|Updated: 5/10 3:38 pm
||Published: 3/07 8:21 pm
Gov. Fallin signed a bill into law that creates a public service announcement promoting marriage as an effective way to avoid living in poverty.
The House passed the bill in March.
“I think marriage is the back bone of a nation, the backbone of a community,” Bill Bender said Thursday.
Bender is the Associate Pastor of Southeast Baptist Church in Tulsa. He supports House Bill 1908. The bill calls for using less than one-percent of Oklahoma funds from the federal program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, to pay for a pro-marriage message on the airwaves.
The message of those PSAs would be that marriage can keep you from living in poverty. The bill's author, House Speaker T.W. Shannon, quotes a report from The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, which says marriage reduces your chance of living in poverty by 80 percent.
“It's a positive message that you're putting out there to the people,” Bender said.
On Thursday, Bender said HB1908 makes perfect sense.
“Most couples, there's a two income family and that certainly does help putting them together.”
Not everyone shares that sentiment. Sandra Surwilo, married for more than 30 years, sees HB1908 differently.
“I think that just because you have a marriage license does not mean you're going to end poverty. That's ridiculous. That could even make it worse,” she said.
She says marriage gives you someone to love, but not the directions to easy street.
"I've had to work two jobs. My husband has had to work two jobs over the years. We have three children, and we've made a go of it. You have to do what you have to do."
Others wonder what the Legislature is thinking saying there are other problems more worthy of their attention.
"I think marriage is terrific, I think that there are a lot of wonderful things to promote I think there are a lot of bigger fish to fry.”
FOX23 called Speaker Shannon's office and asked it was the state's place to promote things like marriage. An aide said, “If this bill gets more people down the aisle and in turn keeps people from needing government assistance, the state and taxpayers save money. That is the state's job.”