State Capitol, Oklahoma City – Senate Republican Floor Leader James A. Williamson, R-Tulsa, today introduced legislation, SJR 38, to send a “defense of marriage” constitutional amendment to a vote of the people.
“As President Bush noted in his State of the Union address, the sanctity of marriage is under assault from activist judges in America today,” Williamson said. “Amending our state Constitution is the best way we can ensure traditional marriage is protected here in Oklahoma.”
Williamson’s constitutional amendment would define marriage as “the union of one man and one woman,” and would prohibit the state from recognizing same-gender marriages performed in other states. The amendment also states, “Neither this Constitution nor any other provision of law shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.”
Williamson said despite recent remarks by Gov. Brad Henry that additional protections for marriage are not needed, Oklahoma is at risk of a court decision like last year’s ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage in that state.
“I asked the Senate’s general counsel to review the Massachusetts case to determine if an activist Oklahoma judge could make a similar ruling based on the working of our state Constitution. The answer was, yes, there is a risk that this type of ruling could occur in Oklahoma.
“This is why Oklahoma needs a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage. Republicans are appealing to Gov. Henry to change his mind about this important issue and join us in a bipartisan effort to constitutionally protect marriage in Oklahoma,” Williamson stated.
Williamson said he also supports legislation by House Republicans that encourages the U.S. Congress to provide federal constitutional protections for marriage.
“Protecting traditional marriage is one the most important social and moral issues of the day. Encouraging Congress to take action at the federal level is a very important part of protecting traditional marriage in the United States,” he stated.
Rep. Mike O’Neal, R-Enid, is the House co-author of SJR 38.