Judge Strikes Down Oklahoma Gay Marriage Ban - KTUL.com - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather & Sports

Judge Strikes Down Oklahoma Gay Marriage Ban

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Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin filed the challenge to the 2004 gay marriage ban. Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin filed the challenge to the 2004 gay marriage ban.

Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A federal judge on Tuesday struck down Oklahoma's gay marriage ban, ruling that it violates the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Kern handed down the ruling in a lawsuit filed by two same-sex couples. Kern immediately stayed his ruling pending appeals, meaning gay marriages won't happen in Oklahoma right away.

The gay couples had sued for the right to marry and to have a marriage from another jurisdiction recognized in Oklahoma.

MORE: Read the Judge's Ruling

Kern ruled on a constitutional amendment approved by Oklahoma voters in 2004 that says marriage in the state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman. He said the measure violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause by precluding same-sex couples from receiving an Oklahoma marriage license.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office did not immediately have a comment on the ruling.

Governor Mary Fallin says she is disappointed by the ruling.

"The people of Oklahoma have spoken on this issue," Fallin said in a statement. "I support the right of Oklahoma's voters to govern themselves on this and other policy matters. 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."

The Oklahoma ruling comes about a month after a federal judge in Utah overturned that state's ban on same-sex marriage and hundreds of couples got married. The U.S. Supreme Court later intervened and put a halt to the weddings there until the courts sort out the matter.

The Oklahoma judge cited that case in staying his ruling.

Congressmen Jim Bridenstine and Markwayne Mullin and also disagreed with today's ruling.

"Today a federal judge, Terence Kern, in Tulsa, wrongly declared that Oklahoma's constitutional amendment protecting the institution of marriage violates the federal Constitution," Bridenstine said in a press release.

"The amendment to the State constitution was approved by 75% of voters in 2004," Bridenstine said.

Mullin echoed those sentiments.

"Our constitution protects the sovereignty of states, and with today's ruling, that right has clearly been violated," Mullin said.

"Oklahomans overwhelming voted nearly a decade ago to define in our state's constitution that marriage is between one man and one woman. Unfortunately we have yet again witnessed the voices of the governed being disregarded. Today's ruling is disappointing and an unfortunate reflection of federal overreach," Mullin said.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt hinted that this issue may end up in the Supreme Court.

"Our constitution protects the sovereignty of states, and with today's ruling, that right has clearly been violated," Pruitt said.

"Oklahomans overwhelming voted nearly a decade ago to define in our state's constitution that marriage is between one man and one woman. Unfortunately we have yet again witnessed the voices of the governed being disregarded. Today's ruling is disappointing and an unfortunate reflection of federal overreach," Pruitt said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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