Weighing in on the recently energized debate around gay marriage, the Oklahoma House has approved a resolution – without opposition on the vote – to reaffirm marriage as a union between a man and a woman and support the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
The resolution, which passed 84-0, was headed to the Senate this week.
Democratic House minority leader Scott Inman and the chamber's lone openly gay member joined about a dozen other representatives who walked out of the chamber instead of voting.
The bill wouldn't have the force of law if it also passes in the state Senate, but the resolution's authors said it was meant to send a message to President Barack Obama and the U.S. Supreme Court, which in late March heard arguments on two cases related to same-sex marriage rights. One was a challenge to DOMA and the other a challenge to Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment in California.
Obama declined to defend DOMA before the Supreme Court, saying he believes the federal gay marriage ban to be unconstitutional.
A decision on both cases is expected in late June, but remarks from some of the justices seemed to signal they agreed with Obama. A majority of U.S. senators, including two Republicans, have now voiced their support for gay marriage.
Oklahoma state Rep. Kay Floyd of Oklahoma City, who is openly gay, walked out of the chamber when the vote was called, as did more than a dozen other Democrats.
State Rep. Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City, and 13 other Democrats voted for the resolution.
In a brief interview after the vote, Floyd said she walked out rather than vote on the resolution because when you vote "you give it credence, you give it some sort of credibility. So my statement was going to be that no, I'm not going to be a co-author. I'm not going to have anything to do with it."