Thursday, January 16, 2014

UPDATE: Same-Sex Marriage in the USA

"Oklahomo...where marriage comes sweeping down the plain..."  OK, that lyric was just too good to pass up.

Yes indeed, a Federal judge in Oklahoma this week ruled that Oklahoma's state constitutional amendment reserving marriage as a special right for opposite-sex couples violates the US constitution.  Judge Kern overturned the ban, but stayed the ruling from going into effect while Oklahoma appeals the decision.  In other words, Kern's decision means civil marriage for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples is now the law in Oklahoma, but in real terms no actual same-sex marriage licenses can be issued until a higher court rules.

This case has an unusual twist.  It was originally filed a decade ago in 2004 but was revived after the US Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Windsor, the case that overturned the part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act barring Federal recognition of same-sex marriages legally performed in some states.

Kern's decision in OK and Judge Shelby's decision in UT both will be heard by the 10th Circuit of the Federal Appeals Court which hears cases from UT, OK, CO, NM, WY, and KS.

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