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Letters to the Editor

Marriage equality is up for grabs

Wanda Jo Stapleton April 3rd, 2013

“Equal Justice Under Law” is engraved on the front of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. To me, the phrase — when applied to marriage — means “marriage equality,” both same-sex marriage and heterosexual marriage.

The Supreme Court justices (in that very same Supreme Court building) are presently considering California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage. They are also considering the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

Interestingly, attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies jointly filed the federal lawsuit that brought the challenge of Prop 8 to the Supreme Court. The last time Olson and Boies argued before the court, it was against each other in the case of Bush v. Gore.

In 2004, the Oklahoma Legislature placed State Question 711 on the ballot.

It was passed by 75 percent of voters. The vote added a new section of law to the state constitution, defining marriage as between one man and one woman. It prohibits giving the benefits of marriage to people who are not married and provides that same-sex marriages in other states are not valid in Oklahoma. Finally, it makes issuing a marriage license in violation of this section a misdemeanor.

House Bill 2259 was the measure that placed SQ 711 on the ballot. The seven state senators who opposed it were all Democrats: Bernest Cain, Oklahoma City; Cal Hobson, Lexington; Maxine Horner, Tulsa; Angela Monson, Oklahoma City; Ben Robinson, Muskogee; Dick Wilkerson, Atwood; and Penny Williams, Tulsa. In my opinion, these senators voted on the right side of history, given the present change of attitude regarding gay marriage. There were no Republicans in opposition.

Representatives opposing HB 2259 in the House were all Democrats: Darrell Gilbert, Tulsa; M.C. Leist, Okmulgee; Judy Eason McIntyre, Tulsa, and Opio Toure, Oklahoma City. Again, there were no Republicans opposed to the bill.

In my opinion, it would be great if the justices struck down Proposition 8 and DOMA. As the saying goes, “It could happen!” If so, the court’s action would nullify SQ 711. Then the state legislators listed above will finally be recognized as heroes because they had the vision to vote in agreement with the U. S. Supreme Court.

—Wanda Jo Stapleton, Oklahoma City

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