OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma House has approved legislation that shifts the issuance of marriage licenses from the state to members of the clergy.

House members voted 67-24 for the measure Tuesday and sent it to the Senate for consideration.

The measure by Republican Rep. Todd Russ of Cordell would replace a state-issued marriage license with a clergy-issued marriage certificate.

Russ says it gets government out of the business of licensing marriage. Opponents say it is a reaction by lawmakers who disagree with a federal judge's decision to overturn the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Russ says the state neither allows nor disallows same-sex marriage under the bill. But opponents, including Democratic Rep. Emily Virgin of Norman, say state government needs to be involved in the process.

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