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Marriage Equality Updates: Oklahoma

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Oklahoma Marriage Equality Case in Legal LimboWe’re running down some of the updates in the aftermath of the shocking Supreme Court decision to turn down all the pending marriage equality cases.

Next, Oklahoma.

Oklahoma had its own case before the Court, and the effect there was immediate yesterday, as couples began to marry. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, who have waited ten years for their lawsuit to be resolved, were among the first to tie the knot.

The Dallas News reports:

Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin were married late Monday afternoon before dozens of friends, family members and supporters. Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals Judge Jane Wiseman officiated the ceremony. Bishop and Baldwin were the lead plaintiffs who challenged Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage in 2004, shortly after 76 percent of Oklahoma voters approved the ban… Following the wedding Baldwin said: “It is a great day to be gay in Oklahoma. It’s an even better day to be married.”

But Governor Mary Fallin is not going down easily.

SDGLN reports:

The sudden and unexpected high-court decision sent Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, into a raging mess because she finds herself on the wrong side of history. “The will of the people has now been overridden by unelected federal justices, accountable to no one,” Fallin said. “That is both undemocratic and a violation of states’ rights. Rather than allowing states to make their own policies that reflect the values and views of their residents, federal judges have inserted themselves into a state issue to pursue their own agendas.”

Despite her angry fit, gay and lesbian Oklahomans began marrying today.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Oklahoma.

US Supreme Court Will Look at All 7 Pending Marriage Equality Cases

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

US Supreme Court bwThe US Supreme Court has asked the petitions be ready for all seven marriage quality cases that have reached the court.

Scotus Blog reports:

Matching the speed of lawyers and lower courts in handling the same-sex marriage controversy, the Supreme Court on Wednesday set the stage for its first look at all of the pending cases, when the Justices assemble on September 29 for a private Conference. Seven petitions — three from Virginia, and one each from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin — will be submitted to the Justices at that session. There is, of course, no certainty that they will act on any or all of them at that point, but the option is there. With all sides agreeing that the time to rule is now, it would be a surprise if the Court opted to bypass the issue altogether in its new Term… Together, the petitions raise two constitutional questions: do states have power to refuse to allow same-sex couples to marry, and do states have power to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states? In all of the federal appeals courts’ decisions being challenged in these cases, state marriage bans of one or both of those kinds were struck down under the federal Constitution, either under equal protection or due process guarantees, or both.

Another set of cases before the Sixth Circuit could be decided soon.

Towleroad.com reports:

…the Supreme Court could have more cases headed its way very soon. Many are focsued on 4 pending cases before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, a court some legal analysts suspect is more likely than others to uphold marriage bans: “If that happens, it’s a virtual certainty that the Supreme Court would step in and resolve the disagreement.”

The cases awaiting Supreme Court consideration on 9/29 are from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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Which Marriage Equality Case Will the Supreme Court Take (If Any)?

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

US Supreme CourtThis past month, lawyers from Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to consider reviewing three federal appellate court decisions that struck down the states’ respective bans on same-sex marriage. If the Supreme Court chooses not to hear the cases, then the appellate courts’ decisions will stand, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in the states that fall within the jurisdiction of those two circuits (the 4th Circuit includes Virginia, Maryland and the Carolinas, while the 10th Circuit includes Utah, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, and Wyoming).

However, should the Supreme Court choose to hear one or more of the cases, which it likely will, a definitive ruling on same-sex marriage will be in store, either enforcing the remaining 31 states’ bans on same-sex marriage, or overturning them and disallowing any new bans to be instituted.

The question at hand in each case is whether or not the state’s ban violates the U.S. Constitution, specifically the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses located in Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment. There are a few crucial debates that stem from this question.

Authored By Chris Dietz – See the Full Story at Equality on Trial

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Oklahoma Gay Couple Runs Out of Time to Marry

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Kim & JerryThis is a heartbreaking story about a gay couple who were unable to marry before it was too late.

Tulsa World reports:

They’d been a couple almost 20 years when last October Kim Woodard turned to Jerry Custer and said: “Let’s get married!” The west Tulsa couple researched hotels online, found a florist, bought rings and new clothes. They booked plane tickets to California, where months earlier, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

But a week before they were supposed to leave, Woodard sprained his ankle and could not travel. Not long after that, his overall health started to go downhill.

The silver wedding bands stayed in their boxes. They never made it to California. Woodard died July 23, before he and Custer could marry, before any of the gay or lesbian couples in Oklahoma had a chance to do what many have waited a long time for: to make it official.

There are so may couples in similar situations, who have been denied the chance to marry. Isn’t it time we had full marriage equality in every state?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Marriage Equality Case Officially Appealed to Supreme Court

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Oklahoma Marriage Equality Case in Legal LimboThe Oklahoma marriage equality case becomes the second case officially appealed to the Supreme Court. Virginia should follow soon.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Voters should decide how to define marriage, not federal judges, said attorneys who filed an appeal Wednesday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether Oklahoma’s ban on gay marriage is constitutional. The 47-page appeal was filed by lawyers for Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization representing Tulsa County Clerk Sally Howe Smith, who was sued after refusing to grant a marriage license to a same-sex couple. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the couple last month, upholding a federal judge’s ruling that found the ban unconstitutional. However, those rulings were put on hold as the case makes its way through the courts, meaning same-sex couples haven’t been allowed to marry in Oklahoma.

