A federal appeals court on Thursday
will hear arguments in a case challenging Oklahoma's ban on gay
Plaintiffs in the case are a lesbian
couple – Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin – who filed their lawsuit
shortly after Oklahoma voters in 2004 overwhelmingly (76%) approved
Question 711, which defines marriage as a heterosexual union and
prohibits the state from recognizing gay couples with civil unions.
In January, U.S. District Judge Terence
C. Kern declared the ban invalid.
State officials appealed Kern's ruling
to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, which last
Thursday heard arguments in a similar case challenging Utah's
restrictive marriage amendment.
defends its gay marriage ban in case with far-reaching implications.)
The same three-judge panel is hearing
Kern ruled that Oklahoma's ban
“violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
of the U.S. Constitution by precluding same-sex couples from
receiving an Oklahoma marriage license.”
Baldwin told the AP that her legal team
was struck by the arguments used by Utah in support of its ban.
“[I]t's the same old arguments
they've been using all along that have been so unsuccessful,”
said. “They make it sound as though there are a limited number
of marriage licenses and if they start handing out marriage licenses
willy-nilly to same-sex couples, then what is that going to do to
procreation? Well, it's not going to do anything to procreation.
People who still want to have children will still have children.”
Baldwin said she and her partner
planned to travel to Denver on Wednesday.