Less than two weeks after a federal judge ruled unconstitutional a voter-sanctioned Oklahoma law that defines marriage as a union exclusively between heterosexual couples, state lawmakers are now considering banning all marriages to keep gay marriage illegal in the state.
"[My constituents are] willing to have that discussion about whether marriage needs to be regulated by the state at all," said Rep. Mike Turner (R-Edmund) who filed a bill seeking to ban all marriages in the state, according to News 9.
Turner said he also has the support of other conservative lawmakers.
When asked if he thought the idea was a realistic proposition, Turner said it would be a "realistic opportunity."
"That would definitely be a realistic opportunity, and it's something that would be part of the discussion," said Turner.
In a Jan. 14 ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Terence Kern said the court would not enforce the decision that gave homosexuals the right to marry in Oklahoma until the appeals process is complete. He was, however, very clear about the 2004 amendment to the Oklahoma state constitution that made it illegal for gays to marry.
"The Court holds that Oklahoma's constitutional amendment limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution," wrote Kern in his decision while pointing out that protection "is at the very heart of our legal system," according to a CNN report.
Kern noted that "Part A" of the Oklahoma Constitutional amendment that says, "marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman." That definition he said revealed "irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a government benefit," because it "purposefully (drew a line) between two groups of Oklahoma citizens — same-sex couples desiring an Oklahoma marriage license and opposite-sex couples desiring (a) marriage license."
Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the ACLU office in Oklahoma said the push by conservative lawmakers reflects how out of touch they are with their constituents and dismissed the bill as politics.
"I think that, especially with issues like this, [these lawmakers are] out of touch with most Oklahomans," said Kiesel, ACLU Oklahoma executive detector.
"Moving forward I think we'll see less efforts like this," added Kiesel.
Turner explained that he is also waiting on the decision on the ruling from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals before making his next move.
Reactions to the proposal have been met with scorn and derision on social media such as Facebook.
"Wow Mike Turner is really living on the edge. Maybe he needs to move to the backwoods where he evidently came from (or stick to his engineering background instead of public policy). The era of marriage equality is here and if you don't like it you can just move out there with him. The rest of us will enjoy the progress and prosperity that can only come from social tolerance and acceptance of your neighbor's right to live the way s/he chooses," wrote Robert Gallimore.
According to Ronda Stauch Hjorth, however, "Marriage is being mocked by the definition that some are giving it. Marriage is a spiritual covenant between a man and a woman. The government doesn't really need to be involved at all."