Federal Judge Rules Oklahoma Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Marriage equality may come sooner rather than later in the reddest of states

A federal court in Tulsa ruled yesterday that the Sooner State’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional. Carrying out that decision, however, is on hold while the state appeals. It is a similar situation as the one currently unfolding in Utah.

The legal challenge to the ban was brought by the OKC-based law firm Holladay & Chilton, on behalf of Oklahoma gay and lesbian couples.

A reassuring sign that the tide has turned, this decision marks the second time in the past month that a federal judge has struck down a conservative red state’s ban on same-sex marriage, after Utah’s ban was overturned in December. It proves that Utah was no fluke. LGBT activists on the frontlines of marriage equality agree that we’ve passed the tipping point.

“It’s no accident that we’re seeing a decision like this in a comparatively conservative place like Oklahoma,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “It reflects the growing consensus across the country—in red, blue, and purple states—that it’s unfair to exclude same-sex couples from marriage. At least for the moment, love has won out.”

“We’re thrilled that the court has struck down this discriminatory law,” said Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma. “The heartland of America should be a place where loving and committed couples are able to obtain the legal protections and dignity afforded by marriage, and this decision brings us one step closer towards true equality.”