The same three-judge appeals court
panel in Denver that heard arguments last week in a case challenging
Utah's gay marriage ban reviewed similar arguments Thursday in a case
challenging Oklahoma's ban.
Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin 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
Oklahoma officials appealed U.S.
District Judge Terence C. Kern's January ruling declaring the ban
Prohibiting gay couples from marriage
“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,” Kern wrote in his
According to the AP, marriage equality
advocates have a reason to hope that their claims will prevail in the
10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
While judges appeared divided during
last week's arguments, Judge Jerome Holmes, who is seen as the swing
vote, appeared more likely to side with plaintiffs, asking the
attorney defending the state's ban: “The state cannot define
marriage in any way that would trample constitutional rights, right?”
However, the judges also appeared to
question whether the plaintiffs had legal standing in the case.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to
Marry, the nation's largest group dedicated to expanding marriage
rights for gay couples, said in a tweet that he hopes the court “will
swiftly affirm the unanimous wave of lower-court rulings” in favor
of plaintiff couples challenging such bans.
A ruling in either case is not expected