In both causes, federal judges said the states’ gay marriage laws violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
“Equal protection is at the very heart of our legal system and central to our consent to be governed,” Kern wrote. “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.”
Tulsa couple Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin, who work at the Tulsa World newspaper, filed the Oklahoma lawsuit along with another same-sex couple in November 2004, shortly after voters approved the constitutional amendment. Their case was the longest-running challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, according to the national gay marriage advocacy group Freedom to Marry.
“There’s so much emotion, I’m kind of crying right now,” Bishop said Tuesday. “It’s overwhelming to think that we finally won.
“Sharon and I want to get married here in Oklahoma. We’ve been together for more than 17 years — it’s time. This is something that when I was young, I thought I’d never see in my lifetime.”
Tulsa County Court Clerk Sally Howe Smith said there was no way under Oklahoma law for her to give the couple a marriage license. “That’s how I became a defendant in the case,” she said.
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.