Mike Turner, a Republican state representative in Oklahoma, is apparently so desperate to stop the inevitable arrival of marriage equality in his state that he would rather end civil marriage altogether than allow gays and lesbians to participate in it.
State lawmakers are considering throwing out marriage in Oklahoma. The idea stems from a bill filed by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Edmond). Turner says it's an attempt to keep same-sex marriage illegal in Oklahoma while satisfying the U.S. Constitution. Critics are calling it a political stunt while supporters say it's what Oklahomans want.
"[My constituents are] willing to have that discussion about whether marriage needs to be regulated by the state at all," Turner said.
Other conservative lawmakers feel the same way, according to Turner. "Would it be realistic for the State of Oklahoma to say, 'We're not going to do marriage period,'" asked News 9's Michael Konopasek.
"That would definitely be a realistic opportunity, and it's something that would be part of the discussion," Turner answered.
To achieve this, Turner filed what's called a shell bill -- a bill containing no actual substance that can be adapted later -- with the goal of amending it in response to future court rulings about marriage in Oklahoma. If judges continue to rule that same-sex couples are allowed equal protection under state marriage law, Turner says he's open to simply getting rid of marriage rather than complying.
Oklahoma's ACLU believes the effort to stop marriage equality by banning all civil marriages is unprecedented.
If this all sounds familiar, that's because it's the very same strategy southern segregationists used to try to get around the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board requiring states to desegregate their schools. In Virginia, for example, the legislature ordered the state to close any public school that was subject to a federal desegregation order. Prince Edward County closed down its entire school system.
Needless to say, these appalling tactics failed to pass constitutional muster, the same fate that will befall Turner's plan if he and his fellow Republicans decide to go through with it.
And just like in the Jim Crow south, efforts to shut down a massive public institution just to prevent a disfavored minority from participating in it aren't based in logic or rational thinking. They're based in animus, fear, bigotry, and hatred.
KWTV's news report is after the jump.