To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Monday, May 27, 2024


Oklahoma: Protector Of Marriage And The State’s Right To Be Your Yenta



Even before statehood Oklahoma was messing with the private lives of her citizens – marriage between “any person of African descent” and “any person not of African descent” was prohibited. The punishment was one-five years and up to a $500 fine in Oklahoma.

Native and African Americans were not allowed to marry each other, but it supposedly had to do with preventing African-Americans from getting oil subsidies. Too bad we couldn’t go by the laws of some Native Americans, since they have had same-sex marriage forever.

Oklahoma was the only state outside the Confederacy to need the Supreme Court to get rid of this law and it happened in June 1967. A popular vote of the people would not have overturned the inter-racial marriage laws in any of those 17 states, nor would a vote brought about equal rights.

Earlier this week a federal judge, Terence Kern – as far as I know not related to Sally “Gays Are Worse Than Terrorists” Kern – decided the law Oklahoma Yentas passed in 2004 is unconstitutional. The lawyer representing the Yentas is Byron Babione from the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is based in Arizona. That would be the alliance defending their freedom to deny you the freedom and benefits to marry whatever consenting adult will have you.

I guess no Oklahoma attorney would do and I am certain we have lawyers just as crazy, i.e. the AG.

Babione said that Judge Kern ignores the “time-tested and rational definition of marriage – affirmed by 76% of Oklahoma voters – and replaced replaces it with the recently conceived notion that marriage is little more than special government recognition for close relationships.”

That would be 76% of the 59% of Oklahoma voters who decided to vote that day. Not all eligible Oklahoma voters were even registered. It is a hell of a lot more than “special recognition” – it involves literally thousands of laws that depend on whether or not you are married.

I have no use for, nor will I ever forgive, anyone who did not vote on that day. I am still holding a grudge, the size of Texas, against the Democrats in the Legislature who voted to put it on the ballot.

Civil Rights is something that should never come up for a popular vote, which is why we have the Bill of Rights. It is there to protect the minority from the majority. The majority is not always correct.

The Oklahoma Yentas don’t even believe the majority is always correct which is why they keep trying to nullify the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. The U.S. House is so convince the majority is wrong that they have voted dozens of times to defy the wishes of the majority. It is Democratic majorities that are always wrong.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said, “I am disappointed in the judge’s ruling and troubled that the will of the people has once again been ignored by the federal government.” The will of 79% of the 59% of the registered voters who decided to shove their will off on other taxpaying, consenting adults.

Don’t you just love states’ rights? They do not like the Feds telling them what they can and can’t do to their citizens, but they think it is OK for the state to tell taxpayers which consenting adults they can and can’t marry. Not only that, but to tell those same taxpayers that neither they, nor their families, will ever have the benefits that only marriage can bring.

Gov. Mary has been married twice, so far. I think that means to a good many rightwing Okies that she is living in sin in the mansion.

Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Attorney General: “The [Supreme] court’s decisions confirmed that it is up to the states to decide how to define marriage, not the federal government. As a result, Oklahoma’s constitutional provision that defines marriage in Oklahoma as between a man and a woman remains valid.”

He isn’t too bright so don’t tell him that there might be a time when the law will be invalid unless he files the proper paperwork for appeal.

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, MD and R-OK, said, “In its ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, I’m disappointed the Supreme Court made a decision that overrides the clear intent of two branches of government. With this decision, five judges have violated the freedom of conscience of millions of Americans. Regardless of what people believe about this issue, it should be resolved by We the People, not the courts. Our nation was fully capable of resolving this issue without the court’s cultural and moral commentary. By taking sides in this debate, the Supreme Court has discouraged any American who believes marriage is a union between one man and one woman from legislating – and even thinking – differently from the court.”

Oh, Tom, you still think deciding who can marry whom is your personal right and denying them the benefits afforded in law to married couples is your prerogative. I do not recall Tom being really pleased when a majority of Okies voted in liquor-by-the-drink and parimutuel gambling. He thinks the courts did a great job declaring that Exxon is a person, just like us.

And then there are the comments of that strawberry blond stand-in for Lurch, Rep. James Lankford: “We are and always have been a nation of families. In America two adults are free to live any lifestyle they choose, but marriage has always been a man and a woman committed for life to each other.”

He is such a romantic and he just wishes that last line were true. Oklahoma is No. 5 in divorces among the 50 states. In their effort to force Oklahomans to stay married, the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative said in a 2001 survey that 39% of Oklahomans who had ever been married had also been divorced.

A statement posted as his congressional web site continues: “Federal law specifically defined marriage in order to clarify how individuals receive federal benefits. Every person is equal under the law and should be treated with respect, but not every relationship is a marriage. This ruling does not settle the issue for Americans, but it does create a new dilemma for those with deeply held religious beliefs and those who believe that it is best for children to have both a mother and a father.”

He wants it defined to exclude parts of the taxpaying population from ever getting federal benefits. Those with deeply held religious beliefs that include telling others who they can and cannot marry and who can and cannot benefit from their work, including their own children.

“In the days ahead, this mixed message about marriage will add unknowable complications to American families and further strain the relationship between the federal government and the people. I will continue to pray for our nation as we process this change in our deeply rooted value of marriage,” concluded Lankford.

What unknowable complications? If every gay couple on the planet got married tomorrow it would not change my marriage or my benefits one iota. That is probably because I know it is not my right to decide whom anyone can marry. There are some I wish had never married, but they are all hetero.

Maybe he should ask the governor if she plans to stay with her present husband for life or go back to the other one she swore to stay with for life, the father of her children.

Karen Webb lives in Moore, OK and is a frequent contributor to The Oklahoma Observer



  1. I’d like to take Sen. Coburn at his word.

    He thinks who should marry who “should be resolved by We the People”

    I believe this is true. I believe this question is resolved every time two of “We the People” decide, without the knowledge or consent of the state of Oklahoma, to get married.

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.
Mark Krawczyk
Mark Krawczyk
March 9, 2023
Exceptional reporting about goings on in my home state as well as informative opinion pieces that makes people think about issues of the day...........get a SUBSCRIPTION FOLKS!!!!!!!
Brette Pruitt
Brette Pruitt
September 5, 2022
The Observer carries on the "give 'em hell" tradition of its founder, the late Frosty Troy. I read it from cover to cover. A progressive wouldn't be able to live in a red state without it.