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Despite efforts by the Democrat leadership throughout the legislative session to kill the issue, the Senate passed a bill that sends to a vote of the people a constitutional amendment defining marriage in Oklahoma as only between one man and one woman and prohibiting the state from recognizing homosexual marriages performed outside Oklahoma.
“I am thankful to the Senate’s Democrat leadership for finally giving up on their efforts to keep the people from voting on the marriage protection amendment,” stated Senate Republican Leader James Williamson, R-Tulsa. “All we wanted all along was for the Democrat leadership to allow an up or down vote on this issue, and to allow the Senate to work its will.
“This is a tremendous victory for the people of Oklahoma and for those of us here at the state Capitol who fight for pro-family issues,” Williamson said.
Today’s vote was allowed as the result of an agreement on Tuesday between the Senate Democrat leadership and Senate Republicans to end a filibuster by Senator Bernest Cain, D-Oklahoma City, the Senate’s leading supporter of legalizing homosexual marriage in Oklahoma.
Democrat Cain had threatened to hold the floor and filibuster for hours after Williamson offered an amendment to attach the marriage protection constitutional amendment to House Bill 2134, by Sen. Nancy Riley, R-Tulsa. In order to end the filibuster and move on with other Senate business, Senate Democrat leaders agreed to allow Williamson to offer his amendment on a different bill.
Today, Williamson succeeded in attaching the marriage protection amendment to House Bill 2259, by Senator Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Mike Wilt, R-Bartlesville. Williamson’s amendment passed the Senate, which then passed HB 2259, sending it back to the House of Representatives for their approval of the Senate’s amendment to the bill.
“I am hopeful the Democrat-controlled House will now do the right thing and allow this issue to go to a vote of the people,” Williamson said.
If HB 2259 becomes law, the people of Oklahoma will vote on the proposed constitutional amendment on this fall’s general election ballot. The constitutional amendment would define marriage as only between one man and one woman, prohibit the recognition of same-sex unions performed in other jurisdictions, and make it a misdemeanor to issue a marriage license in violation of the amendment’s definition of marriage.
Many other states – from Ohio to Georgia – have taken action to provide constitutional protections to traditional marriage to combat efforts by liberals and activist judges seeking to redefine marriage by allowing same-sex unions.