Okla. Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional, Judge Rules
(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- Gay rights groups are cheering a federal judge's ruling in Oklahoma declaring the state's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. Republican Governor Mary Fallin, however, calls the ruling troubling in a statement released Tuesday.
“I am troubled that the will of the people has once again been ignored by the federal government,” she said. “I support the right of Oklahoma’s voters to govern themselves on this and other policy matters.”
In the ruling U.S. District Judge Terence Kern says, "A majority view in Oklahoma must give way to individual constitutional rights." He added that "the court declares Part A of the Oklahoma Constitutional Amendment violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution" by keeping gay couples from getting a marriage license.
A judge in Utah threw out a similar law last month. The Supreme Court put gay marriage there in limbo until there is an appeal. Oklahoma's Judge Kern followed suit, which means the cases could wind up in the highest court deciding whether gay marriage is legal across the nation.
Gay rights supporters praised Kern's ruling, and said marriage equality advocates in Oklahoma had waited a long time for this outcome.
"We've been urging this for a long time -- certainly in Oklahoma City and our friend in Tulsa -- and nothing was moving. And today it did move. It moved our state much more in line with the 21st Century," said Scott Hamilton, executive director of the Cimarron Alliance, a local non-profit that advocates for marriage equality.
Tuesday's ruling in Oklahoma is on hold pending an appeal, which means gay couples won't be able to apply for marriages immediately.
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