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Fallin signs pro-marriage public service ad bill



Via Tulsa World

OKLAHOMA CITY - Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday signed a measure requiring a state agency to air public service announcements promoting marriage as a way to combat poverty.

House Bill 1908 requires “a statewide public service announcement campaign, under the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative, promoting marriage as a tool against poverty and targeting all members of the public.”

The measure was sponsored by House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, and Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City.

The measure prohibits state officers from appearing in the public service announcements.

The Marriage Initiative, created in the 1990s under then-Gov. Frank Keating within the Department of Human Services, provides counseling to couples, Holt said.

The initiative attempts to keep the divorce rate down, Holt said.

But “it only reaches those who seek its services,” he said. “The PSAs reach a much broader audience.”

He said the Department of Human Services will use existing funds to pay for the public service announcements.

Marriage is an important issue in the Oklahoma, which has a high divorce rate, Holt said.

Critics have said airing PSAs is not a core government service and that it might negatively impact those who are in marriages marred with abuse.

“I don’t think a PSA is going to force someone to stay in an unsafe situation,” Holt said.