Today was a good day. Got to sleep in (always a treat), attended my graduate course taught by Professor Cathy Cohen (Race & Politics—always interesting), and I had an interview for the Office of Multicultural Affairs on campus (which I nailed by the way). In fact it has been a good week so far. I’m helping out with the relief efforts for Haiti on campus, I continue to be in a happy relationship, and I finally saw Avatar and Book of Eli this weekend (Denzel does it again). But right when everything was going so well, at the very moment where I thought I could be content with my week, I read this story:
“Rep. Jason Nelson of Oklahoma City has introduced HB 3408- “An act relating to marriage.” It would make it a felony for a minister of the Gospel to solemnize a marriage not recognized by the state of Oklahoma.”
Now usually I am not one inclined to use profanity, but when I hear things like this the phrase W.T.F. is really all I can muster. Maybe one day I will conjure up a more intelligent way to express anger/confusion but for now, W.T.F. will have to do. Thankfully, this story was actually misrepresented. It’s a partly true story, but not a new story. Representative Nelson actually was only changing a couple words in what is an already existing statute. This really doesn’t make me feel any better about the law, but it is good to know Nelson is not to blame for it.
The bill states the following word for word.
“Any minister of the Gospel, or other person authorized to solemnize the rites of matrimony within this state, who shall knowingly solemnize the rites of matrimony between persons prohibited by this chapter, from intermarrying shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined in any sum not exceeding Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) and imprisonment in the State Penitentiary custody of the Department of Corrections for not less than one (1) year nor more than five (5) years.”
So this is simply a matter of laws needing to be updated. In many states “technically” it is still illegal to participate in gay or lesbian sex.
So false alarm in the small realms of things, but on a larger scale, I still generally feel oppressed and marginalized.
Dr. Scott Jones, pastor of the Cathedral of Hope in Oklahoma City, Rev. Kathie McCallie, pastor of the Church of the Open Arms in Oklahoma City, and Dr. Robin Meyers, pastor of Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City, have all been known to unite same-sex couples in holy matrimony within their churches. Thankfully, no one is trying to send them to jail for it, even though that’s what the law says should happen.
Dear Oklahoma: Get it together! As for now, I’m returning to my optimistic mode, at least for a day or two.