The 87-members of the Oklahoma House's Derplahoman caucus are still going strong. Earlier today, they passed a redundant measure that would give "added" legal protections to worried ministers who want to discriminate against the LGBT community.
The Oklahoma House has approved legislation that grants immunity from civil liability to ministers who refuse to officiate a same-sex marriage.House members voted 88-7 Thursday for the bill by Republican Rep. David Brumbaugh. The measure now goes to the state Senate.The bill grants licensed ministers in the state immunity from any civil claim based on their refusal to recognize a marriage that violates the minister's "conscience or religious beliefs."The measure is one of several that have been targeted by gay rights groups as discriminatory against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.Brumbaugh says pastors in his district requested the bill after a federal court last year struck down Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage in the state.
On the surface, this seems like logical legislation. If some minister doesn't want to marry Adam and Steve because it compromises homophobic fears that are passed off as religious beliefs, so be it. We shouldn't force people to take part in things that violate their religion, no matter how ridiculous, bigoted or hypocritical that religion may be.
Of course, that's why our founding fathers created this document called the US Constitution. One of its strange beauties is that it allows religious organizations to basically discriminate against anything or anybody. It's why a Rabbi can refuse to marry a Catholic, why a Priest can refuse to marry a Jew, and why a Priest and Rabbi can walk into a bar and start a great joke. The Constitution is a powerful thing and for better or for worse, it grants a lot of freedoms. Our lawmakers should read it sometime.
Knowing that, the only thing this bill really does is advertise to the rest of the country – at least the good parts – that Oklahoma is a backwards, bigoted state that's not accepting of all people. I'm aware that most people around the country already know that about us, but do we really need to put it on a billboard? That can't be good for business. It would be like Tucker's Onion Burgers advertising that their food will give you explosive diarrhea. It's something you already know about, but you could really go without the reminder.