Senior U.S. District Judge Terrence C. Kern in Tulsa has struck down Oklahoma’s ban on same sex marriage nine years after the ban was enacted by popular measure. The court found the ban discriminated against same-sex couples without any rational basis. However, after declaring the controversial law as unconstitutional, the judge has put a temporary stay on his order anticipating an appeal from the state.
Kern observed in his decision, “moral disapproval of homosexuals as a class, or same-sex marriage as a practice which is not a permissible justification.” Given Oklahoma’s high rate of divorces in opposite-sex marriages, Kern found that the protection of the sanctity of marriage was invalid as a reason to support the ban.
In his 68-page decision, Kern wrote, “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 ban on same-sex marriage in Oklahoma comes on the heels of a similar ban being struck down in Utah. In this matter, which is pending before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, there was a bit of confusion while the matter shuttled back and forth between courts and a large number of same-sex couples registered their marriages, before the courts have reached their conclusion in the matter.
However, in case of Utah, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has already declared that the federal government will be recognizing the marriages that took place while the matter is still pending before the 10th Circuit, and those who formalized same-sex marriages during this period will receive all federal benefits of married couples.
Senior U.S. District Judge Terrence C. Kern strikes down Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage law, nine years after the ban was enacted on the basis of a popular measure. After declaring the controversial law as unconstitutional, the judge has put a temporary stay on his order which discriminated against same sex couples as irrational. This ban comes on the heels of a similar ban on same-sex marriages being struck down in Utah.