Will the court take the case? Let it stand and bring marriage equality to the 10th circuit by default? Or send it back for a full en-bank hearing?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Marriage Equality Decision to Be Appealed Directly to Supreme Court

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Oklahoma Marriage Equality Case in Legal LimboA third appeals court decision – the Oklahoma marriage equality ruling – is now being appealed directly to the US Supreme Court.

Equality on Trial reports:

Bishop v. Smith, the challenge to Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage ban, is headed to the Supreme Court. The announcement came late Friday night in a statement to The Oklahoman: Kerri Kupec, spokeswoman for the Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Oklahoman that the clerk will ask Supreme Court justices to review the July 18 decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In that 2-1 decision, the court ruled that Oklahoma’s ban violates 14th Amendment guarantees of due process and equal protection under the law… The Oklahoma case, in which the Tenth Circuit ruled that the state’s ban is unconstitutional, will join two other cases at the Supreme Court in the coming weeks: Bostic v. Rainey, a case from Virginia, is headed to the Court, along with Kitchen v. Herbert, from Utah. Petitions are expected to be filed in all three cases within three months.

Will the Court bite? Or will it wait another year?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Oklahoma.

Tenth Circuit Rules Oklahoma Marriage Equality Ban Unconstitutional

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Oklahoma Marriage Equality Case in Legal LimboThe same panel that found Utah’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional just struck down the Oklahoma marriage equality ban.

The Advocate reports:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled Friday that Oklahoma’s ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional, and that couples should be able to wed. This is the second time a three-judge panel from the Denver-based court has found that a state’s ban is unconstitutional. In June, the same panel came to the same conclusion around Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. According to the Associated Press, Friday’s ruling is the first time a federal appellate court ruled that the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling striking down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act also meant that states could not deny same-sex couples the right to marry. As of now, marriages for same-sex couples both in Oklahoma and Utah will remain on hold. This is the 26th consecutive federal or state court ruling to come down on the side of marriage equality since the Windsor ruling in June 2013.

Woohoo! Closer and closer to the US Supreme Court…

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Marriage Equality Gets Support From Attorneys

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Oklahoma Marriage Equality Case in Legal LimboThe Oklahoma marriage equality movement got a shot in the arm when a group of attorneys announced their support.

The Republic reports:

A group of about 85 attorneys from across Oklahoma are joining a coalition in support of gay marriage in the state and the country. The group Oklahoma Lawyers for Marriage is launching its website on Monday and supports the idea that all marriages should be legally recognized. One of the attorneys is Democratic state Rep. Emily Virgin of Norman who says she’s joining the coalition because she believes marriage equality is “a matter of fairness under the law.”

Oklahoma’s marriage equality lawsuit is currently awaiting resolution at the tenth circuit.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Oklahoma.

USA, Oklahoma: Pro Marriage Equality Ads Hit the Air

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Oklahoma AdFreedom to Marry is airing a marriage equality ad on Oklahoma TV sets.

Politico reports:

Freedom to Marry, the national marriage legalization effort, is going up on the air starting Monday with a new television ad that will run for a week in the conservative state, as litigants wait for a ruling in a case in front of the 10th Circuit that’s challenging the state’s gay marriage ban. The ad is part of a larger effort to influence popular opinion around greater acceptance for gay marriage as the 10th Circuit and dozens of other cases around the country pend, with the hopes of eventually returning to the Supreme Court for a broader legalization ruling. And it plays heavily on biographical and family values appeals in the deep-red state.

Anyone see any polling out of Oklahoma lately on marriage equality?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Oklahoma.

USA, Oklahoma: Faith Leaders Support Marriage Equality

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

Oklahoma Marriage Equality Case in Legal LimboA new coalition of Oklahoma faith leaders is standing up to support marriage equality in the state.

News OK reports:

More than 50 Oklahoma faith leaders have formed a coalition in support of marriage rights for all couples, whether gay or straight. The Oklahoma Faith Leaders for Marriage group includes leaders of congregations of Mennonites, United Methodists, Unitarians, Episcopalians, United Church of Christ and at least one Baptist minister and two rabbis. The United Methodist and United Church of Christ denominations have the most coalition representation, with at least eight United Methodist clergy and at least eight United Church of Christ ministers among the faith network’s members. “Expanding marriage equality will finally remove a long-standing obstacle to our pastoral care — and allow us to minister equally to all families in our community,” the coalition said in a statement released after its April launch.

More and more, people of faith are standing with the LGBT community to support equality. It’s an amazing and beautiful thing.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Oklahoma.