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Federal Judge Rules Oklahoma Wrong On Same-Sex Marriage

January 14, 2014

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A federal judge invalidated Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage late Tuesday, finding that it violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. In a ruling that is the culmination of ten years of litigation, U.S. District Judge Terence Kern rejected Oklahoma’s stated child-rearing and moral reasons for banning same-sex marriage as “so attenuated” that exclusion cannot survive even the most basic level of court review. Kern writes:

Equal protection is at the very heart of our legal system and central to our consent to be governed. It is not a scarce commodity to be meted out begrudgingly or in short portions. Therefore, the majority view in Oklahoma must give way to individual constitutional rights. The Bishop couple has been in a loving, committed relationships for many years. They own property together, wish to retire together, wish to make medical decisions for one another, and wish to be recognized as a married couple with all its attendant rights and responsibilities. Part A of the Oklahoma Constitutional Amendment excludes the Bishop couple, and all otherwise eligible same-sex couples, from this privilege without a legally sufficient justification.

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