Saturday, 21 March 2015
It seems the U.S. tea party crazies, whom Australian Liberal and Nationals MPs and senators frequently emulate, have finally launched themselves into the political stratosphere.
The Hoopla 17 March 2015:
In an extraodinary step and one that show just how nasty conservative Christianity has become in the US – the State of Oklahoma has just passed a law in its lower house to ban marriage for atheists.
If passed by Oklahoma’s senate, Bill 1125 will mean that no secular marriage licences will be issued. All marriage licences will have to be approved by a member of the clergy. Under the proposal from Republican State Representative Todd Russ… , a marriage would have to be signed off by a preacher, minister, priest, rabbi or ecclesiastical dignitary (no marriage celebrants or judges here) – which would effectively restrict the right to marry to Christians and Jews.
About non-believers Russ said: “They don’t have a spiritual basis for a marriage and don’t want to have a clergy member or a priest or someone involved in the spiritual aspect, then they can file an affidavit of common-law marriage.”
(Except that, in an absurd twist, the State of Oklahoma doesn’t recognise common-law marriage.)…
At its Third Reading in the Oklahoma House of Representatives on 10 March 2015 Bill 1125 passed: Ayes: 67 Nays: 24.
The latest version of the bill does allow Oklahoma judges and retired judges to perform marriages. Otherwise the only persons who appear able to conduct marriage ceremonies under this bill are an ordained or authorized preacher or minister of the Gospel, priest or other ecclesiastical dignitary of any denomination who has been duly ordained or authorized by the church to which he or she belongs to preach the Gospel, or a rabbi and who is at least eighteen (18) years of age.
In addition the bill states; Marriages between persons belonging to the society called Friends, or Quakers, the spiritual assembly of the Baha'is, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or other assemblies which have no ordained minister, may be solemnized by the persons and in the manner prescribed by and practiced in any such society, church, or assembly.
Under this bill the marriage ceremony must now precede the granting of a marriage licence.
The Oklahoma Senate has not yet voted on the bill.
The State of Oklahoma has a land area of 68,594 sq miles, a population of est 3.8 million people and approximately 290 serving judges unevenly spread across the landscape.
Agnostics, atheists and same sex couples may have to travel some distance to find themselves a judge to perform their marriage ceremonies if this piece of legislative madness makes it into law.
The state issues over 27,000 marriage licences (and grants over 17,000 divorce decrees) each year in Oklahoma.
* Map of Oklahoma's 77 counties, cities & major highways from www.travelok.com