TULSA - Citing her responsibility to protect the State Constitution, Governor Mary Fallin says she's working with Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to explore legal options regarding the decision to deny benefits to Oklahoma National Guard members who are in same-sex marriages.
Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz sent the following statement to KRMG:
Governor Fallin is working with Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to evaluate the legal options available to the Oklahoma National Guard. Her priority is to obey and protect Oklahoma’s laws while supporting the men and women of the Guard. She takes her position as the Guard’s Commander in Chief seriously, as well as her sworn responsibility to uphold and defend Oklahoma’s Constitution.
Governor Fallin is calling on President Obama and Secretary Hagel to stop using the National Guard as a pawn in a larger social agenda. The president has made it clear he supports gay marriage. He has the legal authority to order federal agencies to recognize gay marriages. He does not have the legal authority to force state agencies to do so, or to unilaterally rewrite state laws or state constitutions.
The Obama Administration is once again seeking to usurp the power of the states and replace it with its own. It is also trying to undermine the authority of governors who disagree with its social agenda and to diminish their positions as Commanders in Chief of their respective Guard units. It is acting unilaterally, without judicial authority or approval from Congress.
The administration’s actions in this case betray a disdain for the people of Oklahoma, who have voted to define marriage in their Constitution, as well as a general disregard for the legitimacy of state governments.
Weintz went on to say that "the Oklahoma Constitution is very clear on the issue of gay marriage. It defines marriage as between a man and a woman. It also specifically prohibits giving spousal benefits to people who are not married.
"This provision of the Oklahoma Constitution was created by a 2004 vote of the people. It passed overwhelmingly, with 75% popular support."
Because of that constitutional provision, Weintz says, gay couples who have legally wed where such marriages are allowed can apply for benefits on federal facilities, but that state-run facilities will refuse to process such applications.