Weekly Opinion Editorial
BUSY SUPREME COURT!
by Steve Fair
Last week, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed SB#1100, authored by Senator Michael Bergstrom, (R-Adair), and Representative Shelia Dills, (R-Tulsa). SB#1000 requires the biological sex designation on a birth certificate be either male or female and prohibits a nonbinary or any symbol representing a nonbinary designation, including the letter “X.” The bill passed the House by a vote of 75-16 and the Senate by a vote of 38-7. Oklahoma is the first state to pass legislation dealing with birth certificate gender designation.
″We want clarity and truth on official state documents. Information should be based on established medical fact and not an ever-changing social dialogue,” Dills said. Bergstrom added: “We must stand up and put a stop to this nonsense regarding biological sex. It’s not a complicated issue — biologically, you’re either a male or female. There should be no other option to choose from on a birth certificate.” Critics of the SB#1100 claim it is an attack on their personal identity and creates barriers for housing and employment.
SB#1503, authored by Senator Daniels and Representative Todd Russ, (R-Cordell), creates the Oklahoma Heartbeat Act. It provides a physician may not knowingly perform or induce an abortion unless they have determined whether the unborn child has a detectable fetal heartbeat.SB#1503 was approved by the state House by a vote of 68-12 and the Senate by a vote of 33-11. SB#1503 will now go to the Governor’s office for his signature. Three observations:
First, the need to pass laws on both of these issues would have been unthinkable just fifty years ago. American culture has moved further and further away from common sense and more to the bizarre. Accepting wrong as right and doing what is right in your own eyes is the order of the day. Civility is out the window. The tolerant are intolerant. Respect for a differing opinion is considered weakness. The times, they are crazy.
Second, expect the birth certificate bill (SB#1100) to be ruled unconstitutional. The U.S. State Department lost a federal suit to have only two gender designations on passports. The State Department recently issued a passport with the gender designation of X.
Third, motives are not always pure. An Oklahoma Democrat legislator publicly declared Republicans are using these issues (gender identity/abortion) to ‘grandstand’ for their upcoming 2022 campaign. In certain case, that may be true. Just like Mr. Democrat using these same issues to ‘grandstand’ to his base. Mr. Pot- meet Kettle. Motive is what moves people to induce a certain action. It is impossible another person’s motive, but in politics, it is universally self-serving.
In the coming days, the state Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of these two bills- and others. The court is composed of nine (9) justices, who are nominated by a state commission and then appointed by the governor for life. Justices face voters every six years on a retention ballot. Since Oklahoma went to a retention ballot, no judge has been removed from office.
Expect inconsistent, unpredictable, varying, incoherent rulings that don’t square with Oklahoma values for the high court. Oklahoma needs radical judicial reform, because the judicial retention system does not work. The result is a judiciary not being accountable to the people.