Judge Strikes Down Oklahoma's Ban Against Gay Marriage

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 14 2014 7:37 PM

Judge Rules Oklahoma Ban on Gay Marriage Unconstitutional, "Irrational, Arbitrary"

Same sex marriage advocates rally on the steps of the Supreme Court June 26, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

More good news for same-sex marriage advocates, this time out of Oklahoma. A federal judge has ruled the state’s constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage violates the federal constitution. Here’s The Oklahoman with highlights from U.S. Senior District Judge Terence Kern’s opinion:

In his 68-page opinion, Kern said courts reviewing marriage regulations “must be wary of whether “defending” traditional marriage is a guise for impermissible discrimination against same-sex” couples.
Kern called it a “a total exclusion of only one group.” And he said, “Excluding same-sex couples from marriage has done little to keep Oklahoma families together thus far, as Oklahoma consistently has one of the highest divorce rates in the country.”

The ruling comes less than a month after U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby struck down Utah’s ban on gay marriage. But unlike Shelby, Kern put a hold on his ruling, pending an appeal, leaving Oklahoma’s same-sex couples to wait.

“Equality is not just for the coasts anymore, and today’s news from Oklahoma shows that time has come for fairness and dignity to reach every American in all 50 states,” Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said in a statement.

“We’re jubilant, we’re over the moon,” Sharon Baldwin, one of the plaintiffs told the New York Times. Baldwin and her partner, also a plaintiff in the case, are both editors at the Tulsa World newspaper and had just arrived at work on Tuesday afternoon when they learned the news. “We’re taking the day off,” Baldwin said.



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