Historic Day in Oklahoma
A few minutes ago, U.S. District Judge Terence Kern determined that Oklahoma’s ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional. This is a monumental step forward for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Oklahomans.
The ruling is stayed pending appeal so Oklahoma marriage licenses will not be immediately issued.
Scott J. Hamilton, Executive Director of the Cimarron Alliance Equality Center, central Oklahoma’s LGBT education and advocacy organization, declared today a monumental day in Oklahoma history.
“The judge saw this in the very same way we have seen it,” he said. “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,” Hamilton continued.
Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin and Gay Phillips and Susan Barton, filed their case, Bishop v. Oklahoma, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in November 2004. Lead counsel in the case are Don Holladay and James Warner of the Oklahoma City law firm Holladay & Chilton PLLC. Holladay has long been a friend of Oklahoma’s LGBT community and is a strong proponent of equal rights for all citizens.The ruling follows many recent victories for marriage equality. In recent weeks the New Mexico Supreme Court and a federal district judge in Utah have ruled in favor of marriage equality.
“We are absolutely confident that this will stand up on appeal. It will move Oklahoma forward along with the rest of the country,” said Hamilton. “Sometimes change is slow to come. But when change as wonderful as this takes place, it is worth the wait,” Hamilton concluded.