A federal appeals court on Friday
affirmed a lower court's ruling striking down Oklahoma's ban on gay
A three-judge panel of the Tenth
Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver declared Oklahoma must allow gay
and lesbian couples to marry.
Last month, the same panel upheld a
ruling knocking down Utah's ban. Utah officials have since announced
they'll ask the Supreme Court to review the case.
to appeal gay marriage ruling to Supreme Court.)
Plaintiffs 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 unions.
Oklahoma officials appealed U.S.
District Judge Terence C. Kern's January ruling declaring the ban
The Tenth Circuit put its Oklahoma
ruling on hold.
“Today's ruling arises out of the
oldest active marriage case in the country, filed in Oklahoma ten
years ago; and follows more than two dozen favorable rulings for
marriage in the past year,” Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to
Marry, said in a statement. “The legal consensus is clear:
Marriage discrimination is unconstitutional and inflicts concrete
harms on committed gay and lesbian couples and their families. From
the heart of the Southwest and as far as the Mountain West, the
federal rulings from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
from Oklahoma and Utah affirm that all of America is ready for the
freedom to marry. It is time for the Supreme Court to end this
patchwork of discrimination and bring our country to national
resolution as soon as possible.”