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January 23, 2014

Bill calls for 2nd vote on same-sex marriage ban

OKLAHOMA CITY — A state representative from Edmond has filed a bill calling for a second vote to change Oklahoma’s Constitution and ban same-sex marriage.

Republican Rep. Mike Turner told the Tulsa World that he filed the measure in anticipation of the state’s current ban on same-sex marriage being struck down by the courts. However, it’s not apparent how a second effort to ban same-sex couples from marrying would be viewed by the courts, which have overturned such bans on constitutional grounds, not whether the bans were approved by voters or by lawmakers. Oklahoma’s measure was approved by voters; Turner is calling for lawmakers to approve the ban.

Laura Belmonte, chair of The Equality Network, an organization that lobbies for equal treatment without regard to sexual orientation and other issues, predicted any effort to revive the ban would fail.

U.S. Senior District Judge Terence Kern overturned Oklahoma’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages but postponed his ruling pending an appeal.

Turner, who said he opposes the recognition of same-sex marriage, has also filed a shell bill, House Bill 2466, dubbed the “Preservation of Marriage Act,” that contains no substantial language and can be modified.

Toby Jenkins, executive director of Oklahomans for Equality, said the public’s opinion on the issue has changed in the last 10 years.

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