Our Mutual Distrust Society: Same-Sex Marriage Edition
Linky Friday #106 contains a story from earlier this week about a new bill in Oklahoma. The proposed Oklahoma law would say that Marriage Licenses are no longer issued by Court Clerks but are to be issued members of the clergy.
Huffington Post reads the bill as excluding people who do not belong to Judeo-Christian religions including Islam. Patheos thinks the bill will discriminate against same-sex couples and atheists. Reason wonders what Democrats and Same-Sex Marriage Advocates are complaining about.
The saving grace section reads: “Marriages not contracted by a formal ceremony pursuant to subsection A of this section may be acknowledged by filing an affidavit of common law marriage with the court clerk.”
The rest of section explains the contents of the affidavit and that it needs a stamp of a notary public.
This is the section that has Same-Sex Marriage advocates crying foul and murder and Reason wondering, “Hey, what’s the big deal?”
Unsurprisingly, I am on the Democratic and Same-Sex Marriage side. The Oklahoma Constitution currently bans same-sex marriage. I think that Oklahoma is anticipating that the Supreme Court is going to announce that bans against same-sex marriage are unconstitutional sometime in June of this year. This seems to be a way of doing a somewhat passive version of massive resistance against the nationalized legalization of same-sex marriage. Oklahoma is simply trying to find a way to make sure that its state officers and officials do not participate in same-sex marriages except in the most perfunctory of ways. There are other additional steps for same-sex couples because they will need to get a lawyer involved to draft the affidavit while heterosexual couples do not. I’ve needed to use notary publics before. They tend to dwell in very drab and depressing settings. County Courts tend to have some aesthetic charm and officiousness about them and the imprimatur of state support.
No one can predict the future but my guess is that the Supreme Court is likely going to rule that same-sex couples have a right to get married this spring. Every Supreme Court decision has gone towards gay rights since Romer v. Evans in 1996. However, I expect that many states are going to attempt variants of the same kind of massive resistance that were popular during the Civil Rights era especially because 2016 is a Presidential Election year and grandstanding against same-sex marriage is a good way to score red-meat points with the social conservative base of the Republican Party. We have already seen Florida clerks look for ways out of issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Other states are sure to follow.
I think this is what has Democratic voters and same-sex marriage advocates on edge. There is a long-history of mutual distrust and suspicion and this doesn’t seem like a graceful acceptance of losing on an issue but a way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. “We might have to recognize your licenses but we don’t like it and we will make the situation as boring and drab for you as possible!”
I am also not surprised that Reason is taking the side of Oklahoma. Reason might be a Libertarian magazine and not a social conservative magazine but they see Libertarianism as more closely aligned to conservatism and the Republican Party than they do to social liberalism and the Democratic Party. This causes them to take swipes at Democratic voters and their allies and also show elephant undies from time to time for Team Red. Reason’s stance here seems to be “Hey, this is getting government out of something and that’s great!!” They are not being very empathetic to the stance of a same-sex couples whose marriage is getting recognized in the most mealy-mouthed way humanly possible because Oklahoma is acting like a petulant teenager.