Earlier this month the ACLU sued the state of Utah on behalf of four gay couples married before the Supreme Court placed a stay on a lower court ruling striking down the state's ban. The suit was filed because Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced that the 1,300+ marriages would be "on hold" pending the appeal of that case and would not be recognized.
That case will now go to federal court, the Salt Lake Tribune reports:
The Utah Attorney General’s Office filed a notice on Tuesday, moving the case from the 3rd District Court in West Jordan to the U.S. District Court for Utah. The case has been assigned to Judge Dale A. Kimball.
...In the ACLU lawsuit, the plaintiffs want the court to declare valid any marriages that took place between Dec. 20 and Jan. 6, when the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the decision, even if Amendment 3 is eventually found to be constitutional.
And in the federal appellate court appeal of the ruling striking down the state's ban, arguments are set to be heard on April 10 by a three judge, randomly-assigned panel, which will also hear the case from Oklahoma:
The 10th Circuit has agreed to let the same panel handle an appeal from Oklahoma, where a lower court struck down a similar ban on same-sex marriage. The court also will allow amicus briefs to be filed jointly in the Utah and Oklahoma cases. The appellate court has set an expedited briefing schedule for Oklahoma, with the last filings due April 7. The last filings in the Utah case are due March 4.
Oklahoma Rep. Mike Turner is proposing a bill that would prevent the state from recognizing any marriages as a response to a federal judge's ruling striking down the state's ban earlier this month.
Turner says it's an attempt to keep same-sex marriage illegal in Oklahoma while satisfying the U.S. Constitution. Critics are calling it a political stunt while supporters say it's what Oklahomans want. "[My constituents are] willing to have that discussion about whether marriage needs to be regulated by the state at all," Turner said.
Other conservative lawmakers feel the same way, according to Turner.
"Would it be realistic for the State of Oklahoma to say, ‘We're not going to do marriage period,'" asked News 9's Michael Konopasek.
"That would definitely be a realistic opportunity, and it's something that would be part of the discussion," Turner answered.
Watch KWTV's report, AFTER THE JUMP...
The author of Oklahoma's same-sex marriage ban and the state's most anti-gay lawmaker spoke out about a federal judge's ruling on Wednesday striking down the ban.
"I was obviously disappointed, but not totally surprised. The federal courts have always taken a much more activist view of the constitution and so that was always a risk that they were going to see that."
Also speaking out is Sally "gays are worse than terrorists" Kern.
"Homosexuality is not a civil right. It's a human wrong...Homosexuals are saying this is who we are. This is how we're born. You tell a lie long enough, people begin to believe it."
Watch Newson6's report, AFTER THE JUMP...
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin released a statement regarding Judge Terence Kern's ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
"In 2004, the people of Oklahoma voted to amend the state's constitution to define marriage as ‘the union of one man and one woman.’ That amendment passed with 75 percent support. The people of Oklahoma have spoken on this issue. I support the right of Oklahoma's voters to govern themselves on this and other policy matters. I am disappointed in the judge's ruling and troubled that the will of the people has once again been ignored by the federal government."
We previously reported on their funding efforts (and their disdain for the Westboro Baptist Church), and now they've delivered. The Satanic Temple, a Satanist group based out of New York, has revealed a design of a 7-foot statue, including a pentagram, a "goat-headed Baphomet," and two children looking on, which would join an already-constructed monument commemorating the Ten Commandments on the lawn of Oklahoma's state capitol.
The Oklahoma legislators approved the privately-funded Ten Commandments statue in 2009, a move that was immediately faced with an ACLU lawsuit. Incidentally, the lawsuit, which hopes to remove the Ten Commandments statue, now stands in the way of approval for the Satanists and other groups: the Oklahoma City Preservation Committee voted to ban construction of new monuments on capitol grounds until a judge rules on the case.
Philly.com reports on the Satanist statue controversy:
“The statue will serve as a beacon calling for compassion and empathy among all living creatures,” said spokesman Lucian Greaves. “The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation.”...
"Either way you cut it, this is a First Amendment issue," Greaves said. "Once they open that door, they can't discriminate."...
Greaves assured the Satanists’ monument would be “in good taste and consistent with community standards.”
He also noted that there were a surprising amount of Oklahomans interested in constructing the statue. Still, state legislators have decided that the Satanists may not build their statue alongside the Ten Commandments, though their decision is moot until the ACLU lawsuit is up.
Lucian Greaves summed up the importance of Satanism, and its deserved place alongside the capitol, eloquently:
“Medieval witch-hunts taught us to adopt presumption of innocence, secular law, and a more substantive burden of proof,” he said.
“Today, we are rightly offended by the notion of blasphemy laws and divine fiats. Acknowledging wrongful persecutions has helped shape the legal system that preserves the sovereignty of our skeptics, heretics, and the misunderstood. It has shaped a proud culture of tolerance and free inquiry. This is to be a historical marker commemorating the scapegoats, the marginalized, the demonized minority, and the unjustly outcast.”
What do you think of the Satanist statue?