POLITICS

Oklahoma Gay Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional By Judge

01/14/2014 05:30 pm ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014

A judge has ruled Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, Tulsa World reports.

U.S. Senior District Judge Terence Kern made the ruling, which is stayed pending appeal, on Tuesday. Marriages will not occur immediately in Oklahoma.

Chad Griffin, president of Human Rights Campaign, 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.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A federal judge on Tuesday struck down Oklahoma's gay marriage ban, ruling that it violates the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Kern handed down the ruling in a lawsuit filed by two same-sex couples. Kern immediately stayed his ruling pending appeals, meaning gay marriages won't happen in Oklahoma right away.

The gay couples had sued for the right to marry and to have a marriage from another jurisdiction recognized in Oklahoma.

Kern ruled on a constitutional amendment approved by Oklahoma voters in 2004 that says marriage in the state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman. He said the measure violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause by precluding same-sex couples from receiving an Oklahoma marriage license.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office did not immediately have a comment on the ruling.

The Oklahoma ruling comes about a month after a federal judge in Utah overturned that state's ban on same-sex marriage and hundreds of couples got married. The U.S. Supreme Court later intervened and put a halt to the weddings there until the courts sort out the matter.

The Oklahoma judge cited that case in staying his ruling.

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