U.S. News


Federal Judge Rules Okla. Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Judge Terence Kern ruled the ban unfairly excludes one group from government benefits, though same-sex marriages aren\'t yet allowed in the state.
Posted at 8:23 PM, Jan 14, 2014

Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge for Oklahoma's Northern District Tuesday.

In his 68-page ruling, Judge Terence Kern wrote the ban was “an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit.” ​(Via U.S. District Court - Northern District of Okla.)

Now, this doesn't mean same-sex marriages will be available in Oklahoma, because Kern put a hold on his ruling, pending an appeal by the state's elected lawmakers — and they will definitely appeal.

It only took a few hours for Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to respond, saying, "I am disappointed in the judge's ruling and troubled that the will of the people has once again been ignored by the federal government." (Via KJRH)

Oklahoma might be the most conservative station in the union. In 2012, every single district in the state went Republican, most of them by a wide margin. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Inqvisitor)

The ruling comes about a month after a U.S. District judge in Utah ruled the state’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. That ruling didn’t have a hold placed on it, allowing more than 1,000 same-sex couples to get married before the Supreme Court issued a stay. (Via MSNBC, KSL-TV

The New York Times describes the Oklahoma ruling as a victory for gay rights, pointing out the state's location — in the heart of the Bible Belt.

And that didn’t go unnoticed by Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin.

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.” (Via Tulsa World)

The ruling is in response to a lawsuit filed by two couples in 2004. One of the plaintiffs said she’s elated about the action, saying “it’s been a long time coming.” (Via KJRH)