A federal judge ruled Tuesday afternoon that Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, reports the Tulsa World.
“The court holds that Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” U.S. District Court Judge Terence Kern wrote.
Since Kern's ruling is stayed pending appeal, gay marriages will not occur immediately in the state. The state of Utah is appealing a recent ruling to the same effect by a federal judge there, and the Supreme Court has stayed that decision already. The Oklahoma case could be combined with Utah's in a potentially historic judgment, less than a year after the justices struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
The president of the Human Rights Campaign gay rights lobby, Chad Griffin, released the following statement on the ruling:
“Judge Kern has come to the conclusion that so many have before him – that the fundamental equality of lesbian and gay couples is guaranteed by the United States Constitution. With last year’s historic victories at the Supreme Court guiding the way, it is clear that we are on a path to full and equal citizenship for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. Equality is not just for the coasts anymore, and today’s news from Oklahoma shows that time has come for fairness and dignity to reach every American in all 50 states.”