The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

20 March 2004

Wheels within wheels

The issue of same-sex marriage, as simple as it may seem on the surface, gets more complicated the more you look at it.

A gay couple in Massachusetts adopted a child from Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Department of Health was asked to issue a birth certificate for the child. Not sure of what to do, Health sent a query to the Attorney General's office.

Yesterday Attorney General Edmondson issued an opinion: while the state does not recognize unions of this sort and will not allow gay couples here to adopt, the state's adoption rules specify that the rules of other states will be recognized by Oklahoma courts, even if the adoptive parents are ineligible under Oklahoma law.

So Health duly issues the certificate, which in this state means that the original is sealed and a supplementary certificate showing the adoptive parents is produced, and everyone is happy — except for three legislators, who promised to spend Monday morning introducing measures to close what they view as a loophole.

There is, I suspect, no can big enough to hold all the worms released by the opening of the original can.

Posted at 9:50 AM to Political Science Fiction

Linking to this item:

I'm unclear on how this is a homosexual marriage issue. The gay couple in Massachusetts is not married, there won't be homosexual marriages here until May 17th and perhaps not even then. A number of states, including Massachusetts, allow gays and lesbians to adopt. Whatever ends up happening with SSM, I doubt that will change. I've serious doubts that Oklahoma can refuse to recognize such adoptions per se (as in, take the child away from a homosexual passing through the state because they refused to legally recognize the homosexual as the legal parent). They can refuse to amend birth records if they like, but while that would be unfortunate it is not a unique situation nor, in the end, does it matter that much. Just because the child was born in Oklahoma does not give the state any direct control over any adoption that might occur in another state. All we're talking about here is paperwork that, while nice, isn't necessary.

Am I missing something here? Are these legislators actually proposing that Oklahoma try in some way to nullify adoptions occurring in other states? Is this really a can of worms, or a tempest in a teapot created by legislators upset that they can't control what happens in Massachusetts?


Posted by: Myria at 2:45 PM on 20 March 2004

Well, one of the three legislators in question is Thad Balkman (R-Norman), and anything affecting the GLBT community in a way they may not like tends to have Balkman's fingerprints on it. The bill they plan isn't available for inspection yet, but I suspect that it will "correct" the language of the existing adoption laws to make it possible for the state to be uncooperative in matters like this.

It is, in some ways, spiritually related to that House of Representatives bill which would permit Congress to nullify Supreme Court decisions it doesn't like. Certainly the thinking behind it is the same: the court system is evil and must be suppressed, unless of course it's issuing rulings with which we agree.

Posted by: CGHill at 3:02 PM on 20 March 2004

If anything actually gets filed it'd be interesting to see what it says, I hope you'll 'blog some more on it if you hear anything.

The whole thing kinda sounds just vindictive and pointless.


Posted by: Myria at 4:26 PM on 20 March 2004

Proof once again that worms and whoopass probably originate at the same cannery.

Posted by: triticale at 9:25 PM on 22 March 2004