Saturday, July 26, 2014

Federal Appeals Court Finds Oklahoma's Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

In a decision affirming equal protection under the law, a federal appeals court has ruled that Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional:

A federal appeals court here on Friday struck down a second conservative-leaning state’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that Oklahoma could not deny gay couples their “fundamental right” to wed.

The 2-to-1 decision came less than a month after the same panel of judges for the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit decided that Utah’s ban was unconstitutional. It was another legal victory for gay couples as a range of legal challenges to state bans on same-sex marriage edges toward the United States Supreme Court.

...Lawyers for the Tulsa County court clerk, who was the lead defendant in the Oklahoma case, argued that limiting marriage to one man and one woman sought to reinforce traditional family bonds and encourage the raising of children by their biological parents. The majority rejected that view.

“Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage sweeps too broadly in that it denies a fundamental right to all same-sex couples who seek to marry or to have their marriages recognized regardless of their child-rearing ambitions,” Judge Carlos F. Lucero wrote in the majority opinion. “Oklahoma has barred all same-sex couples, regardless of whether they will adopt, bear, or otherwise raise children, from the benefits of marriage while allowing all opposite-sex couples, regardless of their child-rearing decisions, to marry.”

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