John M. Becker

BREAKING: Oklahoma Marriage Ban Struck Down Again

Filed By John M. Becker | July 18, 2014 11:10 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: appeals court, federal court, gay marriage, marriage equality, Oklahoma, same-sex marriage

oklahoma-appellate-victory-marriage.pngMinutes ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed U.S. District Court Judge Terence Kern's January ruling striking down Oklahoma's marriage discrimination amendment as unconstitutional.

This is the second federal appellate-level decision on marriage equality in the post-Windsor era. Both have come out of the Tenth Circuit, and both hold that states cannot prohibit same-sex couples from marrying. The unconstitutionality of Utah's marriage ban was affirmed last month.

Tulsa World reports on the Oklahoma decision:

Plaintiffs Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin sued for the right to be be married in Oklahoma, while Susan Barton and Gay Phillips were suing to have their legal California marriage recognized in Oklahoma. Bishop is a Tulsa World editor.

U.S. District Judge Terence Kern in Tulsa in January struck down the Oklahoma's marriage amendment. It declares that marriage "shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman." His decision has been on hold pending Friday's outcome.

Tulsa County Court Clerk Sally Howe Smith appealed Kern's ruling. She was a defendant because her duties include issuing marriage licenses. Attorneys defending the amendment argued to the appellate judges that states have the power to define marriage and that the court should defer to the democratic process. Those attorneys contended that the ban preserves "marriage's efficacy in accomplishing the procreative institution and child-related interests."

Attorneys representing the lesbian couples told the appellate judges that they wish to "share in" and "uphold" the instruction of marriage.

Today's ruling also includes a stay, so same-sex weddings will not immediately begin in Oklahoma. The state is expected to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A copy of the ruling is after the jump, via Equality Case Files.

Oklahoma 10th Circuit Decision by Equality Case Files

Graphic via Freedom to Marry.

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