Oklahoma bill challenges legalization of same-sex marriage, receives House committee approval

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern | Facebook/Sally Kern

OKLAHOMA CITY, O.K. (Reuters) - An Oklahoma bill that prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars and government salaries for any activity in support of same-sex marriage -- including licensing-- was approved by committee and moved late last week to the House of Representatives for a vote.

The Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act, authored by Representative Sally Kern, (R), states that "No employee of this state and no employee of any governmental entity shall officially recognize, grant or enforce a same-sex marriage license."

According to the bill, doing so would strip them of their salary, pension and other employee benefits provided by the state and possibly even remove them from office. Language in the proposed legislation seeks to implement it "for the preservation of public peace, health and safety."

The bill is reportedly one of several intended to restrict same-sex marriages in the state after the unions were legalized there last year by a U.S. federal judge who overturned Oklahoma's ban on the unions.

Reuters reported Kern claimed the bill was intended to check the actions of the U.S. courts that overstepped their authority by forcing Oklahoma to recognize gay marriage.

"Just because three unelected officials, judges, have said that it's unconstitutional, who do we answer to?" she told OKCFOX in January. "Do we answer to the judges or do we answer to the people of the state of Oklahoma?"

Should the bill pass the House floor, it would then continue to a Senate committee.

In addition to this bill, Kern filed two other "Traditional Value Bills" for this legislative session but pulled one because it did not accomplish the desired purpose.