Oklahoma News
7:24 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Reactions to Federal Court Ruling Striking Down Okahoma's Ban on Same-Sex Marriages

Credit Bloody Marty / Flickr.com

Reactions to today’s federal court ruling striking down the Oklahoma ban on on same-sex marriage were mostly from those celebrating the decision. Friday's ruling was put on hold pending any appeal, which means gay marriages won't immediately take place in Oklahoma.

An Oklahoma couple that challenged a state ban on same-sex marriage is praising a federal court ruling striking down the ban. The court decision was in favor of Tulsans Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin.

The two expressed gratitude for the ruling that they say affirms that all people are equal under the law. A statement from the couple says the court understands what more people across the country are beginning to realize — that gay and lesbian people are citizens who should enjoy the same rights as straight people under the law.

They say they look forward to seeing Oklahoma gay and lesbian couples who love each other and want their relationships recognized by the government take part in those rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma is applauding the ruling. ACLU of Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel says the ruling represents a strike against what he calls a system of irrational discrimination that has stood in the way of the rights of loving and committed couples and their families. He says the case represents a landmark that will be heralded for generations.

In contrast, an attorney for Tulsa County's clerk says he disagrees with a federal appeals court’s ruling. Byron Babione with the nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom said Friday that the people of Oklahoma confirmed their belief that every child deserves a mom and a dad when they approved a constitutional amendment affirming marriage as a man-woman union.

The organization represents Tulsa County Clerk Sally Howe Smith, who was sued when she refused to grant a marriage license to a same-sex couple. Babione says he's consulting with Smith and considering whether to appeal Friday's decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Babione says whether citizens are free to affirm marriage as a man-woman union will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Toby Jenkins, executive director of Oklahomans for Equality, says the organization has been working on the gay marriage issue in Oklahoma for 14 years. He said he is surprised how quickly public opinion concerning gay marriage has changed since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last year.

Jenkins says he is excited that Oklahoma "will be counted among the places where all of its citizens are treated equally."

KGOU did not receive any other comments about the Federal Court’s decision except for Governor Mary Fallin’s statement reported earlier.