The leader of the State Senate said Thursday he doesn’t believe that recent decisions by the Massachusetts Supreme Court make gay marriage one of the most pressing issues facing Oklahoma.
Senate President Pro Tem Cal Hobson said Senate Minority Leader James A. Williamson’s assertions that Oklahoma’s 1996 Defense of Marriage Act is on the verge of being overturned are ill conceived.
“I disagree with Senator Williamson on the immediacy of this issue in our state. Oklahoma is not like Massachusetts. Our courts are not like their courts. Our judges are not like their judges. Suggesting that the Oklahoma Supreme Court would follow their example is an insult to our justices,” Hobson said.
Williamson, R-Tulsa, criticized Hobson Thursday for assigning SJR 38 by Williamson to the Senate Human Resources Committee chaired by Senator Bernest Cain, D-Oklahoma City.
“That’s the appropriate assignment for that legislation. Should it have been assigned elsewhere? Maybe Agriculture? Aerospace and Technology or Transportation? How about Tourism and Wildlife?” Hobson said.
The Senate leader said traditional marriage is not at risk in Oklahoma. No court challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act has been filed here and if such a case did go to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, it’s an absolute certainty that state justices would not overturn it, Hobson said.
“If he doesn’t have faith in the historically conservative Oklahoma Supreme Court, maybe he should file a lawsuit and let our court rule on this issue. If the Court rules our law un-constitutional, which I don’t believe they will, then this will be an issue in our state and we can move forward with the debate.
“At this point, however, the Minority Leader’s obsession with gay marriage borders on hysteria. There’s a mathematical probability that a comet will someday hit the earth and wipe out life as we know it. Senator Williamson’s logic would suggest that we start evacuating the planet now – just in case.
“I don’t think I’m going to do that. I’m going to stay here and work on the real issues facing our state like the fact that more than 600,000 Oklahomans don’t have health insurance,” Hobson said.
Hobson also responded to Rep. Mike O’Neil’s call for members of the Legislature to sign on as co-authors of House Joint Resolution 1042, O’Neil’s legislation calling for a Constitutional ban on same sex marriages.
“There’s nothing courageous about this legislation and it doesn’t take courage to act like a lemming. If members want to be courageous they should stand up for working poor in our state today who can’t afford health insurance. They should be willing to work on the issues that will make a real difference in the lives of Oklahomans,” Hobson said.