Oklahoma was mandated by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday to legally recognize the marriages of same sex couples. According to the Oklahoma Department of Motor Vehicles, a name change can be obtained with a certified copy of your marriage license and the $20 fee.
It seems the civil servants don’t want to cooperate, yet.
Sarah Doolin Maib, whose same sex marriage/name change story went viral last year, was ecstatic that the LGBT community in her state would finally have the right to have their married names recognized. Her joy was short lived. Sarah said in a statement:
“Today I learned other people are going through what I went through a year ago, and wrongfully so. The law is now technically on our side, and the state government has done nothing to ensure LGBT citizens are being taken care of. They have been notified. ‘They’ as in Governor Fallin, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, and the Dept. of Transportation. None of them have come forward to issue guidance and instruct the private tag agencies to follow the law. They are staying silent to allow this (to) continue.”
One of the privatized agencies in question is the Weatherford Tag Agency in Weatherford, OK. I [CT] conducted a short interview with one of their agents [WTA], who refused to give me her name.
CT: I understand you’re having problems changing names for people with same sex marriage licenses.
WTA: Yes, we can’t do that.
CT: Is it a programming or logistical issue that you think will be cleared up soon?
WTA: No, we can’t do it until the law is changed.
CT: Are you aware that the law was changed yesterday?
WTA: Not in Oklahoma. I can give you the number to DPS if you have any other questions.
CT: Thank you, and your name is?
WTA: I’d rather not say.
Click. The number for DPS offered by the Weatherford Tag Agency has been a busy signal for over an hour now.
Sarah Doolin Maib was able to have her name changed today at a more cooperative branch, meaning there is nothing keeping other agencies from doing the same. Whether a concerted effort to display their displeasure for the Court’s mandate or a simple case of ineptitude, Sarah’s community has waited long enough and deserves better.
Privatization Offers A Last Chance At Bigotry For Profit
Proponents of privatization of our public agencies use the argument that private companies can get the job done for less cost to the taxpayer with none of the bureaucracy. When a teller at a tag agency tells someone on the phone that the law hasn’t changed in Oklahoma 2 days after the law changed in Oklahoma, presumably because of the lack of an official memo, that reeks of bureaucracy. It’s been well documented that privatized prisons are being sent indentured servants, including staggering numbers of minorities, convicted of non-violent crimes. Lockup quotas and sentencing guidelines are being written by board members to keep their sweatshops at 80-100% occupancy . When private Christian schools stop offering chapel and get a public charter, using the same faculty they always have, you have to wonder about the future of science for those kids.
Privatization pushes your tax dollars into the hands of campaign contributors, plain and simple. The neutrality of public government and the will of the people stop mattering when those in charge are in charge purely for profit and/or to push their socioeconomic agenda onto the taxpayer. If the debacle in Weatherford is any indication, the war may be over but the battle rages on.
**UPDATE*** 10/7/2014 10:32 pm
The Equality Network, dedicated to equal rights in Oklahoma, put this on their Facebook page this evening:
A hearty congratulations to the good people of Oklahoma on behalf of everyone here at If You Only News, where media scrutiny is a specialty!