SCOTUS Ruling Revives Federal Challenge To Oklahoma’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban

OKThe battle for marriage equality has begun to escalate in the Sooner State, following the Supreme Court's gutting of section 3 of DOMA in United States v. Windsor, according to The Oklahoman. A 2004 challenge to the state's ban on same-sex marriage has been in a holding pattern for over a year while the federal court in Tulsa waited for the outcome of several high profile gay marriage cases including Holingsowrth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor. The couples who first brought the suit, Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin and Susan Barton and Gay Phillips, are challenging not only Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage but also a crucial part of DOMA not addressed in the Supreme Court's recent landmark ruling, the section that "allows states not to recognize gay marriages performed in other states."

Via The Oklahoman:

The high court's decision last month in a gay marriage case “provides
clear and explicit guidance for concluding Oklahoma's marriage ban
violates both (the couple's) fundamental right to marry, and the
exercise of liberties inherent in such fundamental right,” according to a
legal brief filed Monday in the case…

Don Holladay, the attorney representing the couples, filed a motion
urging [U.S. District Judge Terence Kern] to render a final judgment in regard to the provision of the
Defense of Marriage Act struck down by the Supreme Court.

However, the Justice Department, despite having stopped defending DOMA in Court, has asked to respond to Holladay's motion and Judge Kern has given the DOJ until Aug. 23 to submit their response. In his petition Holladay has also asked that the reasoning used by the Supreme Court in overturning section 3 of DOMA, primarily that it violated due process and equal protection, should be applied in deciding whether to overturn Oklahoma's state-wide ban on gay marriage:

“Only a constitutional removal of Oklahoma's marriage ban … will
provide same-sex couples in Oklahoma all the federal benefits and
responsibilities that are available now in 13 states and the District of

An overturn of Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage would come as a coup just months after the state's House of Representatives held a vote affirming marriage as being between one man and one woman, causing half of the House's Democrats to walk from the floor.


  1. Martin says

    How dare Oklahoma use Native American imagery on their state flag. The Native Americans respected their gay members and would not at all behave the way the Oklahoma government is behaving.

  2. The Milkman says

    I know Oklahoma well. Grew up there. Family still lives there.

    Never ever in a million years will there be marriage equality in the Sooner state. Never. It’ll take a court decision.

  3. Kevin says

    It will take a court ruling to allow gay marriage there.
    Oklahoma is easily among the most anti-gay places in the country.

  4. bandanajack says

    hey anon… check your facts, doma in fact uncouples state laws from their constitutional obligations, ie the full faith and credit clause of the 14th amendment. once doma is completely kaput. a given state won’t be forced to give marriage licenses or perform marriages, but each state will be obliged to honor marriages entered into in any state, and most other countries. chew on that for a while…

  5. MiddleoftheRoader says

    Another disaster waiting to happen. Well-intentioned (but naive) couples who hire local lawyers in conservative states with conservative judges. Just like the cases that were filed in Virginia and North Carolina. It’s not like the ACLU, or Lambda Legal, or Boies & Olsen are handling these cases based on well-thought-out strategy and templates. Let’s hope we don’t get a string of negative decisions in VA, NC and OK which set back our momentum. Bad……..

  6. Mike says

    Was thinking of the famous American Indian “TWO SPIRIT” people when I looked at the symbols used on the Oklahoma state flag. Traditional American Indians considered gay, (lgbt) people as DOUBLY BLESSED having both the spirit of a man and the spirit of a woman. They were honored as MORE spiritually gifted then the typical masculine male or feminine female. Such people were not just tolerated they were revered, and were often called upon as wise tribal medicine men or teachers that were likewise highly regarded. Modern day Oklahomans would do well to know what indigenous people long took for granted . . .

  7. candide001 says

    the only thing good about oklahoma is that it makes living almost anywhere else in the us look good by comparison. and then there’s the weather, stifling summers, frigid winters, all punctuated by frequent killer tornadoes.

  8. Eric says

    Being born and raised in Oklahoma, I can say that the politics there are insane. During the early 1900s Oklahoma had the largest Socialist Party membership in the US. In the early 1970s I remember the Oklahoma Republican Party had to have telethons to keep from going out of existence, they were so poor and out of favor. Now it is the most conservative state in the US, and Tea Party central.

    When I went to school in the 1970s and 1980s, we were taught evolution without a second thought, but now all of the high schools in my old school district and even the local college eschew their own multi-million dollar stadiums and theaters so that they can pay a local megachurch to have their graduation ceremonies there.

  9. Francis #1 says

    The outcome here like in similar states (VA, MI come to mind) may not work out the way we want them to, but momentum is on our side and the DOMA ruling/reasonings, although it didn’t go as far as many would have hoped, does give us more hope than we otherwise would have.

  10. Gary says

    The American media, and TIME covers like “Obama: First Gay President” are killing the Russian gays. Putin wants to be contrary to the US and knows how. Others are paying the price for our overexposure. The Russians have been at it for too long. The GLAAD playbook isn’t going to work.

  11. Kevin says

    So gay and lesbian couples in OK,VA and elsewhere should just accept being second class citizens and do nothing for the next 10-20 years while they wait for the bigots to die off?
    We should have refused to fight DOMA and DADT because bigots in other countries wouldn’t use us as scapegoats when they likely would have done so anyway?
    Rhere are couples in these states (like the one in Ohio) who don’t have the luxury of just sitting back and waiting for the bigots to die off and others to come around.
    We’re going to fight and we will win.