Judge strikes down Okla. same-sex ‘marriage’ ban comment (0)
January 30, 2014
Oklahoma City — A federal judge ruled Jan. 14 that Oklahoma’s voter-approved ban on same-sex “marriage” violates the U.S. Constitution.
Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt called U.S. District Judge Terence Kern’s ruling “a troubling decision” and said the high court had recently noted “it is up to the states to decide how to define marriage, not the federal government.”
In 2004, Oklahoma voters enshrined heterosexual marriage into the state constitution. Two lesbian couples then sued for the right to marry and to have marriages in other states recognized in Oklahoma.
Kern ruled that the 2004 amendment violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, calling the ban “an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit.”
“Excluding same-sex couples from marriage has done little to keep Oklahoma families together thus far, as Oklahoma consistently has one of the highest divorce rates in the country,” Kern wrote in his 68-page opinion.
“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,” Kern wrote.
Gov. Mary Fallin criticized the decision, saying, “The people of Oklahoma have spoken on the issue,” with 75 percent of voters supporting the traditional definition of marriage.
“I am disappointed in the judge’s ruling and troubled that the will of the people has once again been ignored by the federal government,” she said in a statement.