Recently, the Oklahoma state House passed a law that would effectively eliminate marriage licenses in the entire state. If the law passes the state Senate and is signed by the governor, then the state of Oklahoma will be the first state to effectively make marriage a private contractual matter and not one that concerns the government.
Already there are a lot of critics against the bill. It eliminates “gay marriage” or it prevents atheists from getting married. The truth is, nobody is losing their ability to get married in that state. What effectively happens is that you can still get married, just that it has to be a religious figure of some kind. Since atheists and agnostics don’t have a religion, they’d have to settle for someone willing to marry them off.
But I suspect that major opposition to this bill will come from Christian conservatives. This is because despite the bill effectively eliminating the gay marriage debate, it also removes a major cause from the Christian Right’s own movement.
Christian conservatives are often primarily focused on social issues rather than fiscal issues. They tend to vote for politicians who support their moral worldview through legislation. This is why abortion is still a major issue despite many attempts though legislation at both the state and Federal level to eliminate it. Christian movements need their causes to cling to.
I welcome this kind of legislation and I hope that it spreads to other states. It is insulting to me that you have to swear an oath to your own state before you swear an oath to God concerning you status as a married person. I know that isn’t much of a big deal to most Christians, but it is to me.
Social conservatives tend to believe that morality comes from the government you live under. In theory, this is simply not the case, especially when the people who run the government are the people you directly select via voting.
Instead, government enforces justice, which are moral infractions, but not morality itself. It is supposed to concern itself with resolving disputes and protecting its citizens from foreign invasion. Instead, many people have a huge stake in pushing government to enforce their will on others. This includes people who are supposedly in favor of limited government. Except for social issues. Or military spending. Or food regulation. Or clown cars.
It is very strange for Oklahoma to have passed this bill though with a 67 person majority. This is a libertarian approach to marriage, not a conservative one. But I am happy with them and I hope my state will do this in the future.