The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

December 23, 2013

Brief filed in Okla. gay marriage ban lawsuit

OKLAHOMA CITY — Lawyers for two same-sex couples suing for the right to marry and to have a marriage from another jurisdiction recognized in Oklahoma have filed an additional brief following a federal ruling that found a same-sex marriage ban in Utah violated the U.S. Constitution.

Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin filed a lawsuit along with another couple in November 2004, shortly after Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in the state. A gay advocacy group says it is the longest-running active lawsuit against the Defense of Marriage Act. The couples have been waiting nine years for their day in court.

Lawyers for the couples filed an additional brief in the case on Sunday outlining the similarities between their case and one in Utah in which a federal judge ruled a same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, and asked the judge to allow their day in court.

One couple in the lawsuit married legally and wants that marriage to be recognized in their home state. The other couple wants to get married but is unable to do so because of the ban. Both states enacted a ban on same-sex marriage in 2004 following popular votes. Both lawsuits argue that bans on same-sex marriage and same-sex recognition violate the plaintiffs’ rights to due process and equal protection.

A lawyer representing the Tulsa County Court Clerk did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Friday’s ruling in Utah meant the state became the 18th to recognize same-sex marriages. More than 100 couples wed in the hours following the decision. The same federal judge on Monday is set to consider a request from the state of Utah to block gay weddings. Lawyers for the state want Friday’s ruling put on hold as they appeal the decision.

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