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January 14, 2014

US judge strikes down Okla. same-sex marriage ban


Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY —

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down Oklahoma's gay marriage ban, ruling that it violates the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Kern handed down the ruling in a lawsuit filed by two same-sex couples. Kern immediately stayed his ruling pending appeals, meaning gay marriages won't happen in Oklahoma right away.

The gay couples had sued for the right to marry and to have a marriage from another jurisdiction recognized in Oklahoma.

Kern ruled on a constitutional amendment approved by Oklahoma voters in 2004 that says marriage in the state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman. He said the measure violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause by precluding same-sex couples from receiving an Oklahoma marriage license.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office did not immediately have a comment on the ruling.

The Oklahoma ruling comes about a month after a federal judge in Utah overturned that state's ban on same-sex marriage and hundreds of couples got married. The U.S. Supreme Court later intervened and put a halt to the weddings there until the courts sort out the matter.

The Oklahoma judge cited that case in staying his ruling.