without the government holding a gun to their heads saying “Either marry this couple, or, be jailed for discrimination.”

    I can see where it would allow ministers or other authorized people to perform same sex ceremonies and that is on them.

  • smarsh

    Great idea..the government should never have been involved in marriage in the first place.

  • Oilfart1

    I agree with the state NOT being involved in marriage. The only reason we involved government when we married, is it was REQUIRED by law. I would have been much more comfortable involving our church with that process.

    If the state stays out of that business, it is between those choosing to marry and their religious choice.

    I would be just fine if the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT got out of the marriage business. Strike all the laws that involve marriage and make all adults equal in the eyes of the law. You know, like the Constitution declares.

  • Larry Hall

    Wow I thought most people would be happy to get Gov out of their lives.But instead they want Gov to be in it all the way according to some on here.I would be glad to see I don’t nned Governments approval to get wed why should I need their blessing?

  • jay

    I’m not sure how this law is being proposed but I do support the idea of privatizing marriage meaning that you get the state of licensing, solemnizing, and directly defining marriage. Marriage could be permitted for legal purposes as a domestic contract that people could privately enter into. Now, gays should have equal rights meaning that is heterosexuals can contract to marry privately and have it enforced, gays would be able to as well.

  • N Martinez

    Anything that the ACLU HATES is a great idea!
    Count us in!!!!!!!!!