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Amarillo Globe-News

Editorial: Will of the public not enough in OK

One would think the democratic process and a vote of the people would be enough to create law, but evidently that is not the case for cockfighting proponents in Oklahoma.

The logical assumption would be that a state question banning cockfighting, approved by 56 percent of voters Nov. 5, would finally end a so-called "sport" that is based more on illegal gambling than any form of competition.

Oklahomans are learning not to count their chickens before they hatch.

At least eight counties, at the authority of district judges, have sought to circumvent the will of the public and block the implementation of the new law until a Dec. 2. hearing. Cockfighting proponents and their attorneys are optimistic about hatching a court battle on the new law based on claims it is unconstitutional, is a violation of economic rights and deprives individuals of property without just compensation.

For starters, how constitutional is it to attempt to negate a legal vote of the people?

Secondly, as far as economic rights, these "rights" come from illegal gambling, which is the foundation of the "sport."

And lastly, considering the property in question - namely fighting cocks

- often dies as a result of this activity, the deprivation of property shouldn't be anything new to cockfighting proponents.

It seems District Judges Bruce Sewell and Dianne Baker Harold have assumed the responsibility of making, or in this case disregarding, law rather than the interpretation and enforcement of law.

Cockfighting proponents tried every trick in the book to keep the public from voting on the future of cockfighting, and failed.

If nothing else, their perseverance is admirable. But in this case a questionable legal maneuver that would render the ballot box obsolete brings to mind the old joke of why the chicken crossed the road: To get on the other side of the law.