Unconstitutional: Judge rules against Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriages

Posted on: 4:20 pm, January 14, 2014, by , updated on: 11:48am, January 16, 2014

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WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, a U.S. district judge ruled against an Oklahoma law, claiming it is unconstitutional.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, U.S. District Judge Terence Kern ruled that Oklahoma’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

Judge Kern wrote “Equal protection is at the very heart of our legal system and central to our consent to be governed. It is not a scarce commodity to be meted out begrudgingly or in short portions. Therefore, the majority view in Oklahoma must give way to individual constitutional rights.”

He goes on to state, “The Court declares that Part A of the Oklahoma Constitutional Amendment violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by precluding same sex.”

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Two couples filed the case, Bishop v. Oklahoma, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in 2004.

While the judge ruled in favor of the couples, officials say same-sex couples will not be heading to the courthouse just yet.

His ruling is stayed pending an appeal, meaning that marriages will not be allowed in the Sooner State just yet.

Rep. James Lankford issued the following statement, regarding Tuesday’s ruling.

He said, “This is why the American people are so frustrated with government and government officials; the people speak clearly but elected officials and judges ignore them.  In 2004, Oklahomans overwhelmingly decided marriage is a unique institution between a man and a woman. Since the Constitution leaves marriage laws to the states, the State of Oklahoma has the right to define marriage in a way consistent with the values of our state.”

Rep. Sally Kern released a statement, saying,

“I, like many other Oklahomans, am saddened by the ruling of Judge Kern (no relation) declaring that the freedom of 76 percent of the voters of our great state to believe in the moral principles on which our Constitution is founded is unconstitutional. America has a rich heritage of legal principles that involve liberty for all, equality and consent of the governed. Our Constitution begins with ‘We the People,’ not ‘We the Judges.’ We are a nation ‘of the people, by the people and for the people,’ as Lincoln said. Not a government of the judges, by the judges and for the judges. Yes, we want equality for all because all are created equal by God and worth enough to him to send his Son to die for our sins. Our laws are based on the Ten Commandments. Our Godly heritage stems from the laws of God which Jefferson articulated in the Declaration of Independence as ‘the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.’ Declaring homosexuality and same-sex marriage (SSM) as a civil right is giving legitimacy to what God says is wrong. Judge Kern is seeking to give state approval to a behavior that is proven to be extremely harmful, especially to young people. In doing so, he not only violates the law of God but the principle of consent of the governed.”

She added, “This issue is like oil and water. If homosexuals win on this issue of SSM being a constitutional right, then Christians lose their freedom to practice their faith in society. It’s already happening in America. Just ask the baker in Colorado, the florist in Washington, or the photographer in New Mexico. Don’t think it can’t happen here. Don’t be bullied by judicial and homosexual activists.”

Gov. Mary Fallin also released a statement, saying,

“In 2004, the people of Oklahoma voted to amend the state’s constitution to define marriage as ‘the union of one man and one woman.’ That amendment passed with 75 percent support. The people of Oklahoma have spoken on this issue. I support the right of Oklahoma’s voters to govern themselves on this and other policy matters. I am disappointed in the judge’s ruling and troubled that the will of the people has once again been ignored by the federal government.”

Attorney General Scott Pruitt said, “As the Supreme Court recently noted in the Windsor case, it is up to the states to decide how to define marriage, not the federal government. There is a case involving the State of Utah currently pending before the 10th Circuit that is identical to the case in Tulsa. The issue most likely will end up at the U.S. Supreme Court and the outcome will dictate whether Oklahoma’s constitutional provision will be upheld.”

However, others support the move.

Scott Hamilton, executive director of the Cimarron Alliance Equality Center, issued a statement, saying, “The judge saw this in the very same way we have seen it. It is simply unconstitutional to prohibit marriage between same-gender loving couples. We have long known that this is not a battle we could wage on the state level. Instead, we knew it would require a federal judge to determine with authority that the state cannot violate the constitutional rights of its citizens.”