By TheOkie Correspondent

With Supreme Court rulings pending, the fight for equal marriage rights has bubbled up once again. Make no mistake, the issue is always there…even in Oklahoma.

Joe Fairbanks, the Cleveland County Young Republican Chairman, came out with a blunt editorial in the Oklahoman a few weeks ago in support of gay marriage.

Fairbanks: “Gay marriage is controversial. It shouldn’t be. Distilled to its basic elements, advocating equal rights for gay Americans is about properly protecting each individual’s right to self-determination, free from government interference. On this issue, young Republicans and conservatives will lead the older generation of Republicans out of the wilderness — or push them over a cliff of irrelevance.”

This set off a firestorm within the state, culminating with the three youngest Republicans in the House- Josh Cockroft, Elise Hall and Justin Wood- issuing a rebuttal editorial:

“As the three youngest members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives Republican caucus, we continue to believe that the push for a new definition of marriage is an attempt to carve out a special right that has no basis in the traditions of our country. We believe that all Americans deserve to be treated with dignity, but that equal treatment has no bearing on the question of how marriage is defined.”

Fairbanks shot back on his Facebook page, calling for a debate: “I’ve extended a friendly invitation to publicly debate the Honorable Representatives Josh Cockroft, Justin Wood, and Elise Hall on their op-ed in The Oklahoman. GOP vs. GOP. I haven’t heard back yet, but I hope to soon.”

Needless to say, this is an issue that stokes passion on both sides. Further, the political ramifications are potentially a game-changer.

Mitt Romney received 78 percent of the evangelical vote in 2012- and it wasn’t enough. Will even more stay home in 2016 if the GOP walks on traditional marriage? If so, can the GOP court others to fill the gap? Time will tell. In the meantime, sounds like a debate is brewing in the buckle of the Bible-Belt.