Lawyers for Oklahoma official: Marriage is for procreation potential

Oklahoman Modified: April 2, 2014 at 1:32 pm •  Published: April 2, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Marriage exists for its procreative potential, not just as recognition of a loving relationship between two people, and the U.S. Supreme Court agrees, lawyers for an Oklahoma clerk said in a new court filing.

The 63-page brief filed Tuesday is the latest volley in a battle between a lesbian couple of 17 years and Tulsa County Court Clerk Sally Howe Smith, who refused to grant them a marriage license in 2009.

Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin subsequently sued to be allowed to marry in their home state, where voters had approved a ban on same-sex marriage in 2004. U.S. District Judge Terence Kern ruled in Bishop and Baldwin’s favor in January this year, and Smith appealed.

Lawyers for Smith argued that marriage is about furthering “potentially procreative sexual relationships into stable unions” rather than recognizing the love and commitment of two people.

“They (plaintiffs) reduce marriage from an institution that exists to benefit children and society, and relegate it to a mere stamp through which the government approves loving, emotional unions between adult couples,” they said in the brief filed in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.