Oklahoma City/New York • (2014 July 18) ― Marriage Equality USA is rejoicing at today’s ruling from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Bishop v. Smith, upholding January’s district court ruling that Oklahoma’s marriage ban violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Historically, today marks the first time two pro-marriage equality rulings have been issued from a single Circuit Court of Appeals. On June 25th the Tenth Circuit previously had upheld a district court ruling finding Utah’s marriage ban unconstitutional, and today’s decision applies that precedent by affirming the district court ruling that struck down Oklahoma’s ban earlier this year. Both decisions have been stayed by the Tenth Circuit pending appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
For Oklahoma, this ruling has been a particularly long time in coming; it has been a decade since Bishop v. Smith was originally filed as Bishop v. Oklahoma in November of 2004.
"Oklahoma is a big part of who I am - I was born and raised there, went to the University of Oklahoma, and have many friends and family there," said MEUSA Board Member Don Howerton. "Today's decision means that my husband and I can travel 'home' and know that our family will be treated with the same fairness and dignity as any other married couple."
The judges were specific to note that “State bans on the licensing of same-sex marriage significantly burden the fundamental right to marry…” The decision is stayed pending appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This ruling adds another important voice to a now 'deafening chorus' of judicial decisions affirming the right of LGBTQ couples to marry the person they love,” added MEUSA Executive Director Brian Silva.
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