Federal U.S. District Judge Terence Kern has just ruled that Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The judge also stayed his ruling pending possible appeal, so same-sex couples cannot yet marry in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma could be on its way to becoming the 18th or 19th state to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Currently, Utah’s case is pending appeal.
The Human Rights Campaign blog was among the first to break the news.
“Judge Kern has come to the conclusion that so many have before him – that the fundamental equality of lesbian and gay couples is guaranteed by the United States Constitution,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “With last year’s historic victories at the Supreme Court guiding the way, it is clear that we are on a path to full and equal citizenship for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. 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.”
HRC notes that the two “plaintiff couples, Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin and Gay Phillips and Susan Barton, filed their case, Bishop v. Oklahoma, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in November 2004. Lead counsel in the case are Don Holladay and James Warner of the Oklahoma City law firm Holladay & Chilton PLLC.”
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