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Oklahoma House Approves Bill Shifting Marriage Licenses from State to Clergy

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma state House approved legislation that transfers the issuance of marriage licenses from the state to clergy members.

News9.com reports that the measure, introduced by state Rep. Todd Russ (R), “would replace a state-issued marriage license with a clergy-issued marriage certificate.” If enacted, the legislation would remove government from the practice of licensing marriage, a move that the measure’s opponents say is a response to a federal judge’s decision to overturn Oklahoma’s prohibition of same-sex marriage.

Russ said the bill neither allows nor disallows same-sex marriage under the bill.

State Rep. Emily Virgin (D) opposed the measure, saying it was necessary for state government to be involved in the process of marriage.

The bill was approved in the state House by a vote of 67-24 and now moves on to the state Senate.

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