Oklahoma’s Marriage Amendment Overturned

By Richard Nelson

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January 15, 2014

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Folks in Kentucky interested in preserving marriage need to pay attention to what's happening in the reddest of American states, like Utah and Oklahoma. There, following precedent handed down in Anthony Kennedy's Windsor decision, federal judges are ruling state marriage amendments unconstitutional. Anyone surprised by this shouldn't be, for Anthony Scalia's dissent in Windsor predicted this very future. Just last evening, a federal judge in Oklahoma overturned their 2004 marriage amendment. According to the New York Times,

A federal judge in Oklahoma ruled Tuesday that the state’s constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage violated the federal Constitution, the latest in a string of legal victories for gay rights and one that occurred in the heart of the Bible Belt. The state’s ban on marriage by gay and lesbian couples is “an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit,” wrote Judge Terence C. Kern of United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, in Tulsa, deciding a case that had languished for nine years. The amendment, he said, is based on “moral disapproval” and does not advance the state’s asserted interests in promoting heterosexual marriage or the welfare of children. 

 

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center