Last month’s ruling from a federal court in Utah certainly sent shockwaves throughout LGBT and conservative groups alike when the court decided that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. While that case is currently under a temporary stay due to an order from the Supreme Court, another court in another highly conservative state is making waves… and this time it’s in Oklahoma.
A federal judge in Oklahoma ruled today that the state’s constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage violates the federal Constitution. In his ruling, Judge Terence C. Kern of United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, in Tulsa stated that the ban is “an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit.” The amendment, he said, is based on “moral disapproval” and does not advance the state’s asserted interests in promoting heterosexual marriage or the welfare of children.
The ruling will not immediately take effect, pending an appeal from the state, one that Oklahoma is almost guaranteed to pursue. Given the recent ruling in Utah, Judge Kern smartly stayed his decision in anticipation of an appeal by Oklahoma to the same appeals court where the Utah case is being heard, the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver.