Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Oklahoma Gay Marriage Ban Overturned


On Friday, a Federal appeals court ruled that Oklahoma must allow gay couples to wed.  A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld a federal judge’s ruling striking down Oklahoma’s gay marriage ban, which had been approved by more than 75 percent of voters in 2004. 

The court put its 2-1 ruling on hold pending an appeal, thus same-sex couples will be unable to marry in Oklahoma for the time being.

“We are so grateful that the 10th Circuit understands what more and more people across this country are beginning to realize—that gay and lesbian people are citizens who should enjoy the same rights as straight people under the law.”  Proponents of gay marriage instantly planned rallies in Oklahoma City and Tulsa to celebrate their victory. 

Yet attorney’s for the clerk said they are considering their options, noting that changing the definition of marriage is a right belonging to Oklahoma residents, not a federal court.  “Every child deserves a mom and a dad, and the people of Oklahoma confirmed that at the ballot box when they approved a constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as a man-woman union.”    

Friday’s decision comes after the same three-judge panel ruled in June that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the Constitution.  This was the first time an appellate court determined that last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act meant states couldn’t deny gays the ability to marry.  That ruling is also on hold, as Utah’s attorney general has said he plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

See Sean Murphy and Nicholas Riccardi, US Appeals Court Tosses Oklahoma Gay Marriage Ban, My San Antonio, July 18, 2014.


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