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Oklahoma's same-sex marriage ban heads to U.S. Supreme Court

By Chris Casteel August 2, 2014

A federal appeals court decision that struck down Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the legal group representing the Tulsa County court clerk announced on Friday.

Kerri Kupec, spokeswoman for the Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Oklahoman that the clerk will ask Supreme Court justices to review the July 18 decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In that 2-1 decision, the court ruled  that Oklahoma’s ban violates 14th Amendment guarantees of due process and equal protection under the law.

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Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin, the Tulsa County couple who sued the court clerk when she refused to give them a marriage license, issued a joint statement Friday night.

“Although we aren’t surprised by the Alliance Defending Freedom's decision to appeal our victory from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, neither are we disappointed,” the couple said.

“We are ready to see the highest court in the land affirm that marriage equality is the law of the land. We have confidence in our case and our lawyers, and should the Supreme Court agree to hear our case, we anticipate a victory there, as well.”

The Supreme Court, which declined in 2013 to rule in a California case on whether states could ban same-sex marriage, will now have a choice of cases to review.

State officials in Utah have also announced that they will appeal the 10th Circuit Court’s decision in a very similar case.

The appeals court rendered that decision a few weeks before ruling in the Oklahoma case. In both cases, the appeals court, by votes of 2-1, upheld decisions by federal district judges.

The 10th Circuit Court was the first to rule a same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional since the U.S. Supreme Court last year struck down a federal law — the Defense of Marriage Act — that denied a range of federal benefits to same-sex couples.

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