Nearly 20 years ago, Gov. Frank Keating was confident that the power of government to perform social architectural feats was a laudable effort. He proceeded to spend state funds toward making the institution of marriage more enduring.
Oklahoma has historically been one of the most divorcing states in the nation. Today, after $70 million and 17 years of the "Covenant Marriage" state program, the state is still one of the top 5 for divorces.
The state agencies are now ending the program and quietly accepting the premise that govt. cannot build families, only tear them apart.
Some sociologists even contend that urban minority men have largely lost their social identity as fathers. Most of them have now been raised by single mothers and they often replaced the father figure in their lives with the gang identity.
State Representative, Todd Russ, has authored a reforming bill known as the "Marriage Freedom" bill. It passed the last session's house floor vote, but was buried in the senate rules committee. The senators said they were awaiting the SCOTUS decision on Oklahoma's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. But after the 2015 rulings, the senate ignored the bill.
Russ's bill would authorize the state to issue marriage certificates instead of licenses. Any legal couple could file for the certificates upon their signed affidavit at any county courthouse. No officiant would be required (although the couple could list the officiant if they included a ceremony of some kind).