Press Room

April 21, 2004

Category: Civil Unions, Domestic Partners

HRC Denounces Oklahoma’s New Constitutional Amendment Banning Same-Sex Marriage

'Oklahoma legislators are trying to use the state constitution to discriminate against thousands of its families,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign criticized Oklahoma legislators who passed an amendment to the state constitution today that would deny marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships to same-sex couples.

The Oklahoma House will send the amendment to the ballot this November. Nine similar anti-marriage measures - including six constitutional amendments - died in the Legislature earlier this month. However, this amendment was added to another bill, dodging the regular legislative process.

"Oklahoma legislators are trying to use the state constitution as a weapon against thousands of its citizens," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "According to the Census, more than 5,700 same-sex couples and their families live in Oklahoma. The Constitution should protect them just as it protects their neighbors."

The amendment was offered by Sen. James Williamson, R-Tulsa. The Senate passed it April 15 by a 38 to 7 vote. It passed today in the House by a 94 to 4 vote.

"It is a sad day for Oklahoma when our Legislature votes to mandate discrimination in our state constitution," said Kevin Smith, lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.