January 14, 2014

Readers react after judge declares Oklahoma same-sex marriage law unconstitutional

James Bright, Managing Editor,
The Express-Star


A district judge ruled an Oklahoma constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman as unconstitutional yesterday. 

The law was passed in 2004. 

“Judge (Terence) Kern has come to the conclusion that so many have before him – that the fundamental equality of lesbian and gay couples is guaranteed by the United States Constitution," Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffen said. "With last year’s historic victories at the Supreme Court guiding the way, it is clear that we are on a path to full and equal citizenship for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.  Equality is not just for the coasts anymore, and today’s news from Oklahoma shows that time has come for fairness and dignity to reach every American in all 50 states.”

Kern's ruling is stayed pending an appeal, so same-sex marriages will not occur immediately in Oklahoma. 

Respondents to a question regarding the ruling on The Express-Star's Facebook almost all shared positive viewpoints on the decision. 

"This should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the course of these rulings nationwide," wrote Rob Vollmar. "We have wasted millions of dollars defending laws that we knew were unconstitutional and destined to be struck down. Imagine if we had put that money into education or infrastructure instead."

Others, like Alisha Johns Snow, said government should never interfere with romantic relationships. 

"I feel that's it's not my right, or anyone else's right, to meddle in the love life of others," she wrote. "I think this is a step in the right direction."

Kyle Oliver said this decision in one of common sense. 

"If two men or women want to get married, why should we be able to stop them? This is the same principle as not letting African Americans get married back in the 1800's," he wrote. 

Jonathan Pacheco said paying taxes should grant members of the LGBT community the right to marry like anyone else, and Kiesha Baggett echoed this sentiment. 

"Its about time. I agree with Jonathan Pacheco. if they pay taxes they should have the same rights and freedom to get married as anyone," she wrote.

Jessica Williams differed from most who commented. 

 "I say, that within a conservative Christian state that it is to be expected for the majority of their voters hold a christian view of such things. And for an outside judge to rule against it is unconstitutional. That is saying that the voters have no say and it doesn't matter what values our state holds.I Also love everyone no matter their sexual preference and would never judge them for their views," she wrote. 

Gov. Mary Fallin released a statement late in the day expressing her distaste with the ruling. 

"In 2004, the people of Oklahoma voted to amend the state's constitution to define marriage as ‘the union of one man and one woman.’ That amendment passed with 75 percent support," she said. "The people of Oklahoma have spoken on this issue. I support the right of Oklahoma's voters to govern themselves on this and other policy matters. I am disappointed in the judge's ruling and troubled that the will of the people has once again been ignored by the federal government."


Two plaintiff couples, Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin and Gay Phillips and Susan Barton, filed their case, Bishop v. Oklahoma, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in November 2004, according to a press release from the Human Rights Campaign.