(Oklahoma City, OK 03/13/15) – The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today questioned the clear religious freedom restrictions found in House Bill 1125, which limits the religious marriage rites the state will recognize. HB 1125 authorizes Christian and Jewish clergy to perform marriages but excludes officiants from other faiths.
Under HB 1125, members of minority faiths in Oklahoma would have to file a notarized common-law marriage certificate with a court clerk. They would not be able to have a marriage solemnized by an official from their faith tradition.
SEE: Not OK: Oklahoma Marriage Bill Is Jaw-droppingly Unconstitutional
SEE: Oklahoma House Passes Bill Essentially Ending State Marriage Licenses
“This bill represents an astonishing departure from American principles and a violation of the First Amendment,” said CAIR-OK Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure. “Listing the representatives of specific faith groups who are allowed to certify marriages and ignoring others is precisely the kind of entanglement with religion that courts have sought to avoid. I hope my fellow Oklahomans share my concerns that our legislators are trying to undermine the Constitution.”
CAIR-Oklahoma is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialog, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-OK Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure, 405-430-9877, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani, 405-248-5853, email@example.com